A Certification Body (CB) is the organisation that provides certification services when it comes time to experience the external audit and receive that hard-earned certificate you so deserve. You don’t expect to change your Certification Body (CB) over the years, so taking the time to select a good one is worth the effort. Like most services, Certification Bodies are not all equal, with the following selection criteria offered for your consideration.
Quality and Reputation
Customers care about who issued your certification, so it is important to consider the external auditor’s reputation and quality track record. Reputable CBs will usually have accreditation. Whilst accreditation is not compulsory, and non-accreditation does not necessarily mean the CB is not reputable, it does provide independent confirmation of competence to you and your customers. If you really want to be diligent, you can ask the CB how well they performed in their last audit!
If your organization plans to become certified to additional management systems standards, such as ISO 14001, or industry standards, ensure that the CB carries these certifications and that the auditors are qualified to audit to multiple standards. This will allow you to conduct an integrated management systems audit with the help of a single auditor. Always request a copy of the auditor’s CV to ensure they are suited to your industry.
Ask for customer feedback about the quality of the CBs audit and the value added to the organization. Alternately, evaluate several certification bodies.
Consider the overall audit cost. Ask for the cost breakdown to understand the typical estimated cost for an audit cycle (typically three years). This should include details such as the timing of fees, audit fee, number of days, annual maintenance or registration fees, audit and contract cancellation fees, and auditor travel expenses.
CBs have their own methods for calculating the number of days on site, according to International Accreditation Forum guidelines. If the same information has been provided to all CBs, the number of days calculated should be similar.
What happens if your certification body doesn’t do a good enough job? Provided you have chosen an accredited certification body, you are able to escalate the complaint to the accrediting body, usually JAS-ANZ in Australia.
You will first need to raise your complaint with the Certification Body themselves, and give them an opportunity to address your concerns directly with them. If however, you’re unhappy with the way in which your complaint is dealt with, you can complain to JAS-ANZ.