Member Institute CMC Standards Quality assurance process
This document describes the ICMCI quality assurance process to assure the compliance of member Institutes’ national CMC standards with the ICMCI Standard for Certified Management Consultant. It is supported by three other documents as follows:
- Statement of Equivalence with the ICMCI Standard , a standard form to be filled in by an Institute in preparation for quality assurance assessment of its CMC standard against the ICMCI Standard.
- Assessment of Equivalence with the ICMCI Standard, the corresponding form used by ICMCI appointed quality assurance assessors
- Guidelines for QA Assessors, containing practical guidance for quality assurance assessors in undertaking the role.
Although described here in terms of its formal ICMCI quality assurance function, this process is designed equally to be used (more informally) for self-assessment by member Institutes, and for peer review between two or more Institutes, in the context of shared learning between member Institutes and continuous self-improvement of Institute CMC standards.
B The Quality Assurance Standard and Principles
1. The benchmark is the CMC standard adopted by ICMCI as mandatory (subject to a transition period where necessary) for all member Institutes.
2. This ICMCI Standard is the competencies related standard initially adopted by the Amsterdam Congress in 1999, and subsequently amplified as authorised by the following congresses Sydney 2001, Istanbul 2003, Beijing 2005 and Dublin 2007, together with any appropriately authorised further modifications.
3. The quality assurance process must address both:
- the Institute’s CMC standard, and
- the Institute’s assessment process for measuring candidates against that standard (including the arrangements for monitoring of continued compliance with the standard).
4. The onus is on the Institute being QA assessed to demonstrate:
- the equivalence of its CMC standard to the ICMCI Standard.
- the adequacy of its assessment/monitoring process in assuring this standard.
5. “Equivalence” is a key concept concerning compliance with the ICMCI 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 in reflection of these valid differences.
What ICMCI does however require is that an Institute demonstrates to the satisfaction of ICMCI 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 a least the equivalent of that requirement (eg. an equivalent competence at an equivalent level) in candidates.
6. “Adequacy” of the process means adequate fitness for purpose for assuring the Institute’s CMC standard; in other words is it reasonably complete, coherent, and relevant in respect of the Institute CMC standard. This means that the Institute needs to demonstrate to a reasonable degree that:
- the process for selection of assessors and the standards of qualification/experience required of them are suitably stringent
- the assessment process measures candidates appropriately and effectively against its standard;
- the assessment process assures fair and consistent outcomes (for example, monitoring of assessment and individual assessor performance, provision for an appeal process);
- the required minimum level of ethical behaviour, both before and after award of CMC, is as far as is practicable assured;
- the continued maintenance by candidates of their performance to the CMC standard is assured (for example, by continued professional development, or re-certification).
C The Quality Assurance Process
1. The process described here is quality assurance process as applied on behalf of the ICMCI. However, the process has been designed equally as a support framework for use more informally by national Institutes themselves in the development and refinement of their CMC standards, as they find helpful.
For example, an Institute may apply the process to itself in order to identify any possible areas of weakness in its CMC standard or process; or two or more Institutes may apply it mutually as a means of exchanging knowledge and ideas. Even when used as an ICMCI quality assurance process, it is designed to be as supportive and helpful for the subject Institute as possible, and ICMCI QA assessors are required to treat the Institute as consultants treat their client.
2. The means for the ICMCI to quality assure Institute CMC standards and processes are through ICMCI appointed QA assessors, employing a specified assurance process. The QA assessors are selected according to Requirements to become an Assessor
3. The Institute being quality assured will pay the costs of the QA assessment i.e. the assessors’ personal expenses as incurred, and any fee required by ICMCI. In exceptional circumstances, if ExCom agrees that a Institute cannot reasonably afford these costs, it may decide to fund these centrally.
4. As a pre-requisite to the QA assessment , the Institute must have assembled (in English) and submitted the full documentation describing its CMC standard and assessment process. This documentation must be complemented by a “Statement of Equivalence” completed by the Institute, under standard headings as specified by ICMCI (see the supporting documentation)
All the documentation should preferably be in English. As a minimum, documentation covering the topics listed in Appendix A must be in English, together with the Statement of Equivalence form itself.
The Statement of Equivalence is divided into four main sections. Two of these (Pre-requisites for CMC Candidates, and CMC Standard) are designed to allow demonstration of “Equivalence” with the ICMCI Standard (see paragraph A 5). The other two (CMC Certification Process, and Accredited Practice Certification Process) are intended to allow demonstration of the ”Adequacy” of the assessment and monitoring processes (see paragraph A 6). In addition, the complete Statement is designed to allow cross-referencing to all the relevant documents which the Institute has.
The assessment is carried out against an Assessment of Equivalence standard form comprising exactly the same headings (see the supporting documentation).
5. The assessment process comprises two distinct stages:
- a preparatory stage with the objective of assessing readiness for audit eg. completeness of assembled material, any evident major gaps/inconsistencies in the standard etc. This stage is essentially to help the Institute prepare for assessment (findings are shared in full with the Institute), and to ensure best use of the assessment effort. It should be possible for the designated QA assessors to undertake most if not all of this stage remotely, and it may need several iterations.
- the assessment itself, once assessors have declared an Institute as “ready for QA assessment” . This normally requires at least one carefully prepared visit by one or more of the assessors. Its objective is to complete the assessment of the Institute’s CMC standard against the ICMCI Standard, and the adequacy of its processes, under all the headings specified in the Statement of Equivalence
6. The QA assessors are responsible for specifying whom they wish to interview during the assessment, and any additional material they wish to see. Interviewees would normally include key Institute staff responsible for the CMC standard, the Institute President and relevant officers, a sample of individual CMCs and possibly candidates, and (if an Accredited Practice arrangement is in place), a sample of such practices. The Institute being quality assured is responsible for assembling any requested material and making the necessary arrangements to enable the assessment to be completed in the planned time.
7. Findings of the QA assessment are documented in writing in the prescribed Assessment of Equivalence format reflecting the standard Statement of Equivalence headings. These findings are submitted to the Institute, to allow it to comment if it wishes, and to respond with an action plan to rectify any inadequacies found. All these documents remain confidential to the parties directly involved.
8. The possible assessment findings from the audit fall into 3 categories:
- fully compliant with the ICMCI Standard;
- compliant with the Standard, subject to certain (relatively minor) rectifications;
not yet compliant with the Standard.
- compliant with the Standard, subject to certain (relatively minor) rectifications;
- not yet compliant with the Standard.
An assessment in one of these categories is made against every heading in the Assessment of Equivalence document. Assessors are required to make the assessment on the basis of reasonable evidence, rather than absolute proof; and to hold a balance between matters of substance and those of relative detail.
9. In the case of the second and third categories of assessment, the QA assessors must clearly state what rectification action is judged necessary to meet the Standard, and what period of time they judge as reasonable for completion of these.
The points below describe in outline the process following completion of the assessment. This outline description is supplemented by the more detailed statement of steps in an Annex to this document, which represents the rules governing this part of the procedure
10. The Country Institute is granted a period to present its response to the findings of the assessment and the action plan decided by the Institute to rectify possible shortcomings. This response is then sent to the QA assessors and to QAC together with the assessors report and any comments.
11. The formal decision on compliance or otherwise with the ICMCI Standard is the prerogative of QAC on receipt of the QA assessors report and the Institute’s comments and action plan. Findings in both the first two categories (i.e. fully compliant, or compliant subject to certain rectifications) would normally result in favourable decisions (the second subject to subsequent evidence of the completed rectifications). Should an Institute be judged as “not yet compliant” in any area, it should go through the complete QA process again at a later date, unless otherwise decided by QAC (e.g. if the area is not major and a convincing rectification plan has been submitted).
12. An Institute may appeal to QAC against the QA assessors findings if it is dissatisfied with the conduct of the assessment. The appeal must be based on specific, stated grounds concerning the conduct of the assessment.
13. A ruling by QAC of compliance with the ICMCI Standard will confirm (or grant) reciprocity of CMC recognition with all other compliant ICMCI member institutes which grant such rights. A ruling that a Institute is “not yet compliant” will withdraw reciprocity rights and full ICMCI membership from that institute (or deny them to it), unless QAC decides to grant a grace period for the Institute to implement corrections and (normally) undergo quality assessment again. The period of grace will be a specific period agreed with the institute, at the discretion of QAC.
14. In addition, the QA assessors will document for ICMCI any comments, best practices and particular lessons learned from the assessment about the application of the process and the interpretation of the Standard which may help future assessors, as part of the continuous improvement of the quality assurance process, and to help ensure consistency in application of the process.
15. In accordance with existing ICMCI provisions, each member institute is subject to quality assurance of its CMC standard and processes every three years. QAC may decide to arrange for a light assessment every second time, based on previous experience of QA compliance of the Institute. Please refer to the last part of Requirements to become an Assessor
RULES GOVERNING THE DETAILED POST ASSESSMENT PROCEDURE
1. The Statements of Equivalence should be regarded as official statements from the institutes to ICMCI.
2. After an assessment the assessment report and statement should only go to the institute, the assessors and QAC. The detailed assessment remains confidential between the assessors (and by implication the QAC) and the institute concerned.
3. If QAC wants to distribute a Statement of Equivalence to ExCom, to ICMCI Working Groups or internal ICMCI Knowledge Sharing, the QAC may ask the institute for permission but expect them to grant it.
4. ExCom will of course be informed about the result: Approval, conditioned approval or rejection but not about the details. (A few relevant praising remarks may be added).
5. If the actual assessors and QAC agree to approve the assessment then that is the final decision and requires no more information to ExCom.
6. If and when an institute with lack of total compliance is given a period to plan and change their procedures in order to be able to comply entirely the assessment should not be informed in detail to people outside the assessors, QAC and the institute itself. But ExCom should receive some information - marked confidential - about rectifications required and the time frame agreed.
7. In the rare case where an institute does not comply the ExCom should be informed about the reasons for non compliance.
8. ExCom acts as appeal authority. In case of not fully compliant the institute may want to appeal to ExCom and has then to attach a copy of the full documentation received from the assessors. Thus the institute itself will inform ExCom by about the complete content of the statement of Assessment and the assessment report.
9. At some later stage QAC will be prepared to inform member institutes in anonymous form about findings across the assessments.
10. And any brilliant and best practice items may be informed and shared right away giving full credit to their institute of origin.
MANDATORY TOPICS FOR WHICH DOCUMENTATION IS REQUIRED IN ENGLISH
The topics for which institutes are required to provide documentation in English are as follows:
- Definition of their CMC standard (Competency Model and/or Body of Knowledge and Skills).
- Code of Ethics.