Granting a Certificate
Following the audit stage, once the corrective actions have been verified, the auditor recommends the certificate to the certification committee which comprises of three members. Upon verification (of the auditor’s report) and acceptance by the committee, the certificate is granted to the client within fifteen working days after verification of corrective actions.
Key points to note here:
- Certification decision is taken by person(s) different from those who carried out audit
- Analysis of Stage 1 and Stage 2 audit findings is carried out
- Verify satisfactory correction and corrective action for “major” nonconformities
- Initial certification decision or decisions on renewing certification
Suspending a Certificate
MQAS does not, in the normal course of events, suspend certified clients and will only do so under exceptional circumstances and on a case by case basis. Under suspension, the certification of a client's management system is invalid until the suspension is lifted. Such suspension will be made clear on MQAS’ client directory.
Examples of circumstances that may lead to suspension are not limited to the following:
- The client’s certified management system or product has persistently or seriously failed to meet certification requirements.
- The certificate holder does not allow surveillance or rectification audits to be conducted at the required facilities.
- The certificate holder has voluntarily requested a suspension.
- Failure to resolve issues that have resulted in the suspension in a time established by MQAS may result in withdrawal or reduction in the scope of certification.
Maintaining a Certificate
Maintaining a certificate requires the following:
Surveillance audits shall be on-site audits, but are not necessarily full system audits. These audits shall be scheduled at least once in a year. However, designated person shall document justification for approval for the delay in conducting the subsequent surveillance audits, if it is more than 12 months between two surveillances but simultaneously maintaining the yearly surveillance.
The surveillance audit shall cover the following areas:
- Internal audits and management review
- A review of actions taken on nonconformities identified during the previous audit
- Effectiveness of the management system with regard to achieving the certified client's objectives
- Progress of planned activities aimed at continual improvement
- Review of any changes, and
- Use of marks and/or any other reference to certification.
- Treatment of complaints,
The surveillance audit team shall conduct the audit and share the findings with the client. If there are any non-conformances found, the client organization would need to commit to close them at the earliest.
These audits are carried out to verify the effectiveness, improvement, and achievement of policies and objectives. These audits follow the Audit Process described in the earlier section and the Certification Process described above.
Those intermediate audits that are carried out in following scenarios:
- For extensions of scope
- Suspending, withdrawing or reducing scope of certification
- Short notice audits in response to complaints or suspension