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Sunday, 14 June 2015

Top 3 comparisons for a Certification Body

What is a certification body? Here are a few ideas to make the picture clearer:

A certification body is a registrar, a keeper of official records. It is the organization which issues the certificate of conformity to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 etc.

And the only type of bona fide certification body is one that is accredited – this means that it is inspected by an overseeing accreditation body (UKAS here in the UK) every year and must adhere to the regulations in order to remain accredited; if accredited, you can also be sure that the certification body (CB) is completely impartial and independent in the certification process.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Errm, well no, that would be incorrect (and kinda awkward). But here is a list of three very apt comparisons if you need some illustration to help explain the role of a CB in the whole ‘getting certification’ picture:

1. An MOT Centre.

You take your car to the MOT centre every year where it is tested against road safety and environmental standards. If successful, you receive a certificate; if unsuccessful you receive a notification of refusal which notes the faults which must be repaired before the vehicle can be re-tested.

A certification body works in the same way – it assesses your management system against the international standard (ISO 9001, ISO 14001 etc) with an annual assessment. If successful, you receive a certificate of conformity; if unsuccessful you receive a notification of the points to be fixed before certification can occur.
In both cases, the issuing body remains neutral – it notifies issues that arise but will not help with the repairs!

2. The Driving Test Examiner.

The driving test examiner has much in common with a certification body. He assesses the driver against the highway code (as the CB assesses against a standard) and depending on the amount of faults made, will issue a driving licence (as the CB would issue a certificate of conformity) or order a re-test (as a CB would require a re-assessment). He remains the unbiased party and provides no help in improving your driving - that would be the role of the driving instructor (or the role of a consultant in our CB scenario).

3. The Man from del Monte

My final illustration is that guy with the oranges and the panama hat. He doesn’t need much explanation – he flies in to say ‘yes’ (or no) to the quality of the fruit.
We don’t use a helicopter for getting to audits but we are similarly unbiased and impartial. 
Suffice it to say that one of our auditors has compared himself to the television legend on more than one occasion (you know who you are!).



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