About the Dialogue and How to Post to It
WHAT IS THE DIALOGUE
The Dialogue is the online forum for requesting precedent-setting clarifications, exceptions, and definitions related to program requirements. Through its responses to those requests, ILFI provides guidance on situations, devised strategies, or innovations that were not contemplated by the rule set articulated in the Handbooks for a given Standard. Anyone can review the posted questions and rulings, but only registered project teams can submit posts to the Dialogue.
Rulings are made publicly available so that other project teams and interested parties can learn from the posted questions and responses. Searchable based on content, the activity in the Dialogue not only provides a mechanism for distributing strategies for success, but also yields modifications to future releases of the Handbooks and Standards. In this way, the Dialogue captures the ongoing evolution of the Standards and gives credit to the hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals who contribute to the process.
Note: Confidentiality will be maintained for all projects indicated as confidential at registration.
POSTING TO THE DIALOGUE
Is it the right venue?
To ensure that the question is directed through the most appropriate process, project teams are advised to consider the following questions before submitting. If a review of those questions suggests that the inquiry doesn't warrant submission as a Dialogue post, but rather is seeking clarification or additional information, then it should be directed to email@example.com as a standard technical support question. Technical Support staff will help you re-route it through Dialogue if they judge that’s appropriate.
1) Does the answer already exist?
Please be sure to search the Petal Handbooks and the Dialogue. If the answer to this question is no, proceed to question 2).
- Is the issue addressed in the Petal Handbooks?
- Is the issued addressed elsewhere in the Dialogue?
2) Is the situation unique or requiring specific guidance?
If the answer to any of the following questions is yes, then posting to the Dialogue is appropriate. When in doubt, Technical Support staff can advise.
- Is the team requesting a specific approach or strategy that isn’t clearly permitted in the Standard or Handbooks?
- Is the team requesting clarification on how to apply a requirement that might be open to interpretation?
- Is the team asking about a project-specific situation, circumstance, or process that isn’t addressed in the Standard or Handbooks?
- Does use of a pathway or exception require submission to Dialogue for approval?
How to Post
Posts to the Dialogue are submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and must contain the following:
- A subject line that identifies the topic and includes the words “Dialogue Post”,
- The registered project ID, (found on the project page),
- The project name and whether it is confidential,
- The certification being sought and the version of the Standard,
- The project Typology
- The Imperative the post pertains to,
- If the post is being submitted to comply with a requirement for pre-approval, a statement to that effect, with a specific reference to the subject pathway or exception must be cited, and
- A specific question(s) or request on a single topic with sufficient detail and background to permit evaluation.
If a new exception or alternative pathway is being requested, the post must clearly explain why the existing Imperative structure does not fit the particular circumstance, including a description of other scenarios explored in a diligent effort to comply within the existing framework. It must also explain how the proposal meets the intent of the requirement and how compliance will be demonstrated.
If the post is requesting pre-approval required for use of a particular pathway or exception, it must clearly identify how the project meets any eligibility criteria for use of the pathway or exception, and provide a specific substantiated rationale, including any required documentation.
ILFI will review the submission and reply by email with either a formal determination or request for additional information. After the final determination has been sent to the project team, both the submitted question and the response will also be posted to the public Dialogue.
When the Dialogue ruling provides a clarification or pathway that the team relies on for compliance, both the question and the response need to be uploaded to the folder for Dialogue Posts (or other ILFI correspondence) on the project page, to ensure that the auditor is aware of the ruling.