Application Screening Process
Below is an overview of the accreditation application screening process.
- Request for application. The applicant contacts Certac indicating for which Standard/Scheme it wishes to apply. Certac will email the registration form including information on the fees and payment details.
- Submission application form, documents and payment. The applicant fills up all details of the registration form, prepares all supporting documents and makes the required payment. Both the payment transaction log/conformation and the completed registration form and documents shall be submitted to Certac.
- Application review and document submission. Once payment has been received, Certac will review the application form and documents submitted and will report back to the applicant if any documents are missing.
- Offsite desk audit. Certac will conduct a desk audit of all documents submitted by the applicant. A report will be submitted to the applicant with any potential non-conformities. The applicant will need to submit a CAR – Corrective Action Report to resolve any potential non-conformities.
- Onsite office audit. Once the offsite desk audit has been completed successfully, an onsite audit will be scheduled. The onsite audit will be an in-depth review of all documents, review of audit evidence of process execution as well as interview with staff. A report will be submitted indicating any potential non-conformities. The applicant will need to submit a CAR – Corrective Action Report to resolve any potential non-conformities.
- Witness audit. Witness audits are scheduled pending satisfactory results of the document review and initial office audit. The purpose of the witness audit is to assess the degree and effectiveness of the implementation of the applicant certification body’s system, and to determine the certification body auditors’ competence. Certac auditor(s) will observe the applicant’s auditor conducting an audit at an organization against the Standard under scope to ensure it is following its own certification procedures and the ISO guidelines for auditors and to ensure that the procedures are effective. The witnessed audits must be initial certification audits, therefore, it is necessary for the applicant to have a client willing to go through the process of certification with the intention of becoming certified once the accreditation process has been completed. Surveillance and re-certification audits are not acceptable for witness audits. As with any assessment, the witness audit may result in the issuance of non-conformities. Such non-conformities must be addressed prior to moving forward in the accreditation process.
- Final report and audit team recommendations. Once the office and witness audits have been completed, a final report and the audit team’s recommendations on accreditation will be drafted. The recommendations will be reviewed by the ARP – Accreditation Review Panel of Certac. The ARP has 30 days to recommend granting or refusal of accreditation. At that time, the CEO will make the final decision on granting accreditation.
As this process is very detailed and thorough, and contains many steps depending on the readiness of the individual applicant CB - Certification Body to ensure quality audits, there is no set timeline. This process could take anywhere from 3 months to more than a year.
- Maintenance of accreditation. When an organization becomes accredited, its accreditation is valid for a period of three years. During this time, Certac will need to carry out periodic surveillance office and witness audits of the accredited certification body, at a minimum of once every other year, to verify that the Certification Body continues to conform with the accreditation criteria. The number of surveillance audits is determined by the number of certifications granted by the Certification Body and the scope of accreditation granted to the Certification Body by Certac.
- Re-accreditation. At the end of the three year cycle, the Certification Body must undergo a re-accreditation audit, including the steps listed above.