THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS
The certification process is a series of audits and monitoring designed to verify compliance, usually to specific standards or certificates. Our aim at Bureau Veritas is to guide and support you through the certification process, helping to make it as simple and transparent as possible to achieve goals.
Certification is generally a three-year programme consisting of seven distinct steps, each validated by a deliverable from Bureau Veritas. The certification programme typically starts with an initial certification, which is followed by surveillance audits at the one- and two-year marks. Finally, at the three-year mark, there is recertification. Individual accreditation bodies will determine the precise processes and timelines.
WHAT IS THE CERTIFICATION PROGRAMME SET UP?
Bureau Veritas will select the right certification programme based on your organisation's unique needs and priorities. For example, we will select which management systems to audit and across how many sites.
WHAT IS A PRE-AUDIT?
The pre-audit stage evaluates your management system against the requirements outlined by the standard to which you seek certification. The pre-audit stage is optional. If you do decide to proceed with the pre-audit stage, Bureau Veritas will provide a detailed report of its findings.
WHAT IS A STAGE I AUDIT?
The Stage I audit is designed to evaluate an organisation’s readiness for a Stage II Audit. Bureau Veritas will conduct an initial assessment against various criteria to better understand the scope of your management system, your internal audit systems, and your organisation’s understanding of the certification standard's requirements.
WHAT DOES A STAGE II AUDIT CONSIST OF?
A Stage II audit includes a detailed report of your organisation’s management system, including identifying nonconformities and areas that could be improved. Following the Stage II audit, you will have a set amount of time to undertake corrective actions detailed in the report.
WHAT IS THE INITIAL CERTIFICATION DECISION STAGE?
The initial certification decision stage consists of an impartial review of all findings by Bureau Veritas. Once this has been undertaken, a decision will be made whether to grant certification.
WHAT ARE SURVEILLANCE AUDITS?
Surveillance audits are carried out annually, except in recertification years. The first surveillance audit after initial certification should be conducted within 12 months of the certification decision date.
WHAT IS RECERTIFICATION?
To ensure ongoing conformity, a full certification reassessment is automatically carried out usually every three years. Recertification must be carried out before the existing Certificate of Approval expires. Therefore, it is vital that the recertification reassessment is carefully scheduled to avoid lapses in certification.
WHAT IS A SPECIAL AUDIT?
Certain standards, such as IATF 16949, require a special on-site audit. These special audits are purposefully designed to assess the implementation and effectiveness of corrective measures for significant non-conformities.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CERTIFICATION IS SUSPENDED, WITHDRAWN, CANCELLED OR I NEED TO RESTORE THE CERTIFICATE PROCESS?
Bureau Veritas reserves the right to suspend, withdraw, reduce, extend, or cancel the Certificate of Approval at any time. Should this occur, the client will be informed in writing of such action. The client will be given the opportunity to address any issues, including taking corrective action, before a final decision is made. Unannounced visits may also be conducted for clients whose certification has been suspended. Certification will be restored once non-conformities have been satisfactorily addressed and the client's management system has been verified as compliant by Bureau Veritas.
WHAT IS AN AUDIT CYCLE?
The audit cycle is a vital part of the certification process and consists of four types of audits that evaluate, monitor, and revalidate your compliance. The typical certification cycle lasts three years, but there is some flexibility in scheduling the audits within this timeframe. It is important to avoid interruptions in certification or premature completion of the audit cycle. Bureau Veritas acts as your dedicated certification partner and will work with you to determine the best timeline for your organisation.