Corporate Governance

Let’s talk ISO Certification Part 2: How to choose a Certification Body

How to choose a Certification Body

Let's Talk Certification Part 2: How to choose a Certification Body

Choosing a Certification Body shouldn’t be as simple as selecting the best looking quote. There are a handful of things that you should consider, but might not yet know about.

We’ve put together a few tips that can save you time and money, in the long run, when it comes to choosing an appropriate Certification Body. So, how can you avoid the risk of selecting the wrong CB?

Tip 1: Speak to the customers of the certified

Our first bit of advice is to NEVER ask the Certification Body directly how good they are – they will tell you that they’re great! Equally, organizations who are certified by that CB will probably also tell you how good they are. They want to elevate the certificate that they’ve got!

We believe that you need to ask the customers of the organisation who holds the certificate (the certified). They will tell you whether the CB and their issuing of certificates are fair or not. Why? They receive products/services from the certified organization and would be able to tell you if they receive an outcome that reflects the certified system.

Risk Assurance Service

This free, value-adding service promotes your certified status to both your key accounts as well as your insurers.

  • These annual interventions keep your brand at the forefront of those you want to impress most – your customers.
  • Our audit plans include input from both your key accounts and insurer.
  • WICS engages your top b2b customers, allowing us to plan audits that mitigate the need for duplication of second party audits.
  • WICS derives inputs from your insurer prior to an audit, allowing a risk focused audit with audit report content that speaks to an insurer’s needs. This often results in premium reductions that far exceed the cost of certification.

Tip 2: How does the CB select their Auditors?

We believe it’s massively important to establish how your Certification Body selects its Auditors.

These days one can place reliance on internal arrangements to qualify your auditors – if you so choose. This means the certification body has internal checks and balances, as a means to ensure their auditors are suitable for the job.
 

What about External Registration schemes for auditors?

Organisations like SAATCA exist to ensure that Auditor competency can be suitably measured and awarded, according to an international structure – known as IATCA. 

At Wynleigh International, we believe that you need to do a bit more than simply relying on internal processes. 

External registration schemes ensure that the auditors:
👉  maintain their competence
👉  maintain their proficiency (they are up to date and familiar with the latest versions of the standard/s)
👉  are independently evaluated, outside of the certification body

Tip 3: How does the CB assess their Auditors?

Find out how your Certification Body sets the criteria for their auditor’s competencies. Is it an independent process that they are following or is it their own in-house process; or is it both?
 

BONUS TIP:

Did you know that there is Sector Competency for Auditors?
Sector competency is something that brings value to the audit. An example of this done poorly would be to take an auditor who is established as a banker, and to ask them to audit a mining operation. They probably wouldn’t be able to add too much value to the audit or for the client. 

At Wynleigh International Certification Services, every audit team contains suitable sector-specific expertise.

Tip 4: How is impartiality assured by your CB?

Is there a process in place? Do they assure that the auditor is not consulting the company that they are going to audit? This is very important! 


Why is this important?

The number one rule in any form of auditing is “an auditor must not audit their own work.” 
There are a number of issues that arrise if a CB uses an Auditor who has previously consulted to the organisation. Your CB should ensure that there is no conflict of interest when they select the auditors for their third-party audits. Ask them what their process is and how they go about putting their audit team together.

Tip 5: A few additional considerations

A few further things to consider:
🔑 What internal system does the certification body use for their own quality management?
🔑 Does the certification body conform to ISO 17021 Part 1? 
🔑 Does the certification body employ the guidance of the mandatory documents of the International Accreditation Forum?  

Why are these questions important questions to ask?

Certification Bodies are guided by Accreditation Bodies – they provide various mandatory documents and frameworks to ensure that the CB is providing YOU with an appropriate certification service. This guidance also covers the number of hours a CB should be spending on your certification audit. 

Get some guidance from the IAF

You can access the IAF Mandatory Documentation on the IAF website (for free). This will allow you to better understand how the CB is expected to structure their audit hours, amongst a bunch of other things that are handy to know as the auditee. Access these documents here.

Ready to take the next steps?

If the Certification Journey is something that you are ready to begin, I encourage you to connect with Christina – our Certification Operations Manager. Christina will be able to answer the questions you may still have and will guide you through the process with ease.

Already Certified?

Maybe you’ve become aware of the value proposition Wynleigh International Certification Services offers but you already have certification.

The process of transferring your certification is simple and straightforward!

Chat with Christina about your organisation’s current setup, any challenges you’re facing and your future goals. After getting to know your organisation, we pick up the three-year cycle where your previous certification body left off. 

Not ready to get started?

There is no sense in rushing the process. We encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter and to connect with Tony Cunningham and with Wynleigh International on LinkedIn.

A note from the Wynleigh Team:

No matter where you are in the Certification Journey, you can get in touch directly with us via info@wynleigh.com or by calling +27 (0) 31 941 4790. You can speak directly with Christina (our Certification Operations Manager) who can answer your questions about the Certification process.

Access our Industry Directory to find service providers who prepare you for your Certification Journey.

Connect with our Newsletter or on speak to us on social media to continue this discussion even further.

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