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AccountAbility hits back at 'untenable' standards board

Date: 14 Jan 2011

The management of embattled standards organisation AccountAbility has issued a letter to stakeholders attacking the actions of its own AA1000 Standards Board following the collective resignation of that group earlier this week.

The letter said that the Board had been made untenable by "fundamental disagreements over the future governance of the Standards function, the propriety of certain Board members and others in leadership positions maintaining competing business interests, and ongoing concerns about breaches of independence".

The management pushed the extraordinary attack further by saying: "We believe the Board's position was heavily influenced by false, misleading and inaccurate information provided by certain disgruntled employees of AccountAbility."

It said that the business model for AccountAbility remained unchanged, as a not-for-profit company which had no plans to offer assurance services which would create a conflict of interest with its management of the standards.

This line is disputed by former CEO of AccountAbility, Simon Zadek who wrote on his blog that his departure from the organisation had been brought about by this move from "change-maker" to seeking "future commercial gain". He suggested that many previous supporters were joining the Standards Board in removing their support from the current process.

The challenge for the management is that many of the names lining up to criticise recent changes are well-known and respected, having been active in the field for many years. AccountAbility has so far failed to attract the vocal support of counter-balancing authoritative voices.

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