You may have questions...
Is CertSmart right for you?
- What sort of business can use CertSmart?
If you’re a smaller, privately owned UK business or start-up with fewer than 25 employees – CertSmart could be right for you.
- I have more than one site. Can I still use CertSmart?
If you have more than one operating address – or site as we define them – then at the moment, CertSmart would not be suitable for your business (sorry about that).
However, we are continuing to evolve our CertSmart offer, so if you would like to be kept updated as to when new services come online, simply sign up here.
- Our staff work remotely, and we have no central site. Can we still use CertSmart?
Absolutely, if your staff are working remotely and there are no centralised processing activities CertSmart could be the option for you. The most important thing is that your auditor can access data, documents and information about the company and its activities.
- I have over 25 employees, but some are part-time or on contract. Can I still use CertSmart?
If the mix of your full and part-time employees equals no more than 25 full-time employees, then it’s good news as CertSmart would be suitable for you. For example, if you had 26 part-time employees working half a day, and 12 full-time employees, you would have 25 full-time equivalent employees in total.
- What happens if our business grows both in terms of employees and complexity?
We designed CertSmart to provide smaller businesses with a more affordable way to achieve accredited certification. CertSmart is powered by Lloyd’s Register so if your business grows beyond 25 full time employees, we’ve got you covered. We’ll simply offer you the opportunity to transfer onto LR’s standard certification service. This is a great option that will provide you with several benefits not available through CertSmart – all of which will help you to unleash the full potential of your certification.
You can learn more here.
- How do I get started?
To get started simply access SmartQuote – our secure, self-service quoting tool. It’s intuitive and includes built in guidance to help you through every step of the process.
In just a few clicks you’ll receive a personalised quote which will confirm exactly what’s included. You’ll then be able to accept the quote and following this we’ll confirm when your audit is happening. You’ll be able to book a specific date and auditor for a small additional fee. Once you’ve confirmed this, you can make your first annual payment up front and online before receiving access to your personal dashboard where you’ll upload key documents and information prior to your audit.
- Does CertSmart include the design and implementation of a Quality Management System?
No, CertSmart only covers the certification process. That said, if you’re at the start of your journey and need to design and implement your system – here’s some options you could consider:
- You could hire an independent consultant on either an ad-hoc or retained basis. Normally they charge a day rate. LR maintains a network of these consultants (mostly small or micro businesses themselves) but we don’t share a commercial relationship. We’d simply provide you with a list – but it would be up to you to contact and negotiate the engagement.
- You could also opt for a Gap Analysis audit, which we can provide. This would take the form of a remote review of what you’ve done against what is required. This would result in the production of an action plan to address the gaps.
There are other options that give you much greater ownership of your system, but they’ll need personal investment in terms of time and resource. You could:
- Build your knowledge of the standard and how to best implement it by attending an online or virtual classroom training course. LR has designed courses specifically on this topic which you can find here. These range from 3 day courses aimed at taking people from scratch up to assessment ready to a 1 day ‘Introduction to ISO 9001’ course which, depending on your knowledge of ISO 9001, may provide enough detail.
- Buy a copy of the standard or better still the associated best practice guide ISO 9004 – this document really acts as a handbook to support design and implementation. It’s readily available from many places.
- How do you protect my data during the certification process?
At CertSmart, we pride ourselves on ensuring that our customers’ data is protected at all times through a robust security policy which can be accessed here.
Understanding your quote
- Why is CertSmart a more affordable option?
Our digital-first approach allows us to reduce some of the overheads associated with our standard business model. As a result, CertSmart is a more affordable way for smaller UK businesses to achieve UKAS accredited ISO 9001 certification.
Why not a get a SmartQuote and find out instantly how affordable CertSmart could be for your business.
- What is included in the cost quoted?
We like to keep things simple – so we charge on an annual basis. The price you’ve been quoted is for your first year payment. We take this payment online when the contract is signed, and future payments are invoiced annually. If we do find major nonconformities, we’ll need to carry out some form of follow up. This will be done remotely and charged pro-rata based on time required. That’s it – there are no hidden extras.
- Are there hidden costs and extras?
With CertSmart – there are no hidden costs. You pay for your service up front and we’ll tell you exactly what’s included.
If we do find major nonconformities during your audit, we we’ll need to carry out some form of follow up. This will be done remotely and charged pro-rata based on time required. We will ask you to upload an ‘evidence pack’ to the CertSmart dashboard showing the corrective and preventive action that has been taken. This will be reviewed by your auditor and there will usually be a short interview to discuss the action taken and to verify that it has effectively addresses the findings. Each major nonconformity review will be charged at £175 plus VAT with payment being made online.
- What is the cost breakdown over three years?
The standard CertSmart service can be broken down into annual fees. The first year includes the Stage 1 and Stage 2 audits (2 days), whilst all subsequent years would involve 1 audit day per annum. In other words, over a three year certification period, 50% of the fees would apply in Year 1 and 25% in Year 2 and 3.
Preparing for your audit
- Is audit scheduling flexible?
We’ll always aim to schedule your audit at a time that works for you but if you want to change the agree audit date, we do charge a small rearrangement fee of £50.
- What information do I need to provide before my audit?
At each stage of the CertSmart audit, your auditor will be looking to confirm that your management system meets the requirements of ISO 9001 and is being effectively implemented in your business. Leading up to the stage 1 audit you’ll need to upload relevant documents, data and information to your dashboard. We’ve built guidance into your dashboard which will support you throughout this process. Your auditor will use this information as the basis of the Stage 1 audit to determine whether the management system design meets the requirements of ISO 9001 – so it’s a crucial step.
- What does a stage 1 audit entail?
The initial stage 1 audit is focussed on finding out if you’re adequately prepared to move on to the next stage of the audit process.
We carry out this audit remotely. To do this, we provide you with a unique interactive, dashboard where you can upload data, documents and information which can then be reviewed by your auditor as part of the stage 1 audit. As well as this review, the auditor will speak to you directly regarding the design of your management system and its readiness for the Stage 2 audit.
For the stage 1 audit to take place, your system must be designed, however, it doesn’t have to be fully implemented if there are plans in place to complete the implementation prior to the Stage 2.
- What does a stage 2 audit entail?
The purpose of the stage 2 audit is to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of your management system, ensuring the certification criteria have been met.
Due to accreditation requirements (ISO 17021), your stage 2 audit would normally be completed onsite. However, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic we’re delivering stage 2 audits 100% remotely – until further notice.
Your system must be fully and effectively implemented for the stage 2 audit to take place.
- What happens if you find nonconformities?
Hopefully we won’t find any major nonconformities during your audit, but if we do, we’ll need to carry out some form of follow up. This will be done remotely and charged pro-rata based on time required. We will ask you to upload an ‘evidence pack’ to the CertSmart dashboard showing the corrective and preventive action that has been taken. This will be reviewed by your auditor and there will usually be a short interview to discuss the action taken and verify that it has effectively addressed the findings. Each major nonconformity review will be charged at £175 plus VAT with payment being made online.
- Are all audits remote or just stage 1?
The number of remote audits we deliver is regulated by the rules of accreditation. At present, we can do Stage 1 totally remote; what’s more, for your every other annual surveillance audit, we can also do this remotely too. In accordance with ISO 17021 due to accreditation requirements, your stage 2 audit would normally be completed onsite. However, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic we are delivering stage 2 audits 100% remotely – until further notice.
- Do I need any special technology for a remote audit?
Not at all. All you need is access to your desktop, tablet or phone and a standard broadband connection to allow for the transmitting of video. If we need you to show us around your site on a remote audit, you can simply live stream the content to us – or even upload it later.
We recommend the use of Microsoft Teams for remote audits. Why? Well, it can be used without the need for costly licences and is a stable and secure platform; we simply send you an invite, you click the link and you’re all set!
- How do Surveillance Audits work? Are these done remotely or in person?
Surveillance audits are regulated by the accreditation authorities. At present, we can do your first surveillance audit in Y2 with the following year’s surveillance being onsite. Essentially, for your every other annual surveillance audit, we can do this remotely. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic we are delivering all audits 100% remotely – until further notice.
UKAS accredited certification
- Who is CertSmart governed by in order to deliver accredited certificates?
Our accredited services are provided by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance Ltd. At CertSmart, we use safe and secure technology that transforms the way certification services are delivered to smaller businesses.
Not only that, by choosing CertSmart, your business helps us to help others as the profits we generate fund the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a charity which supports science and engineering-related research, education and public engagement around everything we do.
- I’ve been quoted a cheaper price by other non-accredited providers – why should I choose CertSmart?
CertSmart is powered by the UKAS accredited certification body Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance Ltd and the certification services we provide are fully UKAS accredited.
UKAS accreditation is internationally recognised, so having a UKAS accredited body perform your audit is essentially the gold standard when it comes to certification. For CertSmart and Lloyd’s Register to be able to provide accredited certification, we must be able to demonstrate to UKAS that we are working to the highest standards governing independence, impartiality and integrity.
After investing a significant amount of time and effort to design and implement your quality management system, UKAS accredited ISO 9001 certification is the best way of ensuring that your certification is credible and universally accepted. Learn More.
- How long does it take to achieve certification?
At CertSmart, we pride ourselves on delivering ISO 9001 certification that is accredited, efficient and affordable for smaller businesses. The simple answer is that there is no real time limit as it comes down to a number of factors, the main one being your readiness for certification.
By limiting the scope of businesses who would qualify to those with low complexity activities (for example, single product or service businesses), it means we have a bigger pool of auditors to draw upon which can result in completion in a matter of weeks.
If you are still not sure, then don’t worry, as help is at hand. You can work with an LR auditor to identify critical or high-risk areas of your business, alongside specific vulnerabilities. This can either be delivered onsite or remotely and helps determine the scope of your ISO 9001 management system, giving you the flexibility to focus on areas critical to your operations. Just get in touch, and we will discuss what options are available to you.
- Do I get a certificate and a logo that I can use across my digital and traditional channels to promote my certification?
Yes, you do. Once you achieve certification, you have a number of options. You will have access to the CertSmart logo which you can use on websites, documents, vehicles etc. But you will also be able to use the LR logo in conjunction with the UKAS accreditation mark (the ‘crown and tick’). This also appears on your certificate. We will send you guidance on when and how you can use the relevant marks, but rest assured, we want you to promote this to drive your competitiveness as much as you do!
- Can I transfer my certification to CertSmart?
Absolutely. If you’re a low-complexity, smaller UK business or start-up and you’re currently certified to ISO 9001 with another UKAS accredited certification body – you could transfer to CertSmart. We are currently finalising the process, but we will be able to transfer qualifying approved clients free of charge. Please contact us if you require more details.