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Changing CB?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Certification Body Relationship' started by Katrijn, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. Katrijn

    Katrijn Member

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    I'm not too happy with our CB.
    The quality of our last two audits was very poor, but my main reason is their lack of customer service.

    They are almost impossible to reach for even questions on planning dates for audits... not even talking about discussing audit plans or NC's...

    Is there anything I should know before I cut ties with them?

    What are possible consequences of doing this?
    Downsides of starting a new certificate cycle with a different CB?
    ??

    thanks for your advice
     
  2. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    The only real consequences are possible contractual obligations - they may, for example, still want you to pay for the audits you should have had. Check you contract. In other respects, as long as you don't have open acs, then it is an Accreditation requirement that the 2 CBs work together to transfer your certificate.

    Downsides are all the issues you currently experience, really. Take all those problems and ask what your new CB will do to avoid them! Not just the sales folks, either. Schedule calls to customer service and operations to discuss with them.
     
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  3. qmr1976

    qmr1976 Member

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    We looked into this option in the past and never followed through with it because we basically came to the conclusion that most CBs are the same. Our main concerns were similar to yours and just felt like the time it would take to transfer was more trouble that it is worth. According to the CB that we were seeking out, they had this to say regarding transferring to a new CB:

    -All we need is a copy of your last cycle audit reports, evidence of closeouts of nonconformities (if applicable) and your current certificate.

    -No additional audit time is required for transfers from another accredited CB. Most transfers occur at your next scheduled audit but can transfer your certificate beforehand without an onsite visit. This can all be done without changing your current audit cycle.

    -Almost all CBs do not require a full 3-year commitment for certification. Most CBs use the contract as a forecasting tool. Actual withdrawal is tied to a cancellation policy, normally a few weeks before the next audit and not a 3-year contract.

    -They say customer service can vary greatly from registrar to registrar. (I suppose, but not entirely sure about this) This particular CB prides themselves on pairing clients with industry-experienced auditors to promote value-added audits and opportunities for improvements. They provide more than a certificate and guarantee you will have a voice in the process. (Lots of buzz words to me, but OK)

    Best of luck on whatever you decide to do! Audits are challenging enough. You don't need to add to the stress by dealing with a difficult CB.
     
  4. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Interesting "spin" - they are supposed to do that, according to the requirements of ISO/IEC 17021! But then again, they hope you don't know that.

    There are some key questions to ask: What's their client retention rate? What is the required minimum training their auditors (regardless of contract relationship) have to attend. Of course, interviews of auditors is always advised.
     
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  5. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    If you have the opportunity to interview the auditors, you may add further questions like:
    • Would you raise an NC just because our approach is different from your approach?
    • Can an auditor use his/her opinion as an audit criteria?
    • Do you only accept records as evidence/s?
    • If a person can competently demonstrate effective implementation but doesn't have a training record, will you raise an NC?
    • Would you raise a major NC if you feel like it?
    • If you spot a defect (e.g. on infrastructure or product) will you instantly raise an NC?
    • Do auditors always win an argument?
    If you encounter CB auditors that would answer YES to the above questions, promptly but kindly show them the door.:)
     
  6. Katrijn

    Katrijn Member

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    qmr1976:
    thanks for the information. Very valuable.

    tony s:
    interviewing auditors seems like several bridges too far... the companies I have spoken so far (including our current CB) have a pool of 'very qualified' auditors and will send you whoever is available at the agreed audit days.
    I know the auditors are also not too happy with this

    Andy Nichols:
    seems like 'auditor retention rate' is also key ...
     
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  7. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Your (sales) contact isn't providing the right service. I did this all the time for clients. The pool isn't THAT big that they can't give you names and numbers. It IS true that the schedule will dictate who could do the audit, but unless you need a very special industry experiences auditor, it can be figured out. I'm guessing the sales person doesn't want to do the work (I can vouch that it's not easy)

    Retention is one indicator - the motivation to NOT move might also be factored in too
     

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