IAF CertSearch site launched - handle with care

IAF CertSearch

The IAF have launched their CertSearch.com website plus 5 Reasons not to trust it  

This is a global database was launched January 2019 and is maintained by the IAF under contract for Accredited Certifications - iafcertsearch.org.  Businesses and Governments are demanding greater transparency across organisations and supply chains and they require accredited certifications to aid in making good decisions in developing and maintaining their supply chains.  To date there has been no reliable source of information showing the current status of accredited certifications or indeed of readily identifying bogus certification bodies and bogus accreditation bodies.

So, after a long gestation period CertSearch is born - a single website maintained by a globally authoritative body where it will be possible to validate individual accredited certifications from any economy in the world in real time.  In other words, users can validate an organizations certification(s) confidently knowing the certification is valid, the Certification Body is accredited, and the Accreditation Body is a current IAF MLA Signatory member all in one process.What is ISO 9001 QMS

To date CertSearch includes …

  • 68 Accreditation Bodies,
  • 910 Certification Bodies, and
  • 402,622 Certifications.

As there are over 1 million ISO 9001 Certifications alone in existence, it would be a major mistake to consider the CertSearch data base as complete or even near complete.  A quick check showed a number of known accredited certifications to be missing from the database.

And even when the data is comprehensively complete, you will need to use the site with care.  There are several valid reasons why an accredited certification may not appear on the site – some obvious and some not so obvious.  Here are five to begin with …

  1. Certification Bodies (CBs) may not have added their accredited certifications to the database. Many CBs have previously objected to the database consider that it would make to easier for their competitors to poach their clients.
  2. Accreditation Bodies (ABs) may not have updated their data. Not all ABs have the same level of approvals from the IAF across the different ISO Standards within the IAF ambit. For example, many ABs do not include ISO 13485 in their IAF MLA (Multi-Lateral recognition Arrangement).
  3. Not all of the ISO 9000 Family of Standards are covered by IAF MLA, for example, ISO 22301, the business continuity standard.
  4. CBs may be in the process of securing accreditation for the ISO Standard of interest. CBs, even ones already accredited to other Standards, are obliged to undertake a number of audits outside the scope of accreditation as part of securing suct accreditation.  For these perfectly legitimate audits non-accredited Certificates are issued and so would not be included in the CertSearch database.
  5. CBs included in the CertSearch for a particular Standard may not be able to issue your organization an accredited Certificate for that Standard! This will arise where CBs have accreditation for the Standard of interest, but that accreditation does not extend to the economic sector in which your organization operates. But don’t be put off; CBs can apply for an extension of accreditation and will be able to issue an accredited certificate, typically, within 12 months.

We devote significant time in our online auditor training courses to distinguishing accreditation from certification, the importance of both, and on the identification of bogus ISO Certificates. So, we very much welcome the new site despite its current limitations.  We expect it to quickly become the first ‘port of call’ when checking out the validity of the Certification claimed by both current and prospective suppliers.

Lots more information – videos, brochures and guides – can be obtained on the IAF website.


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Written by Dr John FitzGerald

Director and founder of deGRANDSON Global. After 15 years in manufacturing industry John has spent the past 25 years training, consulting and auditing ISO 9001 and other management systems. 'Our objective is to be a world-class provider of e-training using the best proven technology so to satisfy and, hopefully, delight all of our Learners. Great commercial success and professional esteem will surely follow.' Full profile: https://degrandson.co.uk/team/john-fitzgerald/
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