Accreditation is King

Selecting a Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) or a Registrar (as they are referred to in America) can be a minefield if you don’t know what to look for or you don’t know the right questions to ask.

The first thing to look for in a CAB/Registrar is credibility, this is the key to everything when choosing one.  This is where Accreditation comes in; be sure that your CAB/Registrar is accredited by an Accreditation Body that itself is an IAF MLA signatory.  Have a look here at the website of IAF (International Accreditation Forum) here.  To date there are 52 Accreditation Bodies that IAF MLA signatories, click here to see the full list on the IAF website.

The main Accreditation Bodies that we see are JAS-ANZ who are based in Australia & NZ (, ANAB who are based in USA (, and UKAS who are based in United Kingdom (  There are 49 others listed on the IAF website.

This is what these three Accreditation Bodies say about Accreditation:

If the CAB/Registrar does not hold accreditation by an Accreditation Body that itself is an IAF MLA signatory then it could be like buying a diploma online from Pakistan, worthless. Not only could you be aligning yourself with a substandard CAB/Registrar but your clients will reject your certificates and you will have to get re-audited by a credible auditing company.

Tricks to watch out for

Over the years we have seen so many bogus CABs/Registrars trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes. Here are a list of a few tricks we have seen:

  • Some CABs/Registrars go as far as claiming accreditation by even setting up a non-credible Accreditation Body (AB) to approve themselves (the AB is not IAF but no-one usually looks that far).
  • Some CABs/Registrars use an unauthorised copy of a credible ABs logo.
  • Some CABs/Registrars act a lot bigger and more international and don’t even mention accreditation, not many clients ask for this so it is overlooked.
  • Because some un-accredited CABs/Registrars are auditing and issuing certificates to ISO standards the client presumes that they are credible and are accredited.

Tips to find a credible CAB/Registrar

You should ask the CAB/Registrar some questions:

  1. Are you accredited by an accreditation body?
  2. Who are you accredited by?
  3. Is the Accreditation Bodies an IAF MLA signatories?
  4. Ask what programs they are accredited for?
  5. Ask them for evidence of their accreditation (i.e. certificate or information on the ABs website).

Things we have seen over the past 26 years

The assessment and certification industry is rife with corruption, wrongdoing and malpractice. We are never surprised to see and hear stories from all over the world. In our opinion the least dodgy places we have seen for management system certification services is in New Zealand and the USA.

We could list dozens of companies on here that we have seen offering substandard/dodgy certification services but it would not be worth doing so as the fallout would be huge and we also do not put our competition even if we see something that are not up to scratch.

Examples of some dodgy operations we have seen over the years:

  • unaccredited CABs/Registrars offering ISO 9001 certification to accredited CAB’s/Registrar’s clients for half the cost (seen this in Australia, UK, India and Pakistan etc).
  • legitimate accredited CABs/Registrars breaking the rules and offering quick cheap audits to win work (seen this worldwide).
  • legitimate accredited CABs/Registrars offering cheap prices to win work and then making sure the auditors find/fabricate Major NCRs to increase the audit time at full cost.
  • legitimate accredited CABs/Registrars intentionally leaving client’s details off ABs online registers to avoid paying the accreditation body royalty fees.
  • in Europe we know of a CAB/Registrar that set up a non IAF Accreditation Body to claim accreditation. Their certificate has an Accreditation Body symbol on it that they set up to try to trick consumers into thinking it is credible.
  • many more dodgy schemes………..

……. basically you need to do your homework before you choose your CAB/Registrar to ensure that they have the credentials to do a credible honest audit using competent professional auditors….. good luck with your searching…………

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