Choose the Right Certification Body
How to choose the right Certification Body for you and your organization...
Recruiting a new person for a job is a long and complex task; yet one that is crucially important for the future of your organization. You want to make sure you find someone that has the skills and experience to hit the ground running and a personality and style that will fit in with existing employees. Selecting the right certification body is no different to recruiting the right person and is just as important.
Skills for the job
UKAS (or equivalent Accreditation)
Selecting a certification body that is UKAS (or equivalent) accredited ensures you get a robust and impartial audit. As a UKAS accredited Certification Body, NQA are unable to provide consultancy services to clients, meaning that you get a guaranteed impartial third party audit ensuring you get the most value from your audit experience possible. Find out more about UKAS here and about our accreditations here.
Competence of a Certification Body
UKAS (or equivalent) accreditation also guarantees the competence of a certification body. NQA has to ensure each year that every member of staff is both trained and competent to carry out relevant activities under our scope of accreditation. This means not only are our assessors competent to audit your organization (with the relevant knowledge and experience), but all back office staff that you may deal with throughout your journey are also suitably trained and competent.
It is also important that your chosen certification body is able to audit against the relevant standards you require. You will have standards that you require immediately (perhaps for a tender or other business reasons) but there are likely to be other standards you may require in the future when they become more standardized across industries – it’s important to ensure the certification body you choose has a good portfolio for both your short term requirements and long term aspirations.
The right experience and background
Never underestimate the power of a brand. By selecting a certification body with a global brand it not only open doors for future business growth, but can also help to link you with similar organizations or potential business partners across the globe.
The assessors that work for a certification body are the most important part of the whole certification process. He/She will be the person that audits your business and assists you in ensuring your management system is as effective as possible. It’s therefore crucial that your assessor not only understands your business but also the industry in which you operate. NQA will only send an Assessor into your organization if they have had previous experience or knowledge of your industry.
Understanding who certification bodies currently work with can provide you with ample knowledge of the ability of a certification body. If case studies for existing clients are not available certification bodies should be able to provide you with at least 2 references in order for you to gain confidence in the certification body’s ability to satisfy your requirements. NQA has a series of case studies with clients of all shapes and sizes (for example Jaguar Land Rover).
Style and Culture
It’s also important you get an assessor whose style and culture matches your organization – your assessor can quickly become a great ally in giving you the backing and third party support towards the changes needed to ensure continual improvement. The more you communicate with NQA the more we can ensure the right assessor visits your premises not only for the first visit, but for many visits after that ensuring efficiencies and continuity!
Values are increasingly becoming the personality of organizations and as a result it is important you check out what is at the heart of a company and ensure this matches with the values of your organization. This can be the difference between a value added audit and a headache. NQA prides itself on its historic values which include technical integrity, stewardship (to all stakeholders) and embracing change – Never Stop Improving.
Although your certification body cannot offer consultancy services for you, it is important to select a certification body that can offer you the right support at the right time. The current transition provides you with a great opportunity to compare the support offered to clients by various certification bodies.
Here at NQA we are offering our clients not only face to face workshops with free gap analysis documents, but also access and participation in monthly webinars - offering guidance from assessors and even free online training. There are also a number of additional support services and training available at an additional cost.
Last but not least the cost of certification should not be ignored. It is important to ensure the certification body is delivering the correct amount of days at a fair price but that you have also budgeted for the three year certification cycle period as well as the initial upfront costs. Certification bodies will typically provide you with a quote that will cover all three years but it is important to understand what is and isn’t included in these costs.
Here at NQA our cost structure is easy. We have a day rate and we determine the number of days we require in order to audit your organization. This is based on the size and scale of your organization, the scope for certification, the activities and processes your organization is engaged in and risk each of these activities carries. We then multiply the day rate by the number of days and voila! That’s it. No additional costs, no hidden costs and no expenses!
Get a free of charge quotation by completing our online quotation tool here.