Is ISO 31000 fit for purpose?

The debate

“Is ISO 31000 fit for purpose” is the headline above a debate published in the June edition of Risk Management Professional – for online version click here. The “debate” consisted of an abbreviated version of my blog – “ISO 31 000: Dr Rorschach meets Humpty Dumpty” -­‐ and a “rebuttal” by Grant Purdy, one of the principal authors of the ISO Standard.

“Debate” and “rebuttal” have been enclosed in quotation marks because a serious debate did not take place. The rebuttal is entitled “Never perfect, but inclusionary, practical and widely accepted”, and consists mostly of an explanation of (and excuse for) any imperfections that it might have.

It observes that:

  • “standards may not reflect the ‘best available’ practices and leadingthinking.”
  • “a standard can be biased because of prevailing influences in the committeethat prepared it.
  • “significant compromises are often required to obtain consensus in acommittee.” and concedes that

• “it would be naïve to think that ISO 31000 could not suffer from any of the problems described above.”

The rebuttal further acknowledges “some fudging” and “some unnecessary complexity”. None of these admissions of possible imperfection are related to any specific parts of ISO 31000; readers are left to work out for themselves where within the document they might be found.

Is it fit?

But let’s move on to the purpose of ISO 31000. … read the full essay here  

1 comment

1 ping

  1. Gerry Evans says:

    I have complained about standards for 20 years and my complaints started with BSI who are the most incompetent. I have recently continued with my complaint with them and have objected to ISO because they are about to adopt EN 14154 into ISO 4064 water meter standard on the 18th August 2012. Prior to being EN 14154 the water meter standard was BS 5728 and it has never been ‘fit for purpose’ and we have between 8 and 10 million substandard water meters installed in the UK. It need publicity!!

    The meters either stop or under record water consumption, which may sound good at first but someone has to pay for it because water companies are not philanthropic societies. Any losses are ‘estimated’ and there is no way customers are able to work out for themselves if the estimations are accurate.

    One water company claims that they have a 1% to 2% replacement of failed meters every year. If this figure was the average for the whole country, when everyone is metered (28 million approximately) this means there would be between 280,000 and 560,000 replacements at between £50 and £70 each per annum.

    Basically the water companies are selling crap to the water companies and they know it’s crap before they buy it. The meter manufacturers are designing water meters to fail to keep up their production and the water companies know it. The public must end up paying for it.

    I know there are many people who felt the same way as do about BSI and I have a letter from the deceased James Tye, Director General, British Safety Council dated 1996 that states BSI ‘are incredibly inefficient people’.

    Have a look at my ‘Complaint to BSI about EN 14154’ website http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdalPzpKEwg&feature=youtu.be if you are interested let me know. I can’t get the Press or News Media to take an interest because they don’t want to upset the water companies.

    BSI will only accept written complaints so I put the words on my video, so there is no sound on it. No one has ever challenged me!!

    Are you aware that BSI closed access to their archives on 1st January 2012?

    Gerry Evans

  1. Why ISO 31000 is dangerous « Critical Uncertainties says:

    […] in my disquiet over ISO 31000, see for example John Adams question as to whether the standard is fit for purpose. Then there’s the Kaplan-Mikes assessment that ISO 31000 is ‘just not […]

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