What is an ISO Registrar?

A certification body or company, often called a registrar, is an impartial third-party organization responsible for auditing your management system against the applicable international standard(s).

There are many certification companies in existence. Some, operate independently and some are members of accredited organizations such as ANAB in North America and UKAS in the UK. Accredited organizations are in essence self-regulating companies financed by subscriptions from their members (certification companies) for the purpose of promoting and protecting their interests.

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Why should I not use the term “ISO certification”? It’s really not “ISO certification, but most people will understand what is meant.”

However, ISO Certification is not the correct term, although the term “ISO certification” is commonly used to describe management systems certification. There are several reasons why ISO Certification is not the correct term:

ISO writes standards, but is not in the business of auditing to them. The term “ISO certification” could be misread to imply that ISO provided your management system’s certification, when in fact that job is done by a registrar — a third party organization that audits your ISO system (i.e. ISO 9001, ISO 3485, ISO 14000, etc.) to verify that you meet its requirements.

Accreditation is the approval of a certification body, (such as a registrar, by a national accreditation or standards body such as ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) in the United States. In other words, it’s the registrar’s “certification” that deems it competent to issue certifications to your company. Therefore, as the certified organization, it is not appropriate for you to say you are accredited, because it is your registrar that holds the accreditation.

In terms of recognized certification, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in Geneva who is publisher of the Standard do not require any certification body for ISO Standards to be connected to an accredited company. However, ISO do require a certification body to use the services of suitably qualified Lead Auditors and to operate with due diligence in their audit/certification procedure. For example, many certification companies use the services of Lead Auditors qualified through the International Register of Certified Auditors (IRCA) approved course with a minimum of 5 years industry based experience.

It is entirely a matter of personal choice as to whether a company chooses an independent or accredited member – most companies are led by their own client preference.

Also, click here for ISO Consultants and ISO Implementers.

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