Published: 24 Mar 2021

At the end of 2020, the CQI and IRCA undertook a review of sponsored standards activity.

In the most in-depth and extensive exercise on standards we have undertaken, CQI Members and IRCA Auditors (hereafter, “members”) were asked which standards were most important to them; the value they place on information, guidance and/or training relating to those standards; and the value they place on getting involved in their development.  

This has provided us with a uniquely rich picture of how members want to be involved and informed on those standards which matter most. Based on this information, we are building a new regime for standards, which puts member participation and consultation to the fore and focuses resources on those standards which really matter to members. 

Background 

Standards play an important role in the governance, assurance, and improvement of organisations. Their development and implementation are of significant interest to the CQI, its members, Corporate Partners, and other interested parties.  

The collective knowledge, skills, and experience of the CQI and its members positions the CQI as an important contributor to the development of a range of standards related to quality management, management systems, and auditing.  

These contributions have been managed by the CQI Standards Panel, which has used its expertise as standards and subject matter authorities to harness the knowledge, skills, experience, and opinions of CQI members and IRCA auditors to great effect. Through the Panel, the CQI has directly and significantly influenced the development and content of standards including ISOs 9001, 9004, 45001, 19011 and 37000. 

CQI and IRCA members, and the learners who attend CQI and IRCA training courses represent many diverse sectors and disciplines. And, while some standards like ISO 9001 have near-universal appeal and application, the standards which matter to CQI members, and their needs and expectations of CQI with regards to those standards are similarly diverse. 

About the survey 

A total of 36 standards were selected for the survey based on the following criteria: 

  • Management systems requirements and guidance standards, and competence standards considered core to the quality management and audit professions. 
  • Sector-specific quality management standards. 
  • Standards related to allied professions or sectors, such as occupational health and safety, risk, and information security. 
  • Other standards for which CQI has specific products and services, such as training course criteria and/or auditor certification schemes. 
  • Additional quality management guidance and support 

The survey asked members to identify how important each standard was to their activity as a quality or audit professional; how valuable it was to receive news, insight, guidance, and training about the standard; and how important the CQI’s participation in the development of that standard was. Respondents were also asked whether and how they themselves would you like to participate in the development of each standard. Over 660 members from UK, Japan and across the rest of the globe responded. 

Summary of key findings 

ISO 9001 (QMS requirements) and ISO 19011 (Guidelines for auditing management systems) received the highest percentage of ‘top-two’ ratings (“Important” and “Very important”) across all questions, indicating that members consider these most important, value receiving information/training, and consider it important for the CQI to participate in their development.   

ISOs 14001 (environmental management systems requirements) and 45001 (occupational health and safety) were also rated highly with regards to importance, value of news, insights, and training. 

However, the survey also highlighted that some of those less popular standards are of particular importance for some members, especially those which relate to specific industries and disciplines. Members also value news about those standards which support the core management systems requirements standards, even where those standards are not considered as important to their role as a quality professional.  

Standards which received the lowest percentage of top two ratings included sector specific standards, where one may expect the number of members with a particular interest in these standards to be lower than those standards with more general application. 

From this insight a CQI sponsored standards regime can establish a ranking or hierarchy to inform the resources devoted to each standard.  

News and updates, insights, and training 

The value members place on receiving news and updates, and insights and guidance on each standard corresponds with those standards which they most rated important. So too does the value members place on training, though notably this is not as frequently highly rated. 

Participation 

The results suggest appetite among members for the CQI to exert its influence through participating in the development of a broad range of standards.  

In response to the question, “How important do you think it is for CQI|IRCA to participate in the development of this standard?”, 27 of the 36 standards included in the survey were rated “important” or “very important” by more than 33% of respondents.  

However, only four standards were rated ““important” or “very important”” by more than 33% of respondents when asked how important it was for them to participate in their development: ISO 9001 QMS, (46%), ISO 19011 (43%), ISO 45001 (35%), ISO 14001 (34%). 

A new system for engaging with standards development 

Responding to what you told us in the survey, the CQI will roll out a new system of standards engagement and development activity. It will: 

  • retain a coordinated overview of all standards activity, 
  • focus core resources on those standards of most continuing importance to the CQI and its members, 
  • support subject matter specialists and enthusiasts to pursue specific interests for standards which are not sponsored by CQI, 
  • focus all CQI sponsored standards activity on valued outputs for the CQI and its members  

The CQI will identify which standards to engage with by reviewing the product lifecycle of key standards; via requests and recommendations from member groups (e.g., Special Interest Groups) and member feedback.; and through an established process of environmental scanning. This process identifies the key factors affecting the CQI and its stakeholders; those which support the delivering of the CQI’s strategic objectives​; and it provides the insight required to increase value to interested parties.  

To support the breadth and diversity of needs, expectations, and appetite for information and involvement, standards may be assigned to tiers, which will determine the appropriate activity and degree of sponsorship and support provided by the CQI. Working groups will be commissioned to run standards development projects, leading member-engagement activity, engaging with working groups and technical committees, and producing assets to support and inform the membership. 

This approach will support more members in contributing to the development of standards which matter to them. It will be agile and responsive, engaging with standards development at those times where it can have most effect, and focussing on providing CQI and its members with the news, information, and opportunities to engage identified through the survey. 

While we look ahead to a new regime for engaging with standards development, the CQI would like to thank the existing Standards Panel for its dedication, enterprise, and expertise.  

The CQI Standards Panel comprises: 

  • Mark Braham, formerly AA – Quality Management and Annex SL 
  • Angela Cunningham, Coca Cola European Partners – Food Safety 
  • Richard Green (Chair of the CQI’s Standards Panel), Kingsford Consultancy Services Limited – Occupational Health and Safety 
  • Ricky Leask, Intermoor – ICT and Artificial Intelligence 
  • Mike Pearson, Pearson Associates Limited – Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) 
  • James Pink, NSF Health Services Limited – Medical Devices 
  • Sharon Shutler, QMS services – Life Sciences 
  • Alexander Woods, CQI Policy – Panel facilitator and setting of overall direction of travel 

Through the endeavours of this group of standards makers, the CQI is recognised by the BSI and ISO as an organisation that is willing and capable to make meaningful contributions to the production and revision of a diverse range of management system and auditing standards – standards which are adopted by millions of organisations across the globe.