The certification process typically consists of the following steps:
• Application handling and scope determination
• Pre-evaluation (eligibility check)
• Planning of assessment activities (audits, inspections, document reviews, etc.)
• Planning, conducting and reporting individual assessment activities
• Handling of findings from assessment activities
• Certificate decision and issuance
• Maintaining certification
o Surveillance activities
o Recertification activities
o Handling of scope extensions or reductions
o Handling of changes in regulations, standards and other frame conditions
o Handling of misconduct and other abnormal activities
Details related to key processes:
Granting certification: Outcome of successful initial assessment and certificate decision process.
Refusing certification: Failure to meet certification requirements (either concluded as part of pre-evaluation or as part of processing of findings from assessment).
Customers will be formally informed about reason for the refusal and appeal rights.
Maintaining certification: Outcome of adherence to the defined assessment activities for the given certification cycle.
Renewing certification: Outcome of successful renewal assessment at the end of the certification cycle and recertification decision process.
Suspending certification: Suspension may be initiated for a number of reasons, typically:
• Suspicion that the product or system no longer meets certification requirements, based on input from the market, authorities, or other sources
• Failure to respond to findings from surveillance activities
• Misuse of the certificate or associated certification mark
• Changes in product or system, not properly reported
• Violation of terms of the signed agreement
Customers will be formally informed about reason for the suspension and appeal rights.
Restoring certification: As part of the suspension process the client will be given the opportunity to rectify the misconduct or appeal the decision. If rectified in due time or if the appeal sheds new light to the case, the certificate will be restored.
Withdrawing certification: If conditions for lifting suspension are not met in time or in cases of adverse misconduct, the certification withdrawal process will be initiated.
Customers will be formally informed about reason for the withdrawal and appeal rights.
When a certificate is first withdrawn, the process is principally irreversible. The customer must, hence, start the certification process from the beginning to qualify for a new certificate.