Accredited Management System Certification Rules
In today’s fiercely competitive environment of the global market place, it has become imperative for companies over a wide range of manufacturing and service sectors to provide assurance of the quality of their products or services through an implementation of a variable ISO 9001/14001/22000/OHS 18001 management system. International standards ISO 9001, 14001, 22000 & OHS 18001 series stipulate the minimum requirements for a documented Quality/Environmental/Food Safety/Occupation Health Safety system to be established and a Certificate of Compliance to these standards has now become an international criteria of assessing a company’s credibility and capability to consistently meet quality standards to the customer satisfaction.
The purpose of this description of the AQC CANADA INC. Certification Rules is to provide relevant information regarding AQC CANADA INC. services for conducting our impartial and competent assessment of a company’s management system for issue and maintenance of an accredited certification ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 & 22000 Standard.
The accredited certification scheme operated by AQC CANADA INC. is a third party system certification scheme with an objective of giving recognition to companies who have effectively implemented and operate a verifiable documented system. It covers the following scope
- Preliminary meeting to establish scope of registration and the applicable standard.
- Periods Conduct of independent audits for certification
- Periods Issue of accredited certifications as per accredited scope sectors
- Surveillance visits for verification of conformance of quality systems to certification standard.
- The organization need to develop a system in respect to ISO 9001:2008/ ISO 14001:2004/IS 18001:2007/ ISO 22000:2005 as per the applicable management system for which they need the certification.
- Enquiry and Fee Quotation:- Upon receipt of an enquiry, the AQC CANADA INC. Questionnaire is required to be completed by the applicant company. Based upon the information provided, a detailed offer is submitted for client’s consideration and acceptance.
- Application:- Upon confirmation of acceptance of AQC CANADA INC. fee offer and the receipt of client’s application together with the application fee, the process of certification commences with scheduling of audits on mutually agreeable dates.
- Extension of Certification:- Whenever the clients applies for the extension of Scope/ addition of sites, facilities etc. the same is verified during a special visit or at the next surveillance audit and based upon the recommendations of Lead Assessor and verification of audit reports a decision is taken for issue of amended certification for scope extension.
- Documentation Review and Stage 1 Audit : For most management system, it is recommended that at least part of the stage-I audit be carried out at the client promises in order to achieve the objectives. An onsite review of the client’s optional Quality/Environmental/Occupational Health Safety/Food Safety management systems documentation is conducted to verify that the requirements of the applicable ISO standard are satisfactorily addressed. A report is issued listing any non-conformity against which corrective actions requires to be taken as per a corrective action plan to be submitted. The degree of implementation of the quality systems is also assessed to agree on a tentative stage 2 audit schedules. In particular, the records of the Internal Audit, Corrective Actions and the Management Reviews shall be verified to assess the level of Implementation of the Organization’s documented managent System, so as to ensure that the Quality management System is mature before the Stage-II assessment is scheduled to be conducted. The evaluation may be carried out during Stage-I by the Organization’s. Management and risk analysis is carried out before proceeding to the next stage of audit period
- Stage 2 Audit : Following the Stage-I audit, AQC CANADA INC. will conduct a Stage-II certification audit to assess conformity with the requirements of the applicable ISO standard. A report categorizing any non conformities or weakness in the implementation of the documented quality systems are issued.
- Corrective Actions and Follow-up : The company is required to submit a Corrective Action Plan addressing the non-conformities within a given time frame. Corrective actions against all major conformities require to be verified during a follow up visit and / or through provision of objective evidence of effective implementation, prior to confirmation of certification. Observations are also recorded relating to various elements of the documented management systems as per the certification standard which do not significantly affect the operation of the system but do nevertheless indicate a problem which may need correction.
- In the event of major non conformities being identified (Category ‘A’) in respect of the implementation of any element of the quality system or several minor non-conformities being recorded against any one element which renders the system deficient but operable, a recommendation for certification is made subject to a CAP being submitted within 2 weeks and corrective actions being verified onsite and closed out through a special visit within 8 weeks of the assessment date, before certification is granted or as decided by CEO.
- Where the audit has revealed only minor non conformities (Category ‘B’) which need to be addressed through corrective actions, the certification may be recommended subject to the CAP ( Corrective Action Plan) being submitted by the company within 2 weeks together with objective evidences of the corrective actions taken. The corrective actions plan is required to be closed out upon physical verification of the satisfactory implementation at the first subsequent audit.
- In the case of where “opportunities for improvement: (Category ‘C’) having been recorded during the certification audit, the actions, as applicable, are observed for effectiveness at the subsequent audit visit.
Issue of Certificate
Upon completion of the review of all audit documentation and corrective actions being closed out, AQC CANADA INC. will issue the Certificate of Registration to the company. VALIDITY AND RENEWAL OF CERTIFICATE : Certificates issued by AQC CANADA INC. remain valid for three years subject to the conformance of the quality management systems to the certification standards being verified and found satisfactory during periodical surveillance audits. Upon expiry, Certificate of Registration is renewed for a further term of three years after conduct of a satisfactory reassessment.
AQC CANADA INC. Certifications are issued subject to the maintenance and continual conformance of the documented Quality/ environmental/ OHSAS/ Food Safety systems to the certification standards. Surveillance audits shall be conducted at periodic interact at least once a year during the three year term of validity of the Certificate followed by a re-assessment of the quality systems for renewal of the certification prior to its expiry. The frequency of the surveillance audits has to be at least once in 12 months from the date of closing meeting of the certification audit i.e., two surveillance audits to be conducted during the three year period of validity at annual interact. In case of nine monthly surveillance audit 3 surveillance audits will be conducted and in case of six monthly surveillance audit 5 surveillance audits will be conducted. The nine monthly and six monthly surveillance audits will be conducted in case the organization demands the same during the singing of the contract.
A special visit may require to be made to the certificate company’s premises in the following circumstances
- AQC CANADA INC. has reason to believe that the documented systems are inadequately maintained with major deficiencies in operation.
- In case of any change in the management system standard due to which the certification requirements are going to be changed, client will be intimated in advance for the transition audit and audit will be scheduled after the consent of the organization. But the audit has to be done before the defined timeframe.
- Upon intimation by the certified company, of any significant change in the certified documented system. Including extension of scope visit will decide, whether the extension of scope sector can be granted or not. This may be clubed with the surveillance audit this surveillance audit program shall include at least
(A) Internal audit and management review
(B) A review of actions taken on NC identified during the previous audit.
(C) Treatment of complaint
(D) Effectiveness of the management system w.r.t. achieving the certified client objectives.
(E) Progress of planned activities aimed at continual improvement
(F) Continuing operational control
(G) Review of any changes
(H) Use of marks and or any other reference to certification
Short Notice Audit
As a result of a complaint, by any party, any adverse publicity or contravention of the conditions of certification or other information received and suspended client. The special visits will be undertaken after due notice has been given and details agreed between AQC CANADA INC. and visits will be undertaken after due notice has been given and details agreed between the certified company. Due care is take of the following.
- Information is given to the client in advance regarding the re-source of the visit with details.
- Due care is taken to select the auditor to Safeguard Lack of Reason to client for objection to the auditor.
Suspension, Withdrawal, Extension and reduction of Certification
Suspension : The grounds for suspending the certificate are as follows
- If the certified organization is not getting the Surveillance audit conducted as per the certification agreement.
- If the client is found to misuse the logo of the Certification Body or is using any kind of misleading statement which might affect the reputation of the certification body and the accreditation board.