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10 steps to certification

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1. Identify your key drivers 
We recommend that you formally review, at a senior management level, your key drivers for implementing your management system.


2. Obtain the standard 
Purchase a copy of the standard/s. 

3. Define your strategy 
To successfully implement a management system, commitment is required from senior management on defining the strategy. Start to formally document a policy and objectives following the requirements given in standards. Ensure the requirements of the policy are measureable to be able to demonstrate continuous improvements. 

4. Planning provides resources for developing the management system 
The required resources need to be made available and realistic timelines allocated ensuring that responsibilities are shared within the organization and not just allocated to the safety, quality or environmental manager. In itself, a formal implementation project plan is not a requirement for management system certification but it is a sensible way of identifying needs and progressing implementation. 

5. Know your processes 
Certification requires you to formally describe the interaction between the processes within the management system. This can be achieved by a simple process map specific to your organization. The map should identify the key processes and also indicate the resources, controls, documentation and records for you management system. Ensure this process map is validated throughout your business to ensure no areas or interactions are missed. As the system is developed this process map should be used, reviewed and updated. 


6. Determine training needs  
Certification requires proper identification of competence requirements for employees coming within the scope of the management system. Team leaders, employees and internal auditors will all need to meet the requirements of competence, sometimes requiring external training. A range of courses, workshops and seminars are available to meet these needs. Make sure to define how you will demonstrate the effectiveness of training.

 

7. Develop management system documentation  
Certification requires controlled documentation of a policy, manual and procedures as well as certain records. Whilst certification requires documented procedures, over-detailed documents are not the goal. The required procedures should be drafted and developed in conjunction with the personnel who will be involved.

 

8. Implement your Management System  
Proper implementation of the requirements of your management system should be measured and recorded by internal audits. A management review must also be conducted to ensure the system’s continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness. The main review is a key driver to demonstrate the effective implementation of the management system. Any corrective and preventive actions should be identified, progressed and recorded.

 

9. Consider a pre-assessment audit  
A pre-assessment audit or gap analysis by your intended certification body will help you identify any gaps that exist between the requirements of the standard and your organization’s existing processes. This audit can be carried out at any stage and is independent of the certification process - it will not constitute consultancy help.

 

10. Go for certification  
Only use a nationally accredited certification body. Initial certification is a two-stage process. The stage 1 process is an on-site document and readiness review at your head office. You will be awarded an accredited certificate on successful completion of the stage 2 audit. Forward planning and early dialogue with your chosen certification body is important.