Steps to ISO Certification

Steps to ISO Certification

This article will outline the steps an organization needs to follow to acquire ISO certification. These types of audits are usually conducted by external, independent auditing organizations and the guidelines are offered in ISO 17021:2011 Standard.

  • Step one: Inquiry- After setting a system in place; Quality Management System, Environmental Management System (EMS), Information Security Management System (ISMS), etc, you start engaging the certification body that you would want to them to certify you.
  • Step 2: Certification contract – this is signed by both the applying organization and the certification body. It is to define services, activities, and products to be covered during the certification.
  • Step 3: Initial certification: This step involves two types of audit  
  1. Stage one audit- where the organization surrenders its documentation to the certification body for assessment. Normally, the certifying body is looking at establishing if your documentation is done according to the requirement of the standard which you are applying for, establish your scope, and the physical location of your premises.
  2. Stage 2 Audit– this is performed to check on the implementation of the system you are applying for and to also check on its effectiveness. At this audit, all conformity to the requirements of the standard you are applying for is checked. The legal requirements are also audited.
  • Step 4:  Corrective action 

If there were any non-conformities raised during the second stage audit, they need to be corrected and the report sent to the certification body to ascertain how effective the methods stated are. In the event that the organization being audited has major non-conformities, the certification body can not recommend for certification.  

  • Step 5: Certification

The award of the certification applied for. This means your organization has put in place a system that conforms to the management system that you applied for. For most certification organizations, the certificate is usually valid for 3 years.

  • Step 6: surveillance 

Depending on the certification body, this is done once or twice in a year to check on the conformance to the certification. 

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