I recently had an introductory meeting with a possible new client (they were looking to change from the Consultancy they had used). Now I don’t need to know why; but this client felt free to tell me that they had they had purchased ISO Certification through this consultancy.
Being a sceptical old git..I wasn’t convinced by this Certification, and on viewing the certificate it was clear to see that they were ISO ‘Registered’, but not one certified by a recognised Accreditation Body. As I’m based in the U.K. I would expect to see a Certificate issued from the Certification Body with the UKAS National Accreditation Symbol incorporated into the Certificate, this Certificate had no reference to UKAS, or any other Accreditation Body.
But all of this got me thinking; when wearing my Consultancy hat...my initial thoughts (apart from fees) are deciding which Certification Body would be the best fit for their Product or Service.
Now looking at this issued Certificate it got me thinking, why do I recommend or steer clients towards the Accredited Certification Bodies; why don’t I recommend they take the route this particular client took? After all, the service being provided included internal audits of their management system and to date not one of their clients had queried the issued Certificate, and taking this route is considered a more cost-effective method for very small companies.
So, is it so wrong for organisations to use the ‘Registered ISO’ route rather than the ‘Accredited Certification Route’ if it is ‘wrong’ then why?
Here's my tuppence worth; in all my years of carrying out audits for and on behalf of Certification Bodies, the companies that invest in the Certification process generally do better in terms of: -
They also tend to work with integrity by that I mean that they want to produce or provide a service that is meaningful, to produce quality products; or to protect their workers or the environment. I once interviewed an owner of a business; who stated that his company in the past weren’t too concerned about protecting the environment (it wasn’t high up the list of priorities); but since achieving the ISO Standards, there was a shift in their thinking...not overnight but a gradual improvement generated in part by the Certification, in part by legislative requirements; but mostly through having a ‘good name’ they wanted to enhance their reputation and the Certification process was a step towards achieving that ‘goal’. They didn’t want to be seen as the Company responsible for someone’s son or daughter getting injured at work or being responsible for a pollution incident or selling defective products or providing a service that customers complain about.
So, I suppose my choice is this: -
I suppose it comes down to my own personal feelings in that I don’t want them to lose out on lucrative contracts by being ‘found’ out at a later date that they’re not Certified by an accredited organisation. I also don’t want them to be paying out any more money than they need too, I’ve already said that its an expensive journey to be taken; and if a Procurement Manager decides to query the ISO Registered qualification it may lead to contract’s being halted until Accredited Certification has been completed, which may take months.
Those companies choosing the ISO Registered route, in my experience generally are doing it to save costs and (again) in my experience where I have visited clients as a Certification auditor, these clients being told by their customers that they must have Accredited Certification, where the Stage 1 review shows up some critical findings due to the management system being a ‘one size fits all’, just fill in the blank spaces with the company name type; and is generally not fit for purpose. Now let me make this clear this is not the case for all of these companies some I have visited have excellent management systems in place, but they tend to be rare.
As an experienced QHSE Consultant I take pride in offering a specialist bespoke service to implement management systems to my clients. Therefore, I will recommend only the Accredited Certification route to my clients; but will inform them of the alternative Registration process as well.
Practical ISO Ltd.
Anyone looking for information on the Certification process please feel free to email us at Info.practicalisoltd.com
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.