Are you looking to partner with another business, but doubtful about whether or not they are really ISO certified? We’ve got you covered in this blog, where we’ll dwell on the specifics of verifying the validity of an ISO certificate online.
ISO certification is an asset for any kind of organisation whether big or small. ISO refers to the International Organisation for Standardisation, which is an independent non-governmental organisation that provides standards for the quality, safety, and efficiency of products and services. The international organisation for standardisation itself is not responsible for issuing ISO certificates. They merely prescribe baseline norms and international standards which need to be maintained in order to be recognised by them. Instead, there are several external certification bodies that are responsible for performing ISO audits and granting certificates to organisations.
Hierarchy of Certification
Right on top of the hierarchy of accreditation is the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). The IAF is a global association of conformity assessment accreditation bodies and other bodies that are involved in assessment and certification for standards. The primary aim of this body is to develop a program for conformity in assessment across the globe so that consumers can rely upon accredited certificates. Most of the countries in the world are members and signatories of the IAF
Next comes the accreditation board, which is mainly country-specific. Each country has its own accreditation board. For instance in India, this board is called the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB)
At the third and last level of the hierarchy are the certification bodies that are responsible for granting certificates of standards to companies and organisations. Such certification bodies need to be members of their respective national accreditation boards.
Verifying the Validity of an ISO Certificate
The international organisation for standardisation issues certain standards with respect to various products and services. In order to be granted an ISO certificate, the concerned certifying body needs to be accredited by the national accreditation body, which further needs to be accredited to the IAF.
An organisation that wishes to obtain ISO certification needs to comply with the standards prescribed by them. Pursuant to this, an organisation usually hires an ISO certification specialist who assesses the organisation’s compliance with ISO standards. If an organisation is compliant, then the auditor grants the ISO certificate; if not, the company is given some time to bridge the gaps and become compliant, following which a certificate is granted.
There are times when service providers falsify ISO certificates in order to offset the costs associated with getting an authentic ISO certificate. This is why many customers are interested in checking whether or not their service provider has a valid ISO certificate. Additionally, there might even be times when companies need to check the validity of their own ISO certificates to estimate renewal requirements.
All valid ISO certificates that are granted by certification bodies usually consist of a registration/certification number and the logos of both the certification body as well as that of the national accreditation board. If either of the logos is missing on the ISO certificate, then you can come to the conclusion that the certificate is definitely not genuine. If the registration number and the logos are present, the validity of the certificate can be further investigated by following the below-mentioned process-
- Go to the IAF website and click on the drop-down menu that says IAF Members and Signatories
- Choose the appropriate country that you are looking for by clicking on it. A new page that gives the details of the national accreditation body pops up. If the name of the accreditation body present on the ISO certificate is not on the list of accreditation bodies for that country then the ISO certificate is invalid
- On the website of the accreditation body, a search can be made for the certifying body that has granted the certificate. If the name of the certifying body does not exist on the website of the accreditation body, it implies that such a certifying body is not accredited, making the certificate invalid
- If the name of the certifying body is on the website, it means that such a certification body is accredited. To further check the validity of the certificate, the website of the accreditation body can be used. If the accreditation body does not keep public records, they can be mailed in order to find out the validity of the ISO certificate
- If there is no online registry and if there is no reply from the accreditation board, the mail can be forwarded to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Given the many instances of falsification of ISO certificates, this process of online verification is of utmost importance. On receiving information from such channels as mentioned, one can ascertain the true veracity of an ISO certificate. Through this process, one can determine the validity of any certificate.