With the first audits for the SERMI standard due to take place in 2017, PMM catches up with Stuart James, Director at the RMI/IGA, to find out more about this landmark initiative.

SERMI, which stands for SEcurity related Repair & Maintenance, forms part of ISO-18541 and is the process by which garages that can meet the strict requirements of the scheme will be accredited to access all areas of manufacturer technical information, including data related to the security of the vehicle.

PMM: 2016 was a busy year for the RMI/IGA – what interesting things do you have in the offing for this year?

Stuart James (SJ): 2016 was very busy for the right reasons and many opportunities arose to support the independent sector in its moment of need. The government needed to roll out the new MOT training framework and, as an organisation, we developed a business model that supported exactly that – developed on the principle of value for money, quality service provision and leading the way for this new position. This will continue into 2017 and onwards for as long as the need dictates. In order to improve the provision across the country, we will open further training centres, as well as additional field support for remote businesses.

New activity for 2017 will incorporate the first audits for the SERMI standard. We will take a pivotal role in supporting the introduction of Trailblazer standards, ensuring quality and consistency is upheld. We will work to increase the industry’s awareness of the potential implications associated with connected cars and, of course, we have not taken our eye off the ball with the four-year MOT consultation.

PMM: We had an update regarding SERMI at the end of the summer, with the EA signing off the scheme for Euro Type Approval – can you tell us what this now means and what updates should we expect in 2017?

SJ: The SERMI scheme has been signed off. However, one small element (the Trust Centre) needs to be formed before audits can take place within garages. We believe that the provider for the Trust Centre will be selected by March 2017 and, all going to plan, we expect audits to take place by approximately September 2017.

PMM: If/when SERMI officially comes into play, what will this mean for car owners and independent workshops?

SJ: When SERMI officially comes into play, it will help to prove the integrity of the garage owner and the technician that is accessing the security level information on a vehicle. In no way will the scheme physically provide the information or provide any guarantee that the VM has the system ready and fully working to provide the information. However, the garage can communicate to customers that it has the right to access all information for that consumer’s vehicle.

PMM: Will SERMI mean that workshops also have to invest in better quality diagnostic equipment if they’re to reap the full benefits of the accreditation?

SJ: SERMI in itself will not mean you will have to buy new pieces of equipment. However, the SERMI standard will allow garages to directly communicate with the VM’s server, and equipment providers will almost certainly look into providing a solution based on the operational needs of each VM system.

PMM: What hopes do you have for the year ahead, particularly regarding SERMI?

SJ: This has been a long journey for the IGA; we have worked tirelessly on a European and UK level to ensure this access to information becomes available for the independent garage. Effectively, this standard will differentiate quality businesses from those that fail to demonstrate the high quality standards today’s motor industry needs.

To find out more about SERMI and what it means for the independent automotive aftermarket, click here

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