Article: Tips on choosing an ISO 9001 Certification Body

Monday 6th August 2018
Tips on choosing an ISO 9001 Certification Body

Tips on choosing an ISO 9001 Certification Body

We hope you find this handy guide helpful as you navigate the choices of which Certification Body will come and do your ISO 9001 audits, and ultimately award your certificate. 

What is an ISO 9001 Certification body? 

An ISO 9001 Certification Body (CB) is an accredited organisation who is licensed to audit ISO 9001 systems and award certificates if the system meets the ISO 9001 standard. 

Who gives the CB’s authority to issue Certificates? 

CBs are usually independent businesses, who specialise in processes to audit and approve Standards. They are audited themselves to ensure they meet appropriate standards of audit competence and training, governance and customer service. In the UK, they are generally audited by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) against standards that ensure competency in their chosen sectors, and an ability to maintain impartiality and independence. 
There are some CBs that operate without UKAS approval and as such, they can still issue certificates but be careful, as some sectors do not recognise these certificates. This may be in part due to some unaccredited CBs providing consultation as well as certification, so in essence, marking their own homework. 

How do choose? 

The choice of CB will depend on many factors, including brand, responsiveness and price. Certification bodies charge on a day rate basis, and although they work from a common standard to determine the duration of your audit, you will find differences between them. Some may charge an annual administration fee on top of the audit price, and some may charge separately for travel expenses. 

The duration they quote will be based on the number of sites, staff, and the type and complexity of your operations. They will ask all these questions in an application form. We also recommend getting three quotes so you can compare. If you are still undecided, get them to come and see you or have a call to talk through the process. 

Find a Certification Body. 

You could visit the UKAS website and search the Directory of accredited organisations. When we support our Clients with implementation of ISO 9001, then we will source quotes from reputable Certification Bodies. We are associate consultants to BSI, NQA, Approachable Certification, and LR

If I don’t like the CB, can I change? 

You can transfer, but only if you have no outstanding non-conformances from an audit. It’s highly unusual to transfer once the certification process is underway. 

Can I complain if I get poor service? 

Yes. The standards against which Certification Bodies operate requires they have processes to manage complaints. If you don’t feel you have been treated fairly, you can escalate your complaint to the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS), which is licensed by the UK government.  

Would you recommend anyone? 

Independently, we recommend you get quotes from 4 Certification Bodies to compare;  
•    Approachable Certification
•    BSI
•    LR
•    NQA
For more details, go to the UKAS website for details of their separate capabilities and standards they cover. 


 


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