What do you want from your Certification Body?
Your choice of Certification Body may depend on what you are seeking from certification.
Do you want a certificate of compliance that meets the minimum requirements for tenders, etc.?
Any Certification Body accredited by an IAF accreditation body such as JAS-ANZ can do the job for you, but you are probably short-changing yourself and not getting good value for your investment in certification.
Sci Qual International can meet these basic requirements but we prefer to focus on how we can help you improve.
Do you want to use the audit process to improve your business?
Many Certification Bodies just come in and conduct an audit and confirm you comply with the requirements of the particular standard such as ISO 9001. This does not give you a good return on your investment in certification.
The cost of your audit should be recovered in productivity, efficiency improvements, potentially reduced compliance costs, reduced insurance costs and lower staff turnover. This is because your auditor is focused on those areas of greatest risk in your business and those areas of lowest performance.
Your audit report should confirm compliance with the requirements of the standard or identify any areas of non-conformance, but more importantly, it should identify areas of improvement that could benefit your business. Many clients have systems that are too complex for their business because they have ended up with the ISO requirements being an “add-on” to the “real management system” that runs the business on a day to day basis. A good auditor will identify what you don’t need to do as much as what you do while bringing a strong improvement focus to the audit.
Sci Qual International auditors are all experienced and pragmatic people who are in this business because they get a kick out of helping organisations to grow and improve.
Do you want a Certification Body that has a good reputation for doing the right thing and protecting the integrity of accredited certification or one that has spent a lot of money promoting their brand and who is more focused on what you can do for them rather than the other way around?
While 3rd party accreditation is important, it is also important to understand that not all accredited Certification Bodies are the same.
One important measure that you should look at when deciding which Certification Body to use is how well they comply with the accreditation requirements.
Just as you are measured against the requirements of ISO 9001 for Quality or ISO 14001 for Environment, your Certification Body is measured against the requirements of ISO 17021 for management systems certification or ISO 17065 for product certification. In addition, there are a number of Mandatory IAF (International Accreditation Forum) documents relating to audit duration, competency of auditors, transfer of certification, multi-site sampling, use of ICT for auditing, auditing integrated management systems etc. These documents are designed to ensure that accredited Certification Bodies are all working to the same set of rules which is what protects the integrity of the certification system. You can check out more on this subject at JAS-ANZ.
While some CABS market themselves on their brand, how big they are, etc., an important question to ask may be “how well do you comply with your accreditation requirements”?.
After all, if you have to comply with multiple requirements to get certified, you would hope that your CAB was also meeting the high standards required for accreditation. The rules we work to are designed to get the best outcomes from certification.
One important measure of this in Australia is the frequency with which Certification Bodies are subject to assessment by JAS-ANZ. It is based on the performance of the accredited body (CAB) and may range across the following frequency schedule.
So before deciding which CAB to use, ask them where they sit on the above table and hopefully you will choose a CAB that gives you confidence that they are not just meeting the minimum requirements but that they are performing at a high level. This information is not publicly available at this stage, but every CAB will know where they sit.
Note that if your Certification Body is not accredited by JAS-ANZ or another IAF accreditation body, you have no guarantee that they do what they say they do or that they are competent to certify you. Your certification has more credibility and provides more confidence to your clients if the Certification Body is accredited by an IAF Approved Accreditation Body.
Sci Qual International is currently at Level 4 and to the best of our knowledge, there are no CABs at level 5.