Impartiality is one of the fundamental principles in the certification of management systems, essential for maintaining the trust of all stakeholders in the certification process.
The INCERT Certification Body has implemented impartiality policies and established an Impartiality Committee to ensure the fullest degree of impartiality in the certification process. The staff of the certification body (internal and external) and the Committee always act impartially and do not allow any commercial, financial or other pressure to influence their decisions.
We understand that the source of our income is our clients who pay for certification services which may be perceived as a potential threat to our impartiality.
Our clients pay not for certification but the services of the INCERT certification body related to audit and assessment of compliance. A certificate is issued following the certification procedures and only after the compliance of the implemented system with the audited standard has been confirmed.
To maintain confidence in the certification process, we ensure that the decisions of the management system certification body are based solely on objective evidence of compliance (or non-compliance) established during an audit and also that these decisions are not influenced by other interests or by other parties.
INCERT, its certification body or any other parts of the company or related companies do not offer or provide management system consultancy and do not offer or perform internal audits of clients of the certification body. In addition, the certification body does not subcontract audits to management systems consultancy organisations.
Committee members represent the key stakeholders in such a way as to ensure a balance of interests. For example, the stakeholders in the certification process are clients of the certification body, clients of organisations with management systems are certified, trade industry associations, non-governmental organisations, etc.
To enable a broader representation, representatives of interested parties may participate in the work of the Committee by expressing in writing their interest and providing information demonstrating that they represent a specific interested party. Once their representativeness has been confirmed, they will receive an invitation to join the Committee.
The representatives of the interested parties will receive an invitation to participate in the Committee from the Manager. It is recommended that representatives of the stakeholders know the certification and conformity assessment of management systems. In the case of an already functioning Committee, the Manager shall contact the Committee members in force to obtain their approval.
The Impartiality Committee has the following responsibilities and authorities:
- to support the development of the impartiality policy of certification activities;
- to counteract any tendency of the certification body to allow commercial or other conditions to influence the consistent and objective provision of certification;
- to advise on matters affecting trust in certification, including good name and openness;
- to review and approve the Impartiality Risk Management Programme and its subsequent updates;
- to review at least once a year the impartiality of audit and certification processes and the certification decisions taken by the certification body.