How do I get certified?

Five stages
Applying
Gap Assessment
Preliminary Assessment - Stage 1
Registration Assessment - Stage 2
Surveillance and reassessment
Change management
Impartiality

From our offices in Ireland and the USA, NSAI offers a full range of competitive, customer-focused certification services for clients across the world. All our certification services measure up to the best practices in international accreditation.

Our certification schemes include management systems, products and inspection services. They include the popular international standards for:
 
  • Quality Management (ISO 9001:2008)
  • Food Safety (ISO 22000:2005)
  • Environmental Management (ISO 14001:2004)
  • Health and Safety Management (OHSAS 18001:2007).
For businesses that use combined management systems, NSAI can provide integrated assessment and auditing.
 


 

Five stages

There are five broad stages in the certification process:
 
  • You apply for registration
  • We assess your management system
  • We carry out routine surveillance visits
  • We reassess you before the expiry of your current certificate
  • We help you to manage change.
Each of these stages is explained below.
 


 

Applying

You can make a certification application via our online quotation form. We also accept applications by phone, fax or email.

We will review all applications to ensure we have all the information necessary before we provide a quotation. If you need help in making your decision, we are happy to talk things through with you, either face to face or over the phone.

Our quotations cover a three-year period corresponding to the certification cycle and are calculated to make sure that every customer receives the certification service best suited to their needs.


Gap Assessment

Applicants can proceed at their own pace, with assessment dates arranged to suit.

If you are unsure whether you are ready to undergo assessment for registration, we can offer you a Gap Assessment, in which we:
 
  • Conduct an on-site analysis of your current system
  • Assess this against the relevant standard
  • Prepare a report highlighting the gaps between your current system and the standard.
A gap assessment is optional and is not a requirement of the certification process.
 


 

Preliminary Assessment - Stage 1 of the Registration Process

We carry out the full assessment in two stages, staring with a Preliminary Assessment (Stage 1).
 
The Preliminary Assessment involves an inspection of your documentation and a review ranging over various areas including:

  • The proposed scope of your registration
  • The status of implementation of your management system
  • The appropriate regulatory and legal requirements
  • Your management policies and objectives
  • Whether the system addresses the key areas of your business
  • Your site-specific activities – top level process review
  • Your key management elements, e.g. internal audits, reviews and complaints procedures
  • Your readiness to move onto Stage 2 of the assessment, the Registration Assessment.
The Preliminary Assessment normally takes place on-site. We recommend an interval of several weeks between the Preliminary Assessment and the Registration Assessment to allow time to resolve any issues arising from the Preliminary Assessment.

After the Preliminary Assessment is completed, we will produce a brief report evaluating your readiness to proceed to the next stage and identifying any areas that need to be improved before moving to Stage 2. 

If the Preliminary Assessment finds that your organization is not ready for full Registration Assessment, it becomes, in effect, a Gap Assessment. That means that a second Preliminary Assessment will have to be carried out.
 

 
 

Registration Assessment – Stage 2 of the Registration Process

The Registration Assessment (Stage 2) involves a full review of your management system, including relevant records and documents.
 
Its purpose is to confirm that your management system is properly controlled and has predictable outcomes.
 
Through the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) process, you will be expected to identify and implement any necessary changes to your system.
 
At the end of the Registration Assessment, NSAI issues a detailed report, together with the outcome (whether to recommend registration or not).
 
We will identify any issues found during the assessment. You in turn will be expected to submit an action plan detailing what changes are planned to be made to the management system to eliminate or reduce the risk of the same issues re-occurring.
 
If there are any major deficiencies identified, we may have to revisit the site until we are satisfied that closure has been demonstrated. 

When we receive a satisfactory response from the applicant, the file is independently reviewed by NSAI management before the certificate is issued.


Surveillance and reassessment

At least once a year, NSAI visits each registered company to ensure the management system is being maintained and is achieving its expected outcomes. During each visit, part of the management system is reviewed in depth.
 
Certificates expire every three years, with the expiry date indicated on the certificate. Before that date, we undertake a detailed reassessment, reviewing the performance of the whole management system to make sure every element is performing satisfactorily. The results of the previous visits are taken into account.
 
Any issues raised at the reassessment are handled the same way as at the end of the registration process. When we receive a satisfactory response, we renew the certificate.
 
 

Change management

During the period of registration, changes are inevitable. NSAI works with each registered organization to make sure the management system remains sound.
  
Normally, change can be reviewed and assessed during routine surveillance visits. In cases where change leads to the breakdown of the system, NSAI reserves the right to suspend or revoke certification.
 

 

Commitment to Impartiality

The principles of impartiality, objectivity and confidentiality are cornerstones of NSAI’s services.
 
NSAI’s management is committed to ensuring the impartiality, independence and objectivity of its certification services and actively manages any threat of actual or perceived conflicts of interest affecting NSAI's certification and inspection services, its management, staff and auditors (including remuneration packages) and the activities of any associated functions.  
 
NSAI’s impartiality and objectivity are monitored by a dedicated committee providing oversight of NSAI activities and, in particular, the impartiality of its certification services and ensuring objectivity in its work.
 
Any queries relating to impartiality should be addressed to the NSAI CEO (Mr. Maurice Buckley) and will be reviewed by the Chairperson of the Certification Oversight Committee.
 

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