Quality Assurance Committee Programs, Processes and Developments

The present Quality Assurance Committee (QAC) operates on the solid foundations laid by ICMCI pioneers over the last decade.  These developments were led by eminent consultants including Peter Sorensen, Peter Thomas, Brian Ing and more recently Clint Burdett, the immediate past-Chair QAC.

The standards, by which the CMC mark of excellence is granted to Consultants worldwide by member institutes, have not fundamentally changed over time.  However, our own internal processes and assessments have been continuously refined towards the much more sophisticated, well-documented system that currently operates.  This allows QAC Committee members and Assessors to work “with” members to ensure that the ICMCI global standards of excellence and the principle of “equivalence” are developed over time.

This article aims to clarify the approach to QAC Assessments, and to update ICMCI members generally concerning current issues and likely future developments, as well as being a useful guideline for handling their assessment process.

QAC Purpose
The prime purpose of the QAC is to assure compliance of each full member’s CMC Standard with ICMCI’s current CMC Standard - as described in the ICMCI CMC Certification Scheme Manual.

The adherence to the CMC Standard is a requirement for full membership of ICMCI, and for reciprocity of recognition, namely the recognition by all member institutes of the CMC certification awarded by any other full member.  The QA system is a key element in assuring the credibility and validity of CMC as a portable and internationally recognised certification.   The QAC assessments also allow us to record and share best practices with members, as appropriate.

Given the diversity of members’ business environments, local societal and political cultures, the QAC has from an early stage assessed members in accordance with the principle of “equivalence”, described in some detail below. 

The Equivalence Principle
ICMCI’s policy is that the ICMCI CMC Standard be at a relatively high level, leaving a significant degree of freedom to member countries in the detailed specification of their own national CMC standards. This is largely in recognition of the valid differences in background, history, and culture across the wide range of member countries. It also has the benefits of:

  • Longer term validity of the Standard in a changing world, and 
  • onal innovation in good practice (from which ICMCI benefits).Allowing room for nati

“Equivalence” is a key concept used for assessing compliance with the ICMCI CMC Standard.  ICMCI respects the historical, cultural and legal diversity of its members; consequently it fully accepts diversity (within certain defined limits) in national CMC standards and procedures in reflection of these valid differences.

However, what ICMCI does require is that an Institute can demonstrate to the satisfaction of ICMCI QAC Assessors, that the Institute CMC standard requires at least the equivalent level of professionalism and ethics in candidates as the ICMCI Standard.  This requires the Institute to demonstrate, against each of the ICMCI Standard requirements, how its standard assures the presence of at least the equivalent of that requirement in candidates (e.g., an equivalent competence at an equivalent level).  The benchmark of ICMCI is our Common Body of Knowledge statement.

The policy reflects the fact that the local consultant needs to be able to operate within the culture of his or her own country and should be assessed on that basis.  Therefore, the relative mix or emphasis of  the competences required, and the way in which these competencies are expressed, should be expected to vary from country to country in order to achieve the same desired service outcomes.

The equivalence principle makes valid these variations in the competence model and the certification process adopted to meet the local needs determined by the local culture – but still within a common universal framework.

The equivalence principle emphasises the outcome, or actual effect, of a standard, rather than rigid and detailed compliance to a specific set of means to achieve it.

Preparing For QAC Assessment
Given the large number of member organisations involved in ICMCI, it is not surprising that many go through internal changes.  This could include changes of key personnel, board members, fluctuations in market conditions and membership, relations with government, etc.  This means that at times members may feel that they are unable to meet QAC requirements in a timely manner.

To help dispel this quite natural reaction to requests for assessment, it is worth bearing in mind the very straightforward elements (many of which are immediately on-hand)  that are required for assessment.  They are as follows:

  1. Continued satisfaction of the standards set out in our Common Body of Knowledge statement;
  2. A summary of actions taken since the last QAC assessment;
  3. The updated Statement of Equivalence and Institute’s Basic Facts;
  4. The Matrix of preferred Methods/Techniques for assessment;
  5. Code of Professional Ethics;
  6. Documents of CMC processes, appeals and resolution of ethics complaints;
  7. Government registration; and
  8. Constitution and Organisational Chart.

If you have any issues whatsoever regarding your readiness for assessment, the best approach is to discuss these in confidence with either the nominated QAC Assessor or a member of the QAC.

Current Organisation and Scope of Work of QAC
Following the recent retirements of Brian Ing (Former Chair) and Clint Burdett (Immediate Past-Chair), the QAC membership succession has resulted in a current Committee comprised of:

  • Louis M. Loizou - Chairman, ICMCI QAC, CMC and CEO Cyprus ICMC
  • John H. Bielenberg – Vice-Chair QAC, FCMC Emeritus, Past-President IMC Australia
  • Clint Burdett – Immediate Past-Chair QAC CMC Emeritus
  • PK Lim – QAC Member, CMC Singapore
  • Valerie Sluth – QAC Member, FCMC & former Trustee Canada
  • Reema Nasser – Adviser, ICMCI Executive Director
  • Kim Karme – Adviser, Secretary and Member of the Board, ICMCI.

The program of work for the next twelve months includes the roll-over of any assessments postponed from 2016, as well as the current requirement for 2017 of new Assessments and triennial reviews.

A total of 22 assessments are to be delivered by 24 QAC Assessors working in teams of two during 2017.  It will assist our honorary Assessors and QAC Members if ICMCI members are able to respond promptly and positively to requests for information and to arrange the logistics of both new and repeat assessments.  It is useful to remember that the QAC approach aims for the common good and strength of the ICMCI in promoting the global standards of the profession of Management Consulting.

Future Developments
The QAC Committee is committed to achieving the best outcomes for ICMCI members and the profession of Management Consulting.  This involves remaining ever watchful of new developments around the world, including the development and application of formal Standards such as EN16114, ISO20700 and ISO17024, as well as the high-jacking of CMC style arrangements by other industry bodies.

At this stage, no formal ties to other arrangements are deemed necessary, but our approach is aimed to be lithe and flexible to enable us to quickly respond to future challenges that could disrupt our formal approach to QAC Assessment.

In summary, the QAC approach is a positive one – aimed at ensuring that members collectively and individually add strength to the profession of Management Consulting through adherence to a set of professional standards that are reasonable and necessary.  We aim to work “with” members and to support, rather than to pass onerous judgements.  We expect to hear your views for making ICMCI stronger.

Submitted by the Quality Assurance Committee:
Louis M. Loizou - Chairman, ICMCI QAC, CMC and CEO Cyprus ICMC
John H. Bielenberg – Vice-Chair QAC, FCMC Emeritus, Past-President IMC Australia
Clint Burdett – Immediate Past-Chair QAC CMC Emeritus
PK Lim – QAC Member, CMC Singapore
Valerie Sluth – QAC Member, FCMC & former Trustee Canada