Standards! What standards?

Original publish date – Mon, 27 Jul 2009 13:49:37 +0000, Keith

The aim of verification is to ensure that two different agencies will come to the same conclusion if presented with the same information.

The job of SANAS should be to ensure standards – after all they are an ISO accredited agency whose job is to ensure standards.

In reality we are continuing to see differing standards. We have currently a specific issue where one agency will happily penalize their client by up to 14 points over the decision of another agency. Imagine two verification agencies looking at the same information from the same client: the first one will award 32 points, the second will award 46 points – a difference between level 8 and level 6.
What types of standards are these? We have tried to speak to the dti – they do not respond. We talk to SANAS – they say interpretation is in the hands of the dti. This is not acceptable! SANAS is the organisation ensuring standards are followed. If the codes are not explanatory enough, or are too open to interpretation, then SANAS cannot ensure standardization.

SANAS cannot simply wash their hands off the issue by suggesting the the dti is responsible for writing the codes. Yes, it is true that the dti is responsible for writing the codes, but if the codes are written in such a way that standardization cannot be achieved, then SANAS owes it to the industry by refusing to accredit any agency until such time everyone follows the same calculations to arrive at the same number. SANAS have indicated that their job is to ensure standard methodology, but I think they have forgotten their true mission – to ensure standards in outcomes. If they did their job properly there would not be such a huge discrepancy between agencies.

Sure, SANAS have ensured that all agencies follow a strict methodology – all agencies ask all attendees at a meeting to fill in an attendance register. All agencies worry about filling in al the forms, but SANAS does not care if the agency can do a simple maths calculation or not. SANAS does not care that there is a potential 14 point discrepancy between two agencies, as long as both have a signed attendance register.

As far as I know this is not what ISO wanted to achieve when it was created way back in 1947.

We call on the minister to suspend the verification requirements until such time as there is consistency, and a proper method of obtaining clarity developing a B-BBEE scorecard.


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