IT exam overseer fails test

APMG has accreditation suspended

APM Group, which is responsible for accrediting ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) and Prince2 examination bodies for the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), has had its accreditation suspended by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

The firm received a letter notifying it of its suspension on 12 October from the government-recognised UKAS, an independent organisation set up to keep an eye on companies that dish out certification and testing throughout Britain.

APMG was told that accreditation had been suspended in two categories (EN45011 and EN45013) because it had failed to uphold standards in its project management training and certification.

Richard Pharro, managing director at APMG, told The Register that UKAS had given the firm three months to get its act together and ensure that training companies it accredited were fully complying with agreed standards.

Pharro said that APMG was unable to respond adequately to the deadline laid down by UKAS due to staff shortage during the summer.

He told us that the firm hadn't carried out the required inspection visits. APMG also failed to formally write to training companies in a reasonable timescale to remind them about compliance to ensure continued accreditation.

As part of the suspension APMG is not permitted to use the well-respected UKAS tick logo in any of its documentation.

Asked if he can expect the suspension to impact business at the firm, Pharro said:

"At the moment it hasn't but it's difficult to know what the long-term consequences could be. We're confident we can lift the suspension and are certainly putting in the effort to do that." He added that he hoped to see this happen by the first quarter of next year.

The firm has informed the 60 or so training companies it provides accreditation to throughout the UK. It also contacted the OGC, which is responsible for keeping a watchful eye over government spending.

Pharro said the OGC "has accepted our position and it expects that we will get the suspension lifted".

Asked if he could see the irony in a trainer that dishes out accreditation and works closely on project management for government procurement having its accreditation suspended by a government-recognised body, Pharro admitted:

"There is an irony, there is an embarrassment. But on the other side there is honesty about it... clearly we're not happy about it but we accept the [UKAS] auditors' position."

We contacted UKAS but it said it was unable to provide comment about any individual cases that were currently active. ®

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