Certification Process

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Third-party certification distinguishes products and services from their competitors and gives customers confidence about their performance.  Certification is independent confirmation by an expert third party that a product, system or service meets, and continues to meet, appropriate standards.

Certification gives you confidence that products and services will perform as expected - through a combination of regular company audits and a schedule of ongoing auditing. 

It benefits both suppliers and purchasers:

  • Suppliers can demonstrate to customers that their products and services meet the appropriate standards. This can enable companies to access and sell into new markets
  • Purchasers can trust that third-party certified products and services meet set standards and therefore avoid costly mistakes and reduce risk

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Certification Process Summary

1. Certification Audit - Stage 1

During Stage 1 of the certification audit, a document review of the client's management system will be conducted by the audit team, in collaboration with a representative(s) of the client organisation.  The intention of this review is to ensure that the management system fulfils the requirements of the applicable standard.  The results of the review will be used in the creation of an audit program for Stage 2 of the certification process.  If possible, the audit team will also carry out an inspection of the premises and equipment.  All nonconformities against the standards will be documented and included in a written report to the client.

2. Certification Audit - Stage 2

During Stage 2 of the certification audit, the auditors will verify that the management system has been fully implemented.  The audit team monitors the activities on-site, interviews employees and conducts further document reviews.  All key personnel need to be available for interviews.  The audit team documents any nonconformity against the standard and issues these in writing together with a report to the client.

3. Correction of nonconformities (Stage 1 and 2)

After the audit, the client has 12 weeks in which to rectify any irregularities.  When this has been done, evidence of correction(s) provided and accepted (e.g. new procedures, minutes or authentications), a certificate can be issued.  A certificate cannot be issued until all nonconformities have been rectified and, where necessary, a post-audit is conducted (if written evidence is not enough).

4. Granting of certificate

When any nonconformities have been rectified to the audit team's satisfaction, a certificate is prepared.  All nonconformities and evidence of how they have been corrected are then handed over to an auditor at AA Certification who has not taken part in the audit, for a second assessment and evaluation.  When all documentation has been approved by the second auditor, a certificate can be granted.  The certificate will describe the scope of activities covered by the certification, together with any current exceptions.

5. Certificate maintenance

The certificate is valid for three years, conditional upon follow-up audits being conducted and any nonconformities identified during such audits rectified.  A reassessment will be carried out well before the end of the three-year period (six months).


Click here for the ISO Management Systems Application Form