Remote ISO Certification: Implementing ISO Management Systems Online

During this period of disruption caused by the Coronavirus COVID-19 many organisations are relying on remote working using conferencing facilities like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts.

There are many business activities which can be completed remotely allowing people to work from home and reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint in the process. We could find that even after the Coronavirus measures, organisations maintain higher levels of remote working.

ISO Consultants Assent are no different and over many years we’ve used remote tools to complete internal audits for organisations across the world.

The attitude towards remote consultancy and auditing is changing. While some standards have specific on-site demands, such Physical Security in ISO 27001 and Site Safety in ISO 45001, the vast majority of other ISO requirements can easily be satisfied through screen-sharing and video calls.

 

Start ISO Implementation Remotely

Our office and consultancy teams have access to several conferencing facilities, and we utilise cloud-based collaboration tools, so an implementation project starts with a phone call.

ISO Management System Standards provide a clear set of requirements which Assent has come to know inside-out over many years, so we are well placed to guide you through the implementation process. 

The first step is to fully scope your management system. This means understanding what you do, how many people perform each activity, any legal or regulatory requirements and where you operate. 

Even if you are working from home, it’s important to include any office, factory or warehouse that you might be returning to.  

ISO Certification scopes can be complex. The entire organisation does not have to be ‘in-scope’ however we often find that limiting the scope actually becomes more complicated as parts of the organisation become third-party.

 

Online Project Management Tool for ISO

Next, we build a project plan from several established templates using our online project management tool. Clients are invited to join the tool where they will see a number of tasks laid out through the course of the project.

The tool also enables secure file sharing and messaging.

The online project management tool should become your go-to place to see how your ISO project is going. Outside of remote consultancy sessions, you can log onto here and update tasks with any progress made.

Many of these tasks require a policy, procedure, process or other documentation that you may not have already. Don’t worry about this. Our consultants will help you to produce these from drafts and examples we already have. Part of our job is to help you understand how the requirements of the ISO standard relate to your business, and build a bespoke ISO Management System that works for you. 

Our office team also have access to your project and can provide remote support.

 

Remote Internal Audits

Internal Audits require sampling to produce objective evidence that your management system is running effectively to meet your objectives. 

Many of these samples can be taken remotely, through screen-sharing or by providing our consultants with access to your systems, such as Sharepoint or a CRM.

Everything captured during an audit is confidential and our report review procedure ensures that reports only contain the information needed to complete the audit.

Internal audits are a great way to check that your system is working, avoiding non-conformances arising at Certification stage.

However, sometimes there are specific on-site requirements which will require a visit to your office, factory or warehouse. This is not a problem. We have consultants around the UK who can attend your site to conduct these areas of the audit.

If we are unable to access your physical sites at the time of the internal audit, it is possible to delay those areas to later on in the audit cycle.

 

Remote Management Review

Holding meetings via remote conferencing facilities is now commonplace in business-as-usual, so completing the management review requirement is easily done. 

Having the right attendance at this meeting is important and it could include people in leadership positions from various departments.

 

Certification

Once we have worked together to implement your ISO Management System, it’s time to bring the impartial UKAS Accredited Certification Body in to complete an external audit and issue your ISO Certificate.

Assent will guide you through the process of choosing a Certification Body and making arrangements to audit your ISO Management System. 

Usually your Stage 1 and Stage 2 external audits would be conducted onsite. However, with the current pandemic and recommendations to work-from-home and avoid unnecessary contact, Certification Bodies are adapting. See our “How Certification Bodies have adapted to the Coronavirus Disruption” Blog for more information.

 

Conclusion

Implementing an ISO Management System Remotely is achievable and Assent will support you every step of the way.

Now could be the best time to turn your attention to that ISO Certification that you’ve been meaning to arrange!