There are hundreds of Organisations out there who can Certify ISO 9001 but not all certificates are the same.  You are not necessarily getting like for like so be careful what you are paying for.

In some cases, you can go and get the cheapest or the quickest certificate only to find out that it is not suitable for your purposes.  Maybe your customers have asked you to have ISO 9001 in place before they place orders with you, so you go and see which organisation can do this the quickest and cheapest.  You present your new certificate to your customer and they tell you that’s the wrong kind of certificate.  You then have to go through the process again with someone else.

We will highlight some of the key considerations for you, we do not want you to get your fingers burnt!

IAF Accredited Vs Nonaccredited or Non-IAF Accredited

You have to be fairly careful how you word this and it can get confusing.

IAF Accredited Bodies

Most people are familiar with UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) but there are many other bodies who are the equivalent to them such as ANAB in the USA.  UKAS and ANAB have signed up to a multilateral agreement with the IAF who are kind of like the overseeing body who regulates the Accreditation Bodies.  Although that is not really what they do its an easier term to use.  Accreditation bodies globally sign up to the IAF and become a member and a signatory.  All of these bodies are then signing up to the same rules and requirements and agree to accept each others approvals, they are generally working to the same standards.

Non-Accredited Bodies/Non-IAF Accredited

These bodies are set up by various organisations and do not necessarily follow the same rules, they can come up with different requirements or they could generate their own.  It’s hard to say what rules they follow as it is generally not published.  They have not signed up to the IAF requirements and therefore would be considered different to the accreditation performed by UKAS or the equivalent.  These bodies would still have a list of member Certification Bodies.

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IAF Accredited Certification Body

These Certification Bodies are generally classed as Accredited Certification Bodies but technically the terminology would be IAF Signatory Accredited Certification Bodies.  These Certification Bodies would be accredited by the likes of UKAS or any other signatory of the Multilateral agreement.  Auva is one of those Certification Bodies who can certify you to ISO 9001 and we work very hard to maintain our accreditation.

The rules are very strict and UKAS assess our processes very often and rigorously which is something you want from the industry regulators.  We follow many ISO standards ourselves, the main one being ISO 17021 but there are many more depending on the standards they are providing certification for.  ISO 17021 is the foundational one that general certification standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 will fall under.  There are many others.  UKAS will assess the business to these standards.

You can see a list of Accredited Certification Bodies on the websites of the accreditation bodies such as on the UKAS website.

The certificates issued by these Certification Bodies will bear the accreditation mark such as UKAS.

Certification Bodies

Other certification bodies who are not accredited by one of the IAF multilateral signatories would just be deemed a Certification Body.  They may have accreditation by another accreditation body but that body may not be part of the IAF Multilateral agreement.  Sometimes the bodies themselves do not have any accreditation.

The rules that these certification bodies follow is not clear, some may implement the requirements of ISO 17021 and others may not.  They may have an audit from their own accreditation body or they may not.  

ISO 9001 Certification

When you are seeking certification to standards such as ISO 9001 think about what type of certificate you require before progressing to sign up, think carefully about who can certify your business for ISO 9001.  

Just because someone has a UKAS Accredited Certification Body Certificate does not mean they are better than someone who receives another certificate, but there may be a difference to what each of the bodies goes through to obtain it.

When you receive certificates from suppliers you might want to verify if they are accredited and who has accredited the body providing the certificate.

You can verify any certificates if you are not clear with any of the bodies.  Auva provides a free and open service to verify any of our certificates.

As always, if you have any questions drop us a message.