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The transition to ISO 9001:2015 is now in its final year.

When ISO 9001:2015 was introduced in September 2015, organisations were given 3 years to update to the new version.

As the three-year transition for ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 moves into its final year, IAF (the International Accreditation Forum) has passed a resolution that as of 15th March 2018, Certification Bodies must conduct all ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 initial surveillance and recertification audits to the new versions - ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015.

ISO_9001_Review_transition_period_running_outWhat does this mean?
Any audits you have booked between March and September 2018 will need to be to the revised standards, as failure to achieve certification to the 2015 standards by the expiry deadline in September 2018 will result in your certification no longer being valid. This may affect your ability to supply to all your markets.

Time is running out, if you rely on ISO 9001 certification to maintain your supplier status with your key customers and you have not yet made the transition to the 2015 standard.

If you leave it too late you run the risk that your auditors will not be able to fit you into their increased workload.

UKAS accredited ISO 9001 certification
Not all Certification Bodies (CBs) are UKAS accredited. This means that the CB issuing your certificate has not been audited and accredited by UKAS.

This could have implications for future contracts and orders with your customers. For example, one of your customers may have won a new contract to supply a major project that requires them and their suppliers to hold UKAS approved ISO certificates. Not having a UKAS certificate could mean losing the contract or having to modify your existing procedures to comply with an audit to UKAS standards.

Many multi-national organisations and central and local government departments will require their suppliers throughout the supply chain to gain UKAS certification.

If you are thinking about the transition to ISO 9001:2015 and your current CB is not UKAS accredited, now may be a good time to move to one that is.

To find out if your certificate has been issued by a UKAS accredited CB, look for the crown and the tick.

UKAS is the sole UK national accreditation body recognised by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) to assess against internationally agreed standards.

For more information or to get your transition started, please talk to one of our team on 0121 241 2299.

Gaining certification to any of the recognised standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001 amongst others, requires time and resources. You will want to make sure that the Certification Body (CB) issuing your certificate is suitably qualified to provide the best service for your business.

Achieving certification will benefit your entire organisation and, if done properly, can improve the prospects and profitability of your company. It is therefore, important to check that your certification body is experienced and has been through regular audits themselves, like the audits you must go through.

UKASUKAS – United Kingdom Accreditation Service
If you do not see the UKAS tick and crown logo on your certificate, this means your Certification Body (CB) has not been Accredited by UKAS for the scope of your Certification.

UKAS is the sole UK national accreditation body recognised by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) to assess, against internationally agreed standards.

There is no legal requirement for a Certification Body to be UKAS accredited and some CBs choose to provide consultancy and certification under the same roof to streamline the process. However, UKAS and the IAF do not permit this and require UKAS accredited CBs to refrain from providing any consultancy services, to ensure that the value of Certification is kept as an impartial third-party process.

Checking that you are working with a UKAS accredited CB will ensure that your hard-earned resources are not wasted on certification that may not be recognised by your customers.

Why UKAS accreditation?
Not all certification is UKAS accredited. This means that the Certification Body issuing the certificate has not been audited and accredited by UKAS.

In the same way that you are regularly audited, UKAS is the auditor for UKAS accredited CBs who issue certificates.

By choosing a CB that has been UKAS accredited, you can be confident they are operating to recognised standards and are regularly audited to maintain compliance.

UKAS reviews the CBs management, policies and procedures for the standards they are audited on. They will only be audited on standards where they have proven industry knowledge. Any new industry standards they want to include in their portfolio have to go through the auditing process.

Benefits of UKAS accreditation
One of the many reasons for going through the process of certification is supplier demand. Many multi-national organisations and central and local government will require their suppliers to gain certification to maintain the quality of products and services throughout their supply chain.

For individual companies in the supply chain, this means establishing management systems and frameworks to meet the relevant standard, then continuously monitoring and improving processes to maintain certification.

The benefits to your business of achieving certification from a UKAS accredited CB include:

  • Quality of audit is based on recognised standards.
  • Audit will be impartial.
  • Auditor will have knowledge of your industry.
  • Management systems will be established using best practise within your industry.
  • Increased efficiency and cost savings.
  • Access to new markets at home and abroad because UKAS accredited certificates are recognised worldwide.
Contact us to find out more about ISO certification.
Revision of these two key management system standards took place in 2015 and organisations will have to transfer to the updated standards by September 2018.

ISO_9001_and_14001_standards_1Existing ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 registered companies should now be well into their planning to ensure a smooth transition to the revised standards by this date.

One of the benefits of the revision is to provide a common structure, text and definitions to make integration of multiple standards smoother and quicker to achieve. In the revised standard, Annex XL provides a framework to help achieve this.

Revision benefits
 
1. Integration
For organisations with both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards, taking this integrated approach will save time by streamlining the process of certification and removing duplication.
 
2. Risk management
One of the main areas of change is an increased focus on risk management and the establishment of an effective risk management plan. Risk is documented in most sections of the revised standards, so if you do not already have a risk management plan, this should be one of your first tasks. Typical risk processes include:
  • Risk determination,
  • Risk control,
  • Risk mitigation,
  • Acceptable level of risk.
By taking a risk based approach the intention is to prevent or reduce undesired effects, achieve continual improvement and provide action plans to address these risks and opportunities.
 
3. Management processes
Along with the new high level structure/format, the new standards require a higher priority be given to managing processes and less about documentation.
 
4. Leadership
Emphasis on the importance of leadership from top management will ensure that the organisation’s quality management system achieves the desired results.

Meeting the demands of today’s businesses
The new 2015 revisions reflect the vast changes in technology that have taken place during the last few years. They also aim to improve the speed and flexibility needed in a modern businesses management system to enable companies to compete in the global economy.

If you have any questions about how to plan your transition, call ACS Registrars to find out more.
International trade agreements are currently in the spotlight, following the US presidential election and Brexit. These agreements regulate trade between countries and establish import quotas and tariffs. By setting up free trade agreements between countries, trade barriers are reduced, which helps to increase the movement of goods and services.

Freight_forwarders_insuranceWorking hand in hand with trade agreements are international standards for health, safety and quality of goods and services, which help to facilitate international trade. By establishing standards between trading countries, products can move easily between borders because the same specifications have been adopted and accreditations achieved.

From what we understand, Donald Trump is going to have a different attitude towards international trade and globalisation. A move away from free trade to a protectionism strategy could follow. Brexit will change our relationship with the EU and we will have to negotiate new trade deals with European and global markets. So how is this likely to affect the way businesses keep up with international standards and accreditation?

Currently, EU regulations allow for one accreditation service provider per EU country. However, the United States currently has 4 organisations listed, with a 5th waiting to be admitted. Could Britain adopt the same policy?

International standards
ISO, the international organisation for standardisation, works closely with the World Trade Organisation to promote the use of international standards and increase free and fair global trading.
ISO is a network of National Standards Bodies (NSBs) in countries around the world. Businesses requiring assessment and certification to internationally agreed standards will need to be certified by their approved registration/certification body.

Accreditation Bodies
The IAF (International Accreditation Forum) is the world association of conformity assessment and Accreditation Bodies. Members are only admitted to the IAF MLA (Multilateral Recognition Agreement) following stringent evaluation of their operations.

The focus of the IAF is to develop a single worldwide program of conformity assessment – Certified Once – Accepted Everywhere.

When we are no longer restricted to EU law, will the Accreditation of Certification Bodies to certify goods and services be opened up to other Accreditation Bodies?

Accreditation in the US
One of the IAF MLA members in the US providing worldwide accreditation services is ANAB, who are jointly owned by the American National Standards Institute and the American Society for Quality.
ANAB provides accreditation to Certification Bodies, covering all of the most established standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 etc.

Uncertain future
We are going to see a period of change over the next 2 years and, just like our government’s negotiations with the EU, we need to keep all of our options open and plan accordingly.
ACS Registrars have again been accredited by UKAS for ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015.

The process is on-going and not just a one-off achievement. Accreditation can be applied for by a variety of organisations such as testing laboratories, inspection bodies and medical laboratories as well as certification bodies like ACS Registrars.

UKAS (The United Kingdom Accreditation Service) is the sole national accreditation body for the UK and is recognised by the government as the body that provides oversight to ensure that accredited organisations meet the relevant international standards.

Working with UKAS and maintaining its accreditation is vitally important to ACS Registrars. UKAS accreditation demonstrates that ACS has been assessed for competence, impartiality and reliability to ensure the applicable international accreditation standards are met.

This is what the UKAS have to say about accreditation:

“Accreditation is the formal recognition that an organisation is competent to perform specific processes, activities or tasks (which are detailed in a scope of accreditation) in a reliable, credible and accurate manner.  The provision of accreditation must:
  • be objective, transparent and effective;UKAS_logo
  • use highly professional, competent assessors and technical experts in all relevant fields;
  • use assessors (and subcontractors) that are reliable, ethical and competent in both accreditation processes and the relevant technical fields.
Accreditation delivers confidence in certificates and conformity statements. It underpins the quality of results by ensuring their traceability, comparability, validity and commutability."

Note; not all auditing organisations are UKAS Accredited.

Relevant and beneficial to business
2016 is turning out to be a year of uncertainty; first Brexit, then the shock win for Donald Trump in the US elections. Businesses are going to need all of their resilience to maintain a competitive advantage.
Management systems such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 help businesses to establish procedures and processes to monitor and manage changing circumstances.

Risk assessment and risk management have been prioritised in the recent ISO 9001 revisions. This will provide management with the means to identify risks and plan how to control or limit the effect of these events on the business.

Whether internal issues or external events, such as the recent political turmoil, threaten to derail the organisation’s plans, having a robust management system in place will put you in a better position to cope more effectively.

A current example would be the recent drop in the value of sterling after Brexit and the impact it will have on manufacturers; whether you are importing raw materials or exporting finished goods. An effective management system will identify the risks and develop a strategy to minimise the effect.

For more information about UKAS and ISO standards please call us or fill in our enquiry form.