To ensure the independence of standard-setting and evaluation, most certification schemes appoint a third-party accreditation body to assess the qualification of certification bodies for their system. Accreditation by SAAS is a formal, third party recognition of competence to deliver social audits. It provides a means to identify a proven, competent auditing company so that the selection is an informed choice. Usually the reason for getting something independently evaluated is to confirm it meets specific requirements in order to reduce risks.
Benefits of Accreditation
Certification bodies (CBs) need to be accredited to assure stakeholders that these companies are able to consistently and reliably perform a certification audit and that these audits are carried out in a professional manner. Accreditation provides independence that contributes to impartial assessments of all bodies within the system.
The purpose of accreditation is to assure that auditing bodies are competent to do the work they undertake and that their audit practices are undertaken impartially, competently and effectively, reducing risk to the system. Owners of social and environmental audit systems need to ensure that the audit system meets its intended purpose and that third party validation is performed by audit companies qualified to do so. Accreditation provides validation that the system fulfills its intended requirements.
Accreditation by SAAS assures stakeholders that CBs have been assessed against internationally recognized standards and are able to effectively and professionally conduct audits. Accreditation provides a framework to evaluate an accredited CB and requires that the CB is consistent in its methods and practices. Certification by a SAAS-accredited CB lends greater credibility to the organization – both the CB and certified organization must adhere to a set of requirements to assure compliance with expected standards.
If you are seeking SA8000 certification…
Check the SAAS website to ensure you are working with a SAAS-accredited SA8000 certification body—these are the only audit firms authorized to issue valid SA8000 certificates. Go to list of accredited SA8000 certification bodies.
If you are looking to source from an SA8000-certified facility…
Check your supplier’s certificate to confirm it has the SAAS seal (right). All accredited CBs are required to include this seal on the certificates they issue.
You can also check the public list of certified facilities maintained by SAAS. Note that this list may not include facilities certified within the last quarter.
The Value of Accredited Certification Survey Report
This report from the International Accreditation Forum captures market feedback on the value of certification, drivers for seeking certification, selection criteria for certification services, and the positive outcomes of certification.