We understand the importance of our mission to provide impartial and highly transparent assessment services for management system certifications/registrations.
Being in conformance to the international standards, specific requirements and related laws and regulatory requirements, we manage the interests that could have influence on impartiality and ensure objective management system certification/registration activities.
Japan Quality Assurance Organization
Executive Officer, Management Systems
ISO/IEC 17021-1 which is an international standard for the operation of management system certification bodies (hereinafter referred to as "certification bodies") requires certification bodies to have competence to conduct certification/registration activities in an impartial manner against the backdrop of broadening certifications/registrations worldwide. Key points of ISO/IEC 17021-1 and actions taken by JQA fitting with the intents of the standard are here below introduced.
The aim of the third party certification scheme is to give confidence to all interested parties that "the management system of certified organization fulfils specified requirements". For making this come true, impartial and objective assessments by certification bodies are required. As principles for certification bodies to provide the confidence, 1) Impartiality, 2) Competence, 3) Responsibility, 4) Openness, 5) Confidentiality, 6) Responsiveness to complaints and 7) Risk-based approach are specified in ISO/IEC 17021-1.
For certification body to provide reliable assessment, being impartial is most necessary. It is recognized that the source of revenue for a certification body is its client paying for certification, and that this is a potential threat to impartiality. An impartial assessment standing on a neutral position not influenced by interests or other pressures is what most concerned.
It is most important for JQA to be trusted by our clients' customers or by market and society that our assessment and certification/registration is impartial and neutral. This is achieved by ensuring impartiality through constant monitoring of conflict of interests, structure to address those conflicts and organizing a committee for impartiality consisted by external members. These enable auditors to perform appropriately without conflict of interests.
For development of auditor competence, there is a need to improve auditor capability or technical skills by holding an organizational system for auditor education and training.
JQA identifies auditor competence and for its maintenance and improvement, we formulate a structure for auditor education, training and evaluation.
Certification bodies have the responsibility to "assess the conformity to requirements".
JQA lays a system determining definite responsibility and authority of the respective audit team throughout the certification/registration process.
Transparency is realized by disclosure of appropriate information and their availability. It is required to open appropriate information to interested parties on the registration status of all registered organizations in addition to assessment process and registration process.
JQA now discloses "organizations in suspension" and "procedures for handling complaints and appeals" for ensuring transparency of our certification/registration scheme.
Any information obtained through assessments must be kept confidential.
For keeping information obtained during assessment activities as confidential as it is to be, development of data security systems and personnel education are continued in JQA.
Complaints from registered organizations and from those who are using products or services by the registered organizations should be appropriately and effectively responded.
Publicizing procedures for handling complaints or appeals, JQA has established its system in responding appropriately to such complaints from the registered organizations or their customers.
Certification body is required to consider the risks relevant to assessment services in order to provide impartial audit and certification activities based upon indispensable competence during all phases of the activities.
JQA evaluates the risks influencing our assessment services, and eliminates or minimizes the risks continuously.