The ISO Consultant / Cert Body Relationship
While there is a synergy between consultants and certification bodies, they remain very separate to avoid any conflict of interest.
UKAS Accredited Certification Bodies will not offer consultancy, as this can compromise their position later in terms of verifying and certifying your management system.
In contrast, consultants will advise and help you implement a management system to your required standard, however consultants cannot offer UKAS Accredited Certification.
This separation of roles contributes to the value of both your management system and ISO certification.
Why Use An External Consultant?
Providing your management system meets the requirements of the ISO or BS standard, and is operating effectively there is no need to use an external ISO Consultant.
However, consultants bring many benefits including:
- Expert knowledge of the standard.
- Experience of the certification process, and common pit-falls.
- Best practice from others in your industry who have implemented the standard.
- Example and Template Documentation.
- Additional external resource when your time is limited.
- Admin support to collate certification quotes and book dates etc.
- News regarding legislation and standards.
Where Consultants & Certification Bodies Interact
Consultants and Certification Bodies generally enjoy a good relationship and interact at several points of the process.
Arranging A Certification Quote
If you have engaged or spoken to a consultant first, they will often have gathered much of the information needed for the certification body to provide you with a quote, and having the consultant arrange a certification quote alongside their own can give you a better idea of the total project cost.
Arranging Certification Dates
When you are ready to go ahead, the consultant can help you to arrange certification dates, advising on a realistic time frame.
Attending Certification Audits
Having your consultant attend the certification audit can help in several ways.
Firstly, many people are nervous about the auditing process and can find it difficult to understand what the certification auditor is expecting to see. Your consultant can help by reassuring you and guiding you towards the evidence that the auditor may be looking for.
Secondly, if any non-conformances do come up, and they may, your consultant can fully understand the circumstances surrounding them, and being there in person will allow the consultant to effectively advise you on corrective actions after the audit.
How to Choose a Consultant?
There are many ways to find a consultant including recommendations, searching the internet and using the certification bodies’ Consultants Networks. Read more about Finding an ISO Consultant.