How to check if an ISO Certificate is valid
When evaluating potential suppliers for your organisation, part of your evaluation criteria might be that their management system is certified to one or more ISO Management System Standards. If this is the case, you should be:
Your potential supplier should be able to provide their ISO Certificate(s) quickly and easily via reply email with a file attachment – all Certification Bodies provide certificates as pdf files these days.
Once you have the ISO Certificate(s) from your potential supplier, it’s important to also check that they are valid.
What a lot of people don’t realise is that the validity of all ISO Certifications is subject to satisfactory ongoing Surveillance Audits (which are usually conducted annually over the course of the three years of certification). If these haven’t been conducted with satisfactory results every 12 months, the Certification Body may then cancel the ISO Certification(s).
If an ISO Certification has been cancelled, it may be due to a change in the business structure or a major breakdown in the effectiveness of the business operations and/or management system(s).
So, now you should be starting to understand the importance of not only receiving a copy of your potential suppliers’ ISO Certificate(s), but also checking that they’re valid.
There are a few ways you can check if an ISO Certificate is valid:
- On the International online register (this is new as of 2020); and/or
- On the Regional online register; and/or
- On the Certification Body online register (not always available).
Let’s take a look at each of these options:
1. Verifying an ISO Certificate on the International Online Register
In 2020, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) released a global online register where any ISO Certificate worldwide can be verified within the one platform.
All you need to know is the business name.
Go to IAF CertSearch, start typing the business name in the search bar and, if the business is certified, they will show up. You can then click on their listing to validate the currency of their ISO Certificate(s).
This is the simplest and easiest way to verify that an ISO Certificate is valid. Here’s how it looks, using the example of our business – ISO Certification Experts:
Search the business name
View the listing
Verify the Certification
2. Verifying an ISO Certificate on the Regional online register
The IAF CertSearch (explained above) is great, but you’re limited to the number of searches you can do per day, and then you need to sign up. Even then, registered users are still limited by the number of daily searches they are allowed to do.
So, the next best option is to verify ISO Certification(s) in your supply chain (or potential supply chain) via the local Accreditation Authority websites.
For Australia and New Zealand, the local authority is JAS-ANZ – the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand. We’re based in Australia, so we’ll use this as our example.
You’ll first need to look for the logo of the Accreditation Authority on your potential suppliers’s ISO Certificate, and then go to their website. So, for our example:
3. Verifying an ISO Certificate on the Certification Body online register
A third option is to verify an ISO Certificate directly with the Accredited Certification Body.
However, first check that the Certificate holds the logo of a local Accreditation Authority for that region (for example, JAS-ANZ for Australia and New Zealand). A certificate holding an Accreditation Authority logo and/or IAF logo are recognised internationally.
Go to the website of the Accredited Certification Body. Again, we’ll use our business as an example – we’re certified by pwc.
Search for the business name you’re looking for, and you can then click on their listing to validate the currency of their ISO Certificate(s).
Please note that this lookup process can vary significantly from Certifier to Certifier.
We’ve covered the methods of checking if an ISO Certificate is valid, but also keep in mind these key points during your checking process:
About the author
Erica is the Managing Director of ISO Certification Experts and ICExperts Academy. She has been helping businesses with their ISO Certification needs for over 20 years. Erica is also a Certified trainer, implementer and auditor for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and ISO 27001 standards. Erica primarily heads up the day-to-day operations of the businesses, and is also a current member of the Australian Organisation for Quality and Brand Integrity Committee.
All information on this blog site is for informational purposes only. As this information is based on our professional experience, opinion, and knowledge, we make no representations as to the suitability of this information for your individual business circumstances. Especiality Pty Ltd trading as ISO Certification Experts and all related businesses and brands will not be liable for any errors, omissions, legal disputes or any damage arising from its display or use. All information is provided as is, with no warranties and confers no rights.
We will not be responsible for any material that is found at the end of links that we may post on this blog site. The advice, ideas, and strategies should never be used without first assessing your own personal business situation or seeking professional and/or legal advice. Information may also change from time to time to suit industry and business needs, requirements and trends.