The services sector in Barbados is not meeting the required quality standards.
So said Executive Director of the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries (BCSI) Lisa Cummins, who noted that industry professionals were now required to obtain a tax clearance certificate from the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) in order to renew their licences to practice here.
She said in light of the requirement, the BCSI was moving swiftly to help develop the necessary standards.
Through a quality management system being developed by the BCSI and other stakeholders, operators covered by the Profession, Trade and Business Registration Act will have the opportunity to obtain a quality service mark (QSM) to validate their competence and quality standards within their organizations.
This system is expected to be in place by the end of this year.
Speaking at a recent validation workshop held at the BCSI’s Harbour Road, St Michael office, Cummins said while many service providers had qualifications, some basic standards were still missing.
The new QSM, she said, would address that and other issues facing the services industries.
Making a reference to a National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE) survey which highlighted sectors that consumers were most unhappy about, Cummins said the QSM was meant to deal first and foremost with the quality of service providers and to identify the highest available international standard for service providers.
However, the BCSI official acknowledged that there were some service providers who did not have a national professional body to represent them.
She also pointed to complaints “on an annual basis and a daily basis” about people who were functioning in their professions but were not really professionals or did not have the required qualifications.
“There is no way to fight that unless they come on board and start being a part of the process,” she said.
To obtain the QSM service providers will have to complete an application form and carry out a self-assessment of their business. The certifying body would review the self-assessment and an independent audit would have to be conducted on the business. This is then followed by the conferment of the QSM by the BCSI once a final panel reviewed the independent audit report.
It is expected that recertification will take place every year for the first three years and then every two years thereafter.
Describing the QSM as a proactive response Cummins added, “The Minister of Finance has talked about the preference of service providers to avoid being captured by the radar, whether it is by way of providing information, whether it is by way of paying taxes, whether it is by way of falling under some umbrella. This is our response as well to that”.(MM)