The Certification Process

At QMS, we are experts in the certification process. For management systems certification, there is a simple step by step process to be followed – as explained below.

Application

Our team assist you to complete the application process, by determining the important factors to your certification. These can include your certified scope of activities, worker numbers, certified locations and applicability of requirements of your chosen standard(s). We then perform a formal review of the application and calculate your audit durations and frequency.

Optional Gap Analysis

If you are unsure if you are ready for certification, we can complete a gap analysis against the basic requirements of the standard(s). This can give you comfort that your organisation is ready for certification, or identify the gaps that still remain. This process is optional for any organisation at any time.

Initial Stage 1 Assessment

A Stage 1 assessment is mandatory to review your organisation’s preparedness for certification. The assessor will do a high level review of your management system and related documents, evaluate site-specific requirements for future audits, and consider your organisation’s readiness for a Stage 2 Compliance audit – including knowledge of the requirements of the standard(s), ensure internal audits and management review processes are substantial enough for compliance, and generally review allocation of resources for the stage 2 audit. A report is prepared, identifying areas of conformance or non-conformance. Any gaps in conformance must be addressed prior to commencement of a stage 2 assessment.

Initial Stage 2 Compliance Assessment

The Stage 2 assessment is conducted to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of your organisation’s management system. This assessment will cover all requirements of the standard(s). A comprehensive report is provided, detailing all areas of conformance or non-conformance. If no major non-conformances are issued, the assessor will recommend your organisation for certification.

We must then perform a formal technical review of the stage 1 and stage 2 audit documents and make a formal decision to grant certification. If, for some reason, certification is refused this decision must be in writing and made available to the client. Not that it is extremely rare for a certification to be refused.

Surveillance Assessments

For the following 2 years, surveillance audits are required to verify the ongoing implementation and maintenance of your management system and ensure ongoing compliance with the standard(s). The frequency of surveillance audit depends on many factors (such as size and scope of the organisation, number of certified location etc) but typically will be performed annually.

Surveillance assessments are typically a smaller audit, focusing on key areas of the standard. A report is provided, detailing all areas of conformance or non-conformance. If no major non-conformances are issued, your certification status will be maintained.

Recertification

3 years after your initial successful stage 2 assessment, we are required to perform a recertification assessment. This is similar to the initial stage 2 assessment, and reviews your ongoing compliance against all requirements of the standard(s).

A comprehensive report is provided, detailing all areas of conformance or non-conformance. If no major non-conformances are issued, the assessor will recommend continuation of certification.

Expanding or Reducing the Certification Scope

At any time, a certified client may request a change to their scope of certification. This can occur for many reasons including a change in the activities of the organisation, an acquisition of another business, or the addition of new business locations.

QMS must formally review the changes applied for, and determine if those changes will have an impact on the planned audit frequency, audit durations, or if any new audit activities are required.