The ATLAS Certification process in Australia and New Zealand
The Certification process consists of a number of fixed steps which are to be followed by all (genuine) Certification Bodies in the world. Although there is no variation in the steps of the process, there IS a lot of variation in the support you get from the various Certification Bodies.
ATLAS Certification differentiates itself from most others by the way we explain every step of the process in simple terminology AND the way in which we guide you through each of the steps, taking them one-by-one – at a pace that meets your needs and that you are comfortable with.
Below is an explanation of the key steps in the Certification process.
Enquiry – Quotation – Application
It all starts with simply contacting ATLAS Certification to discuss your certification needs.
We will ask you some details about your company to enable us to work out an accurate and obligation-free quotation for you.
All you need to do to ‘apply for certification’ is sign the Quotation and send a copy back to us by email or post.
Stage 1 Audit
Stage 1 audit consists of a Document Review and possibly an onsite pre-assessment, depending on the type of certification, the size and nature of your business and your location.
The purpose of this step is to make sure that your organisation is ready for the Stage 2 audit (Certification Audit).
You will receive a report that clearly specifies any additions or changes that you should consider before commencing the Stage 2 audit.
Where appropriate, Stage 1 and Stage 2 audits may be able to be combined into one site visit. This does not reduce the total audit time, but it may assist in reducing other expenses.
Stage 2 Audit (Certification Audit)
Once we are confident that you are ready for the certification audit, this will be booked in. Stage 2 audits always occur at your office/site.
The purpose of the stage 2 audit is to:
- evaluate compliance with the requirements of the Standard;
- determine the ability of the Management System to ensure that you can meet relevant requirements;
- evaluate the effectiveness of the Management System to ensure you meet your objectives; and
- identify opportunities for improvement.
You will receive a report detailing the Stage 2 audit findings.
This only applies if elements of your Management System do not meet the requirements or are not sufficiently implemented in your operations. Depending on the nature of the issue, you will be asked to either submit a plan detailing your intended Corrective Actions or to provide evidence that you have carried out the Corrective Actions as required.
The ATLAS Certification Board will review all collected information and the auditor’s recommendation.
If there is sufficient evidence to confirm that your Management System meets the requirements and is effectively implemented, Certification will be granted.
If there is not sufficient evidence that your Management System meets the requirements or is effectively implemented, or there is other information that would make the granting of certification not appropriate, certification will be denied.
Either way, you will be notified of the certification decision in writing and have the right to appeal the decision.
By the way: if we expect there is a chance that certification will not be granted, we will try to discuss the options with you prior to the certification Board meeting to work out a solution. In most cases a certification decision is delayed until there is sufficient information to be able to make a positive recommendation to the ATLAS Certification Board.
Once you are certified, you will be authorised to use the appropriate ATLAS Certification Marks and make reference to being certified by ATLAS Certification. There are however rules in place that dictate when, where and how the ATLAS Certification Marks may and may not be used. Electronic, high resolution images of the appropriate logo’s will be made available to you, along with more detailed requirements for their use, when certification is granted.
After certification has been granted, we will conduct annual surveillance audits to ensure you continue to comply with the requirements and maintain your Management System.
If all is found to be OK certification will continue without the need for a new certification decision to be made.
If we find that there are some issues that need to be addressed to ensure the Management System continues to comply with the requirements, we will raise these issues with you and when these are resolved in an appropriate manner, certification can still continue without the need for a certification decision to be made.
Only in cases where insufficient action is taken to address such issues will we refer the matter to the ATLAS Certification Board for further decision making. (please also refer to our Policy – Suspension, Cancellation & Reduction of Scope.
Surveillance audits are either done 6 or 12 monthly, depending on circumstances and your preference.
Re-Certification Audit (Triennial Audit)
Re-certification audits normally occur once every 3 years. During the re-certification audit your entire Management System is reviewed for ongoing compliance, maintenance and its effectiveness in achieving its intended outcomes.
The process that follows the re-certification audit is identical to that following a Stage 2 certification audit, including the certification decision making process and your rights to appeal that decision.
When all is found to be OK, certification will again be issued for another 3 years and a new surveillance cycle begins.
What People Say
“The audit results were constructive and relevant to a small business like ours. Having dealt with several other certification companies it has been refreshing to work with people who understand small business and are providing constructive, realistic feedback”
Melbourne, VIC 3000
“When we had to select our certifiers we first looked at the big international providers but quickly found that their response to our enquiries was slow and on top of that they wanted to charge ridiculous money. It was a leap of faith to go with ATLAS Certification, but we are very happy with the choice we made. We highly recommend them to whoever is looking for a reliable, down-to-earth certifier.”