The business processes of the Auditor General’s Department, both technical and non-technical, have been certified to the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System (QMS) Standard by the National Certification Body of Jamaica (NCBJ).
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Audley Shaw, formally presented the certificate to Auditor General, Pamela Munroe Ellis, during a ceremony held at the Saints Peter and Paul Church Hall on Thursday (December 17).
In his remarks at the function, Mr. Shaw hailed the entity on the achievement and for “recognising the need to embed this quality system into the culture of the agency”.
He encouraged other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) “to join the fold as we move to position Jamaica in its rightful place on the global sphere”.
Minister Shaw said that the ISO 9001 Quality Management System Standard “is a vehicle to transform our public and private entities as we seek to facilitate the socio-economic transformation that Jamaica needs in order to be globally competitive”.
He argued that the current pandemic has brought the need for global competitiveness into sharp focus, noting that a disparity exists in the response to the crisis by the wealthier countries compared with that of the poorer nations.
“While all countries have felt the economic and social impacts of the pandemic, the poorer countries have been hit doubly hard. That is why we must move to create wealth for Jamaica and Jamaicans,” Mr. Shaw said.
“Becoming certified allows us to leverage markets and opportunities that the large countries and producers are making use of. If we are to achieve a larger slice of the pie, we need to position our country as a formidable contender,” he added.
Minister Shaw contended that the lack of ISO 9001 certification and conformity to other quality standards could become a subtle non-tariff barrier.
“The big companies in developed countries are now requiring that, in order to trade with them, companies are ISO 9001 certified as it indicates compliance with international best practices, which in turn inspires satisfaction and comfort of consumers,” he said.
For her part, Mrs. Munro Ellis said that the journey to certification resulted in the Department reviewing its systems thoroughly to determine not only sufficiency of policy but also relevance.
“At times, you are doing things because it’s tradition and your policies, your environment change over a period of time, and you need to review those polices, so that you remain relevant… and that your process is efficient. I think this journey was very good in allowing us to review our process for relevance,” she said.
She noted that the ISO quality framework is “that thread that tied all the business processes and people together in a logical and structured way”.
“For all the effort and time consumed, the process was value-added, and enriching. Our processes are far more defined and structured and, importantly, our process owners are aware of what their role is and how they fit into the process,” Mrs. Munroe Ellis said.
Others present at the ceremony were NCBJ Manager, Navenia Wellington Ford; Chairman, Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, Julian Robinson; and ISO Standards Ambassador, Reginald Budhan.
The ISO 9001 Quality Management System is the world’s most popular international standard and focuses on the quality of goods and services produced by an organisation.
Certification to this standard will allow companies to significantly improve their processes, procedures and overall profits.
The certification procedure is undertaken by the NCBJ, which offers this service in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.