Following ISO’s decision to cancel a project to establish a global database of management systems certificates in 2014, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) has been exploring the feasibility of developing a similar database.
It is widely recognised that an international database would provide a significant benefit to procurement departments, and to counter the growing number of counterfeit and unaccredited certificates entering the marketplace.
Following a discussion at the IAF General Assembly in October 2015, IAF members have voted in favour of a revised set of principles of the Database, and provided IAF with a mandate to develop a business case to take this forward.
The core principles of the database have been established as follows:
- It provides accurate data on accredited management systems (MS) certifications issued by a certification body (CB) accredited by an IAF member accreditation body (AB) under ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015
- It includes accurate data on IAF member ABs and the MS standards and schemes (including sector schemes) for which they provide accreditation, for the purpose of confirming that a CB is accredited by an IAF member.
- It includes accurate data on each CB accredited by each AB, and the scope(s) of accreditation, for the purpose of confirming accredited certifications eligible to be included in the IAF database.
- It must be self-funding, but revenue and expense neutral.
- CBs are responsible to provide and maintain correct certification data.
- ABs are responsible to provide and maintain correct accreditation data.
- To electronically link to CB, AB and other databases (of MS certifications), where possible, for automatically uploading data into the IAF database.
- The information accessible should address as many languages as possible.
- Participation is to be mandatory for ABs to identify accredited CBs for the standards and schemes endorsed by IAF, but voluntary for ABs for other standards and schemes, and voluntary for the CBs and their clients for all standards and schemes.
- Data is to be limited to information necessary to confirm that an accredited certification has been issued by a CB accredited by an IAF member accreditation body. Data is to be limited to confirming the current status of a given certification and the name, related normative document, scope of certification and geographical location.
- Specific data analyses and reports to be available to CBs, ABs and other stakeholders, consistent with privacy laws and as agreed by clients, CBs and ABs, with an appropriate mechanism for recovering costs for providing these analyses and reports, but with a general principle of not selling data .
- The IAF database will need to have controls necessary to prevent or limit unauthorized data mining (to prevent competitive poaching) as well other security measures to ensure data integrity and protect against unauthorized access to, and use of, the data.
The IAF Executive Committee has endorsed the creation of the IAF Database Management Committee (DMC) with nominated members from ABs, CBs and Users, and the nomination of a Chair and Deputy Chair of the IAF DMC (Randy Dougherty and Marcus Long respectively). The IAF DMC have already met for their first meeting (4 April 2016), with the principal aim of starting the process to develop the Business Case by 30 September 2016, for distribution ahead of the IAF General Assembly in November 2016.
I anticipate updating on this important development following the IAF General Assembly in November 2016.