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Frequently Asked ISO Questions

Do you have any more questions?  We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions relating to certification.

  • How long does it take and how much will it cost ?
  • How much will my assessment cost ?
  • Can you help us choose the right assessment body ?
  • Can you offer assistance after we are accredited ?

 

How Long Will My Assessment Take ?

Or, perhaps, “How long is a piece of string ?”  Seriously though, the time taken and the cost to achieve certification will vary depending upon the following:

The standard(s) you are hoping to achieve certification for, as they all vary with the amount of work involved. For example, ISO 9001 is all about your working processes so it is predominantly looking at what you’re doing to manage your customers.  It is thought that most organisations are already 50% of the way to certification before even starting to work for ISO 9001, so the process is often a case of getting that information into an approved format.

If you are choosing to do ISO 14001, the work will include an environmental review to determine which of your processes you have the potential to improve.

Similarly if you choose OHSAS 18001, there you need to comply with legislation, such as completing sufficient risk assessments, in order to gain certification.

The complexity of your organisation including how you provide your service and/or manufacture your product.

Geographical locations e.g. do you operate out of one site or ten ?  The system should be adopted at all your sites. The assessment body you choose.  Their availability will be a significant concern in the certification process, with some which will be available in two months, others in four months.  Similarly for most management standards, many assessment bodies adopt a two stage certification approach: Stage 1 will include completing a gap analysis of the system to establish your readiness, with Stage 2 (or the final assessment) then encompassing a full audit of the management system (the pass or fail scenario).

The number of employees involved in the organisation.  This is because, generally, more people mean more processes, and these all have to be considered in the certification scope.  This will also affect your assessment duration: more people will require more days from the assessment body.

 

Certification

Certification is the process of auditing an organisation's operations and issuing a certificate to signify compliance with the requirements of a particular standard such as ISO 9001:2008 or ISO 14001:2004. The benefits of certification are obvious - confirming to customers and prospective customers that you have effective management systems in place and as a consequence improving your standing in the marketplace.  Luther Veritas is not an assessment body.  We believe that it is important to separate the design and implementation of a system from its auditing.

 

Luther Veritas only recommends SAC & UKAS accredited assessments bodies

 We only recommend the use of Singapore Accreditation Council (http://www.sac-accreditation.gov.sg) & United Kingdom Accreditation Service - UKAS accredited assessment bodies.

SAC -Formed in 1996, the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) is the national authority for the independent accreditation of conformity assessment bodies in Singapore. Operating under SPRING Singapore, a statutory board of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, SAC also builds trust in Singapore products and services by strengthening Singapore’s technical infrastructure for conformity assessments and forging mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) with our economic partners. SAC’s primary function is to accredit conformity assessment services, such as testing, calibration, inspection and certification.

UKAS is the only accreditation service recognised by the UK government.  Each accredited assessment body has to meet its own stringent standards to be able to issue accredited certification.

There are a number of non-accredited assessments bodies (some of whom set up their own accreditation bodies to accredit themselves!) who issue certificates.  Many of these will offer to implement and certificate standards within a very short period and at a very low cost.  We do not believe that such services add any value to your business and ultimately may not be acceptable to your customers.

 

Assessment body selection

Luther Veritas helps all its clients to find the most appropriate assessment body for their circumstances.  We will obtain quotes and negotiate on your behalf and will liaise with the assessment body to ensure that the audit and certification process is as smooth and painless as possible.

 

How Much Will My Assessment Cost?

This cost will vary depending upon the assessment body you select. There are a large number of these bodies in the UK, with some better known than others.  Some are more cost effective, though often the more expensive options may be popular in specific industries or sectors.

There is no right or wrong assessment body, though at Luther Veritas we only use and recommend SAC – Singapore Accredited assessment bodies & UKAS accredited assessment bodies.

 

Can You Help Us Choose the Right Assessment Body?

 Yes we can.  We have built up close business relationships with many, all of whom are UKAS accredited and our recommendation will depend on their costs and their experience in your industry.

Can You Offer Assistance After We Have Gained Certification?

Yes we can.  We class this as a service contract, and it will encompass the complete annual ongoing management of the system as it develops.

We will plan and schedule the audits accordingly, and these will then be completed by one of our auditors at the required time.  Any non-conformity found will be raised and rectified as necessary, ready for your annual surveillance visit from the assessment body, which we will also attend.