Yes, and they can be convincing! That is why it’s really important you know how to check whether it is legit or not.
International standards and ISO certification are known throughout the world and unfortunately, fraudulent and misleading activity is common – mainly because organisations see the value of it and think because of its International reach, they can get away with it.
Counterfeit products, awards, and certifications are nothing new, but with the increased use of digital software and apps, it has made the editing and design of documentation accessible to all. It also means the level of sophistication has increased, so they are not as easy to spot. Internet trading has introduced additional opportunities for counterfeiters to push products and services, so you need to be careful where you are procuring from.
Fake certification and fake accreditation
Be aware of the following:
- An organisation can create a completely fake ISO certificate. Taken on face value and not verified, this might land them a new project even though they have not met the certification prerequisites. If it does turn out to be a fake and they are your supplier, it could be your reputation that is damaged.
- There are issues in some countries where an ISO certificate is ‘purchased’.
- There have been cases where an organisation has presented themselves as an ISO certification body, but they are not, and then issued bogus certificates unbeknown to its clients achieving the certification. They might use the ISO logo, or another accreditation body, which are registered trademarks, but they would not be authorised to do so.
- There have also been instances where a legitimate certificate has been taken, the company details digitally removed and replaced with other companies or the dates changed to make it look like they still have certification when they don’t.
Non-Accredited certification bodies/Non-IAF Accredited certification bodies
It is important to highlight that IAF / UKAS accreditation for ISO certification bodies is not compulsory, and non-accreditation does not necessarily mean that the certification body is not reputable, it just means they are not governed by the IAF or UKAS. There are many non-accredited ISO certification bodies which are set up by various organisations. They do not necessarily follow the same rules and 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.
Putting an end to fakes
In early 2020, The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) officially launched the world’s global database for accredited management systems certifications, providing businesses and governments the ability to digitally validate an organisations certifications to determine if a certificate is valid and the Certification Body issuing the certificate is accredited to issue certifications to that standard. You can search www.iafcertsearch.org which holds the details of over 4000 certification bodies and 68 IAF MLA signatory accreditation bodies globally. This is a great tool for verification of a Certification Body being accredited under the IAF multilateral agreement but not necessarily individual ISO certification as its not mandatory. Auva do upload information in the interest of transparency.
Similarly, The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is launching a new website for you to verify certificates. This database will provide a free to use resource for anybody to validate a claim of UKAS accredited certification. The use of the system is mandatory and a contractual requirement for all UKAS accredited organisations. It works by allowing users to verify that a claim of holding UKAS accredited certification is valid. This is done by searching for the certificate number or registered trading name of the certified organisation. This will result in the details of the certification held being displayed; including the scope of certification, date issued, locations covered and the awarding Certification Body. It is proposed to be launching in mid-May 2022: https://certcheck.ukas.com/
Work with a UKAS accredited certification body like Auva Certification
Since 2019, Auva Certification has been assessed to ISO 17021-1:2015 by UKAS and proven to meet strict requirements for providing audit and certification of management systems, and to deliver certification of management systems.
Auva’s team of certification experts and highly trained auditors provide local and international businesses of all sectors and sizes, third party certification audits to ISO 9001: Quality Management Systems, ISO 14001: Environmental Management Systems, and ISO 45001:Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems.
To gain accreditation, UKAS conducted a series of independent audits at our head office and on client sites to ensure Auva’s processes, procedures, competence and performance met the highest levels of international quality and service. UKAS is recognised globally by governments, is a member of the International Accreditation Forum and is a signatory of the multi-lateral agreement.
For complete transparency for our clients, we have a Certificate Status Validator on our website which can verify and validate Auva certificates. Many certification bodies make this a difficult task and can often take days to respond! We are not like other CBs and make it as easy as possible, so you can get instant results.
If you have any questions regarding this subject, please get in touch.