The process for management systems certification is straightforward and follows a generic process consistent for ISO management systems standards - ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, ISO 50001, ISO 27001, ISO 22301. There are some minor differences for specific standards such as AS 9100 and TS 16949, which we will be happy to explain during your application.
THREE STEPS TO CERTIFICATION
Application for registration is made by completing the Quote Request Form for the desired standard - these can be found on each Standards page. This form provides information about your organization so we can accurately define the scope of certification and the assessment duration.
Assessment is undertaken by NQA against the specific requirements of your chosen Standard. This consists of two mandatory visits that form the Initial Certification Audit (explained below). Please note that you must be able to demonstrate that your management system has been fully operational for a minimum of three months and has been subject to a full cycle of internal audits.
Certification is issued by NQA on successful completion of the Stage 2 assessment. Certification is maintained through a programme of annual surveillance audits and a three yearly recertification audit.
INITIAL CERTIFICATION AUDIT
The purpose of this audit is to confirm that your organization is ready for full assessment.
The assessor will:
- confirm that the management system conforms to the requirements of the standard
- confirm its implementation status
- confirm the scope of certification
- check legislative compliance
- produce a report that identifies any non-compliance or opportunities for improvement and agree a corrective action plan if required
- produce an assessment plan and confirm a date for the Stage 2 assessment visit
The purpose of this audit is to confirm that the management system fully conforms to the requirements of the chosen Standard in practice.
The assessor will:
- undertake sample audits of the processes and activities defined in the scope of certification
- document how the system complies with the standard by using objective evidence
- report any non-compliances or opportunities for improvement
- produce a surveillance plan and agree a date for the first annual surveillance visit
If the assessor identifies any major non-conformances, certification cannot be issued until correction and corrective action is taken and verified. Accreditation requirements stipulate that if this is not completed within 6 months, then certification cannot be recommended without a further stage 2 assessment.
Specifically for ISMS this requirement extends to any nonconformity regarding the internal audit or management review processes. Certification may not be issued for ISO 27001:2013 until there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that arrangements for management reviews and internal ISMS audits have been implemented, are effective and will be maintained.
Once certification is obtained a certificate will be issued that will be valid for 3 years. This is
maintained through annual surveillance audits and a 3 yearly recertification audit (full system audit).
Surveillance audits are undertaken annually to ensure that compliance to the chosen Standard(s) is maintained throughout the three year certification cycle.
The frequency and duration of surveillance is dependant on factors including:
- size and structure of organization
- complexity and risk of activities
- number of management systems standards included in the scope of certification
During the surveillance audit you must demonstrate continual improvement. This is a fundamental
requirement of all ISO standards.
What happens if your business changes during this time?
Don’t worry – we are used to organizations of all shapes and sizes changing on a regular basis
including locations. We can provide you with all of the options to change and adapt your scope /
standards to suit your business requirements – we just need you to be honest with us. Our
collaborative partnership approach to certification is designed to enable your certification
programme to suit your business requirements – not the other way around!
Do you have any questions?
If you have any questions about the certification process, we'll be happy to explain.
Please contact us or call 800-649-5289.