What is the Initial Certification Process? How Long Does it Take?

The initial certification audit of a management system is conducted in 2 stages:

Stage 1

The objectives of stage 1 are to:

a) review the client’s management system documented information;

b) evaluate the client’s site-specific conditions and undertake discussions with the client’s personnel to determine the preparedness for stage 2;

c) review the client’s status and understanding regarding requirements of the standard, with respect to the identification of key performance or significant aspects, processes, objectives and operation of the management system;

d) obtain necessary information regarding the scope of the management system, including: the client’s site(s); processes and equipment used; levels of controls established; applicable statutory and regulatory requirements;

e) review the allocation of resources for stage 2 and agree the details of stage 2 with the client;

f) provide a focus for planning stage 2 by gaining sufficient understanding of the client’s management system and site operations in the context of the management system standard or other normative document;

g) evaluate if the internal audits and management reviews are being planned and performed, and that the level of implementation of the management system substantiates that the client is ready for stage 2.

Stage 2

The purpose of stage 2 is to evaluate the implementation, including effectiveness, of the client’s management system and takes place at the site of the client(s).

The objectives of stage 2 are to audit the following:

a) information and evidence about conformity to all requirements of the applicable management system standard or other normative documents;

b) performance monitoring, measuring, reporting and reviewing against key performance objectives and targets (consistent with the expectations in the applicable management system standard or other normative document);

c) the client’s management system ability and its performance regarding meeting of applicable statutory, regulatory and contractual requirements;

d) operational control of the client’s processes;

e) internal auditing and management review;

f) management responsibility for the client’s policies.

How long does the certification process take?

Stage 1 and Stage 2 audits are typically scheduled 30 days apart.

If non-conformances are identified during the stage 2 audit, the period for closure of the non-conformances is between 30 and 60 days.

A certificate of registration is not issued until the stage 1 and stage 2 audits are completed, any/all non-conformances have been closed, and the certification body has completed a review of the audit process.