ISO Certification: Frequently Asked Questions
How long does certification take?
The speed of implementation is driven by
1. The client’s commitment and available resources.
2. The size and complexity of the organisation.
3. The policies and procedures already in place.
Many certification bodies require at least 3 months for the management system to have been running, in order to have enough genuine records to audit.
The date of the final certification audit can depend on the availability of the external auditors, so it is an advantage to start talking to the certification body in advance.
What happens after certification?
The certification body will agree a “certification cycle”. This involves a re-certification and interim surveillance audits.
For example, an ISO 27001 Information Security Management system is usually re-certified every 3 years, with interim surveillance audits every 6 months from certification.
What is UKAS?
“The United Kingdom Accreditation Service is the sole national accreditation body recognised by government to assess, against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services.”
For more information, visit: http://www.ukas.com/about-accreditation/about-ukas/
Why choose a UKAS accredited certification body?
UKAS Accreditation offers the assurance of operating to recognised standards, at a consistent quality.
Using UKAS accredited certification bodies ensures your certification will be internationally recognised and accepted.
What if we have an accident, incident or complaint?
Risk can not be eliminated, only reduced and an audit is a sampling process.
Auditors understand this and if they do come across an inconsistency, they may extend their sampling to establish if it is a “major break down of the management system” or a rare occurrence.
Don’t forget, auditors will be watching what is happening in your organisation while they are there, so it’s important that you deal with any day to day issues appropriately.
Could we fail the Audit?
Yes companies can and have failed their certification audit, however if you have used a consultant to help implement the system, and followed their advice this is unlikely.
Remember it’s in no-ones interest for a company to fail an audit, so listen to your consultant and the external auditors.
What is the Difference between major and minor non-conformance?
Auditors can raise non-conformances against the standard or the process/procedures of your organisation.
A minor non-conformance will be noted if a deficiency has been found, providing it hasn’t shown a serious break down in the system.
The auditor will set a deadline for any minor non-conformances to be corrected and may require some evidence of this before awarding a certificate.
A major non-conformance is more serious and will lead to the application for certification to be refused. These usually occur when an aspect required by the standard has not been implemented, or it has been implemented to the extend it does not meet it’s objective.
How can an ISO consultant help me?
Our ISO consultants brings the following benefits:
- Intimate knowledge of the standard.
- Experience of how other organisations have implemented the standard.
- Experience of non-compliances raised at other audits.
- Knowledge of how the certification bodies work.