The CQI policy on accredited certification
The CQI position – accredited certification*
An effective international system for accredited certification combined with internationally accepted standards is a vital mechanism to facilitate global trade by reducing technical trade barriers and reducing second party audit costs.
This system can only work if the purchasing organisation has confidence that the certificate offered by the supplier, wherever they may be in the world, is reliable. This global accredited certification system relies on a strong and effective International Accreditation Forum (IAF) with the authority to ensure standardised practices by all national accreditation bodies (NABs).
Note: * Reference to accredited certification refers to certification undertaken by certification bodies that are accredited by members of the IAF unless otherwise specified.
The CQI believes that:
- Purchasing organisations' confidence in accredited certification is falling due to:
- Significant divergence in the approaches taken by national accreditation bodies to the interpretation of the standards used in accrediting certification bodies around the world and the perceived ineffectiveness of the IAF in addressing this issue
- National accreditation bodies failing to identify and stamp out unethical and incompetent certification body activities
- The commoditisation of certification, leading to low prices and consequently inadequate audit
- The existence of unaccredited certification bodies and those accredited by accreditation bodies that are not members of IAF
- Confusion as to the role, benefits and limitations of accredited certification
- Certification bodies are facing a difficult market where they are required to compete increasingly on cost.
- Certified organisations are selecting certification bodies on the basis of cost alone, resulting in devalued certification from the point of view of the purchaser.
- Currently the IAF remains the only regulator of NABs and therefore the CQI supports the use of NABs that are IAF members
The CQI acknowledges that:
- Because of the falling confidence in accredited certification governments around the world are taking local approaches to address this problem.
The CQI advocates that
The World Trade Organisation
- Reviews the issues associated with the independent regulation of NABs and if appropriate takes action to implement independent regulation.
- Supports and promotes the role of UKAS as the national accreditation body (NAB) and encourages the sole use of certification bodies that have UKAS or IAF member accreditation.
- Brings pressure to bear on the World Trade Organisation to consider the case for independent regulation of NABs.
The International Accreditation Forum:
- Puts in place rigorous and effective policies, procedures and employ competent personnel to ensure that National Accreditation Bodies provide a uniform and consistent approach to accreditation in all countries around the world.
National Accreditation Bodies:
- Ensure that their practices and procedures and the competency of their personnel are, as a minimum, equal to those of the certification bodies they accredit.
- Only seek accreditation from their government backed national accreditation body (e.g. UKAS) and promote the value of government backed accreditation.
Certification bodies that practice but are not accredited by their National Accreditation Bodies:
- Seek accreditation from a government backed national accreditation body for schemes where accreditation is available
- Take responsibility for quality and take time to understand the difference between certification by certification bodies that are accredited by IAF members and those that are not and understand what certification can (and cannot) offer
- Where certification to a management system is a contractual requirement always specify that it is undertaken by a certification body accredited by UKAS or a member of the IAF.
- Where they believe that a suppliers' performance indicates they are not meeting the requirements of the management system standard in question bring this to the attention of the certification body and NAB responsible
Management professionals, quality professionals and quality management consultants:
- When supporting or advising colleagues or clients, encourage them to adopt the policies set out in this document.
Will work with government, the IAF, ISO, NABs, top management, procurement professionals, management professionals, quality professionals and quality management consultants to:
- Periodically review and update this policy
- Encourage the effective implementation of this policy
- Periodically report on the implementation of this policy to all stakeholders
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