When you are going through your certification cycle, there are 5 steps that you need to be aware of.
The Stage 1 Audit objectives are to review your management system documented information, evaluate site-specific conditions, and through discussions with your personnel, determine preparedness for stage 2.
Stage 1 provides a focus for planning stage 2 and that the level of implementation of the management system substantiates progress to Stage 2.
The Stage 2 Audit objectives are to determine the extent of conformity of your management system with the relevant standards’ requirements, as well as evaluating its effectiveness in meeting its specified objectives and the identification of areas of potential improvement.
A detailed report will present findings for or against recommendation for certification against the applicable standard(s).
At Stage 2, if there is a high level of conformity the auditor will likely recommend certification. The auditor does not award the certificate, but instead makes a recommendation, which is verified by a decision maker who reviews that the process has validity with all scope elements and requirements addressed in the audit report. Certificates are authorised for release by the Certification Secretary, and they are issued with registration and expiry dates covering 3 years, with the certificate’s validity subject to having planned and periodic audits to maintain this status. Details of the Certification are registered on both the UKAS Certcheck and the Global IAF CertSearch Databases in order that your individual certification profiles can be validated by businesses and governments domestically and internationally.
The Surveillance Audit objectives are to determine the conformity of your management system is being maintained. Surveillance Audits differ from Initial and Recertification Audits in that not all requirements or activities need to be included in the audit. The lead auditor can plan the audit cycle to take a deeper dive into some areas of the standard or scope of the organisation in order to add more value in that area, particularly if it’s of higher risk. However, at the next surveillance visit this process or activity may be omitted to provide an opportunity to look at a different aspect of the certification.
The Recertification Audit is the start of your next certification cycle, and it will evaluate the continued fulfilment of all requirements of the management system standard, including a review of the effectiveness of the management system in its entirety in the light of internal and external changes and its continued relevance and applicability to the scope of certification. On completion of a successful audit and review, the certificate will be re-issued for a further three years, and the surveillance programme will begin again.