What is ISO?

ISO is the world´s largest and most long–established international standards development body. It produces internationally recognised standards that help businesses and other organisations implement best practice. ISO was set up in 1947 and currently 163 national standards institutes – one from each represented country – participate in writing ISO standards.

ISO Standards

There are currently around 19¸000 ISO standards. The vast majority are very subject–specific technical specifications – broadly speaking¸ they cover how to make things. Meanwhile a handful are ‘management systems standards’– these are standards on how to do things. These are the well–known standards that can be used by any organisation‚ of any size. Of these‚ ISO 9001 for quality management is the most popular standard in the world – used by around a million organisations. The second most popular ISO standard¸ also a management systems standard¸ is ISO 14001 for environmental management.

Did you know what ISO means?

It’s fine to think of ISO as the ‘International Organisation for Standardisation’‚ but of course that actually spells ‘IOS’! In fact‚ ‘ISO’ comes from the Greek word ‘isos’‚ meaning ‘equal’. ISO creates what are called ‘consensus’ standards on the basis that every participating national country member is equal. When a standard is being written‚ even if only one country disagrees with something‚ the standard has to be re-drafted until every participant is happy.

What is certification?

Standards help organisations to be more successful and more profitable. In addition, if you can show the marketplace that you’re using the standard properly‚ you can attract better customers‚ participate in wider supply chains and reassure stakeholders about how well run your company is. To get that recognition‚ and to make sure that the standard is being used correctly‚ companies apply for ‘certification’. That means calling in a third party certification body (CB) to check how the standard is being applied. If it‘s being used effectively‚ the CB issues a certificate. The organisation can then publicise itself as ‘certified’ to the standard and enjoy all the benefits that brings.

What is UKAS accredited certification?

UKAS is the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. It’s the UK’s representative in a network of internationally recognised bodies that make sure the companies offering certification services are properly qualified and competent to do so. So UKAS is UK Government appointed to assess and accredit certification bodies like DNV. It is highly advisable for companies to make sure that the certification body they choose to work with is UKAS accredited. It shows that the certification body is legitimate‚ and competent to deliver the work to a high standard. Also‚ subject to assessment, you’ll get a ‘UKAS accredited certification’ – which is among the most prestigious and widely recognised certifications in the world.


ISO 9001 Quality

ISO 14001 Environment

OHSAS 18001 Health and Safety

  • Health Check your management system against requirements for

    ISO 9001 certification
    ISO 14001 certification
    OHSAS 18001 certification

  • Get insight into certification requirements

  • Check readiness for certification

  • Report and feedback delivered by email

Building and maintaining trust and confidence from your stakeholders requires clarity as to how you manage your risks.

A certified management system demonstrates that you have adopted continual improvement on your approach to quality (ISO 9001), environment (ISO 14001), (OHSAS 18001) health and safety.

The assessment is an online questionnaire that takes 15 – 20 minutes to complete. It covers issues within your management system providing you with a report on completion.

Please Note:
It should be emphasised that this is not an alternative to internal audit or a formal gap analysis carried out by a certification body. Also, be aware that a positive result from the tool does not guarantee that a formal internal or external audit process will deliver the same result - there are so many other factors which affect an audit once the implementation of that management system is included within the assessment scope.

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1. How do I know if my company is ready for certification?

To help you prepare for certification download the 10 steps to certification here. In some cases you may wish to use a consultant to assist you in preparing for certification. To search for a management consultant according to location, industry and expertise you can visit www.dnvgl.co.uk

2. What is the difference between “certification” and “accreditation”?

Certification is the process by which an independent certification body ensures through written assurance that you are following the principles within the management system you are working to (e.g. ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 etc.). Accreditation is the process by which certification bodies gain approval to issue management system certificates. Therefore, put simply you gain certification from an accredited certification body such as DNV who is accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

3. What is DNV’s terminology for the various audit stages?

DNV uses the following terminology for its audit stages:
Preliminary Assessment - NOT included within the scope of the certification process. Some certification bodies call this a Gap Analysis.
Document Review & Initial Visit - can be known as Stage 1 Audit, or Documentation Review;
Initial Audit - can be called Stage 2 Audit, Main Assessment, or Certification Audit. It is following this audit that a management certificate is issued. Periodic Audit - or surveillance audit.
Renewal Audit - or Recertification or Tri-annual audit.

4. What is the value of partnering with a UKAS accredited certification body?

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the sole National Accreditation Body recognised by the UK Government for the assessment and verification of certification, inspection, testing and calibration activities. It essentially audits the auditors! In the arena of management systems certification, using a UKAS accredited (or equivalent – such as RvA) certification body demonstrates that your certification provider has been assessed to deliver a consistently reliable, impartial and credible service. It demonstrates to your stakeholders a level of independent assurance in your management systems. Having the UKAS mark on your documentation brings with it national and international recognition to your business.

5. What does the process entail before I get a certificate?

Initial certification to a Management System Standard (e.g. ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001) has to be undertaken in two stages. This is a requirement of the rules that we work to and are audited against contained in ISO 17021.

Certification Stage 1 comprises a document review of your Management System and an Initial Visit to assess the implementation of the system. This stage seeks to ensure that your Management System is focusing on the management of its appropriate business risks according to the focus of the certification. DNV will also appraise the degree of reliance that can be placed upon key parts of the system, such as internal audits and will also start to plan the Initial Audit (main assessment). At the end of the Document Review and Initial Visit, a report is produced outlining areas where additional system development may be required.

6. What is the difference between a Preliminary Assessment and a Document Review/Initial Visit?

A Preliminary Assessment (or gap analysis) is not part of the formal certification process and is an optional service that some organisations find beneficial as it helps to assess the degree of management system development and implementation prior to commencing the full certification process. Some benefits are that it provides additional confidence in the management system development stage and can help to speed the process of certification as clear gaps and potential weaknesses are identified prior to the certification process. In DNV’s experience, Preliminary Assessments are most beneficial to organisations wishing to roll-out their certification to a number of sites with the Preliminary Assessment being undertaken on a pilot site.

7. How long will it take to gain certification to a standard?

We recommend that you allow 6-8 weeks between your Stage 1 and Stage 2 audits. This will enable you to have sufficient time to address any issues that arise from the Stage 1 audit prior to the Initial Audit (Stage 2).

8. How long will my certificate be valid for?

The typical expiry of a certificate is three years but the time differs in the case of transfers. A re-certification audit must be carried out before a three year certificate can be issued. The re-certification audit is similar to an Initial Audit / Stage 2 Audit.

9. I want to transfer from another certification body, what do I do?

The process of transferring from one certification body to DNV should be a simple process. This is provided that you have a valid accredited certificate (e.g. UKAS, RvA, NAB etc.) and do not have any outstanding Major Nonconformities.

The transfer process starts with a basic review of your current certification including a review of your existing certificate and a copy of the last audit report. Following this, we will issue you with a proposal outlining our transfer and ongoing fees. Once this is accepted, we will conduct an audit of your management system and look into any outstanding findings raised by your previous certification body. This visit can be made independently or at your next scheduled surveillance audit. In the case where no significant actions are required, we will issue you a DNV certificate.

If your current certificate is not accredited, you will have to start the process with a Stage 1 & Stage 2 audit.

10. How much will it cost?

The Online Estimator offers a quick answer to your cost queries. However, if you have over 200 staff and 5 sites, please contact the office to get a formal quote via the Quote Request Form or call on +44 (0)20 3816 6380 and email certificationuk@dnvgl.com.

11. What if I have multi-site operations?

DNV has a sampling methodology in place to calculate the needs of multi-site operations and has to follow the guidance within external standards such as ISO 17021. To calculate the timeframes for your audit we have to review issues such as:

- The “risk profile” of your business and the management system certification you are seeking.
- The size and complexity of the business including its regulatory framework.
- The number of sites and their geographic location.
- The results of and previous audits.
- Whether management system certifications are going to be integrated (e.g. as a full Integrated Management System certification).

12. How can I publicize it to best effect?

We offer a complimentary service to our customers in the form of E-certificates. E-certificates are an effective marketing tool as they allow you to display your certificates online in a simple click by your customers and website visitors. You can also use the DNV certification mark on all your marketing material and stationary according to the guidelines.

For further information, please contact +44 (0)20 3816 6380 where DNVGL’s dedicated customer support team will answer all queries and offer you after-sales service.