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Accreditation Policy for Personnel Certification Accreditation Program

PUBLIC POLICY PCAC-PL-501 Issued: 2016-10-14, Revision: 1

References ANSI-PL-100: ANSI AS Management System Policy Manual
PCAC-PL-502: Operating Policy of the Personnel Certification Accreditation Committee (PCAC)
ISO 9000:2005, Quality management systems - Fundamentals and vocabulary
ISO/IEC 17000:2004, Conformity assessment - Vocabulary and general principles
ISO/IEC 17011:2004, Conformity assessment - General requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies
ISO/IEC 17024:2012, Conformity assessment - General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons
Contents
1Objective
1.1This document serves as the overarching policy for the accreditation of personnel certification bodies (herein, CBs) under ANSI/ISO 17024.
2Definitions
2.1For the purpose of this document, the relevant definitions given in ISO/IEC 17000, Conformity Assessment – Vocabulary and general principles and ISO 9000, Quality management systems – Fundamentals and vocabulary, apply.
3General Provisions
3.1ANSI, in accordance with the Institute’s Bylaws has established the policies and procedures to govern the accreditation of CBs. The principles and criteria of the Personnel Certification Accreditation Program (herein, Program) are similar to the existing ANSI framework for the accreditation of other types of conformity assessment bodies. The structure of ANSI’s governance of the accreditation programs and the documented operations are intended to conform to ISO/IEC 17011 and thereby creating stakeholder confidence in ANSI’s accreditations.
3.2ANSI operates the Program in accordance with ISO/IEC 17011, Conformity assessment – General requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies. The requirements of this document provide the basis for a nationally recognized, open, transparent, and credible accreditation activity that requires applicants’ certification programs to demonstrate integrity and technical and administrative quality.
3.3Policies and criteria that govern the Program are laid out in: this public policy document, PCAC-PL-502: Operating Policy of the Personnel Certification Accreditation Committee (PCAC), ISO/IEC 17011: Conformity assessment – General Requirements for Accreditation Bodies Accrediting Conformity Assessment Bodies, and ANSI-PL-100: ANSI AS Management System Policy Manual. These guides and standards are referenced throughout this document.
3.4The Program requirements, assessments and decisions on accreditation shall be confined to those matters specifically related to the scope of accreditation being considered, the specific requirements of ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024, and other requirements of the Program and / or regulations.
3.5The Personnel Certification Accreditation Committee (herein, PCAC), established by the ANSI Board of Directors, functions in accordance with PCAC-PL-502. PCAC is responsible for the operational aspects of accrediting CBs and related activities of the Institute. ANSI shall ensure that the members of PCAC or other individuals involved in this process abide by all procedures ensuring impartiality throughout the management process and meet the requirements PCAC-PL-502.
3.6The Program shall publicize its accreditation actions including the granting of initial accreditation, extension and reduction of scope, suspension, and withdrawal of accreditation. ANSI shall also make information about the current status of CB accreditations publicly available. This information shall be updated regularly.
3.7Consideration of extending accreditation activities related to the accreditation program shall proceed in accordance with documented procedures that shall include all elements defined in ISO/IEC 17011, clause 4.6.3.
3.8The Program is subject to such organizational provisions as organizational structure, legal responsibility, impartiality, confidentiality, conflict of interest, liability, financing, modification of accreditation activity and related requirements, as well as the management system and personnel-related policies stipulated in ANSI-PL-100.
3.9Any non-editorial modifications to this policy document must be approved by PCAC.
4Preliminary Application
4.1CBs interested in obtaining the Program accreditation shall be required to submit a preliminary application in which they shall demonstrate that they meet the following eligibility requirements: confirm status as a legal entity, demonstrate documented authority as an independent third-party certifier of personnel and have a clearly published scope of certification.
4.2Upon receipt of the preliminary application, ANSI staff shall confirm receipt and conduct the review upon which the preliminary applicant may be approved, rejected, or required to submit additional information.
4.3Approved preliminary applicants shall be required to submit a full application within a designated time period. If a preliminary applicant has not submitted a full application within the specified timeframe, a new preliminary application shall be required.
5Application for Accreditation
5.1A formal application for accreditation shall be made by a duly authorized representative of the applicant CB. The application shall, as a minimum, include:
a)general features of the CB — including corporate entity, name, addresses, legal status, and human / technical resources;
b)general information concerning the CB such as its activities, relationship to a larger corporate entity, if any, and addresses of all its physical location(s) to be covered by the scope of accreditation;
c)a clearly defined requested scope of accreditation;
d)a description of the certification program including limits of capability where applicable;
e)a copy (on paper or in electronic form) of the quality manual of the CB and relevant associated documents and records; and
f)an agreement to fulfill the requirements for accreditation and other obligations of the CB, as described in 8.1 of ISO/IEC 17011.
5.2The applicant shall be required to submit the application fee and signed Accreditation Agreement before ANSI commences the review process of the initial application.
5.3ANSI shall review the application materials for completeness and request additional information if necessary. Failure to supply adequate materials shall be grounds for application dismissal.
5.4In accordance with the PCAC procedures, ANSI shall conduct a review of its capability to carry out the assessment in a technically competent and timely manner.
5.5The application, supporting documents, and correspondences shall be in English.
6Preparation for Assessment
6.1If a decision is made to subcontract the assessment, such subcontracting shall be undertaken in accordance with Program procedures and in full compliance with ISO/IEC 17011, clause 7.4.
6.2ANSI staff shall formally appoint an assessment team in accordance with the Program procedures. The appointed assessment team shall meet ANSI qualifications to undertake the assessment of the applicant.
6.3Selected members of the assessment team should have no conflicts of interest with the applicant; assessors that have provided consultancy to the applicant shall not be chosen. The applicant shall be given an opportunity to review the assessment team candidates and reject one or more candidates due to conflict of interest.
6.4ANSI staff shall provide the approved assessment team with the necessary information, including a copy of the application and previous assessment records to conduct the document review and the subsequent assessment of the applicant CB.
6.5The assessment team shall conduct a document review in accordance with the Program procedures. Based on the document review, ANSI may decide to proceed or not proceed with the onsite assessment in which case the applicant CB shall be provided with the nonconformities (herein, NCRs) identified during the document review.
6.6ANSI may conduct an informational visit in agreement with the applicant in accordance with the Program procedures. No consultancy shall be provided during such visits.
6.7Sampling of the sites to be visited shall be determined in accordance with Program procedures. Such procedures shall ensure that a representative number of assessments have been conducted for proper evaluation of the applicant CB. ANSI shall assess all the CB premises where key activities (per ISO/IEC 17011, clause 7.5.7) are conducted.
6.8The assessment team shall work with the applicant to schedule the onsite assessment visit(s) at headquarters and / or key locations as applicable. Assessors shall develop and supply the applicant with the assessment plan in accordance with the Program procedures.
7Onsite Assessment
7.1The onsite assessment shall commence with an opening meeting based on the requirements of Program procedures.
7.2The ANSI assessment team shall conduct the onsite assessment(s) in accordance with the Program procedures, and gather sufficient evidence about the applicant’s compliance with ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 and other relevant policies and procedures.
7.3The ANSI assessment team shall analyze the findings and prepare the statements of NCRs and / or opportunities for improvement (herein, OFIs), if applicable. OFIs shall not constitute consultancy
7.4The ANSI assessment team shall refer back to ANSI staff if clarification is needed.
7.5The ANSI assessment team shall conduct a closing meeting at which the results of the assessment, including NCRs and OFIs shall be presented to the applicant CB.
8Assessment Report
8.1Subsequent to the onsite assessment, assessors shall prepare appropriate reports in accordance with the Program procedures. These reports shall document the assessments conducted and include references to any NCRs or OFIs identified. The lead assessor’s report shall cover items (a) through (k) of ISO/IEC 17011, clause 7.8.6 with the exception of item (h). ANSI shall bear ultimate responsibility for the assessment report.
8.2The reports shall be provided to the applicant CB with an invitation to comment on their factual accuracy.
8.3The CB shall be required to provide the proposed corrective action plans and submit evidence of implementation of these plans for the NCRs identified. OFIs do not require a response. If a CB responds to an OFI, the assessor will respond and close the OFI within thirty days. The assessor(s) or staff will close an OFI if the CB does not respond within 30 days. ANSI may require that subsequent follow-up assessment(s) are conducted based on such factors as severity of the NCRs identified or the timeframe in which the corrective actions were implemented.
8.4The CB may appeal one or more NCRs.
9Decision on Accreditation
9.1When assessors determine that the applicant CB has satisfied all the requirements for accreditation, staff shall convene the Evaluation Task Group (herein, ETG) of PCAC and provide the ETG members with all the necessary information, including the assessment reports, results of the resolution of NCRs, and any other pertinent information.
9.2For those cases when an assessment was conducted by, or with participation of, another accreditation body, procedures shall ensure that the accreditation body operated in accordance with ISO/IEC 17011 and in a manner acceptable to the Program.
9.3The recommendation of the ETG shall be reviewed by PCAC whose members, barring the exceptions due to conflict of interest and confidentiality, shall be provided with the assessment reports and results of the resolution of NCRs. This review may take place during the PCAC meetings or remotely by individual members. After the PCAC members have ensured that all the necessary information has been provided to them, PCAC will then vote without undue delay on accreditation of the applicant in accordance with PCAC-PL-502 and other Program procedures.
9.4ANSI staff shall promptly notify the applicant CB of the PCAC decision.
9.5If accreditation is granted, ANSI shall:
a)issue a certificate of accreditation in accordance with the Program procedures. This certificate shall comply with ISO/IEC 17011, clauses 7.9.4 and 7.9.5;
b)update ANSICA and the accreditation directory in accordance with Program procedures; and
c)publicize the accreditation action in accordance with Program procedures. If warranted, feedback received from the public may serve as basis for an extraordinary assessment by ANSI on the newly accredited CB.
9.6ANSI may withhold actions outlined in items (a) through (c) until the CB has paid all outstanding invoices to ANSI.
9.7If accreditation is not granted, the CB shall be notified of its further options including its right to appeal the PCAC decision.
9.8Appeals against the decisions of the Program shall be processed in accordance with ANSI appeals procedures.
10Continuing Accreditation — Surveillance and Reassessment
10.1The accreditation is granted for a 5 year period. Reassessment shall proceed similarly to the initial assessment, except that the experience gained during previous assessments shall be taken into account. ANSI shall ensure that the assessors are provided with these relevant records.
10.2Surveillance assessment of the accredited CB shall be conducted in accordance with the Program procedures every year except the year in which the CB undergoes reassessment. The purpose of surveillance assessments is to monitor the continued compliance of accredited CBs with appropriate ANSI policies.
10.3Surveillance assessment shall focus on assessing CB’s continued conformance with the accreditation requirements. The surveillance assessment shall include a document review every year and onsite assessments in years 1 and 3. Onsite assessments may be conducted in other years of the accreditation cycle if a need is determined by ANSI. Surveillance onsite assessments shall be planned taking into account other surveillance activities.
10.4All CB premises from which one or more key activities are performed shall be assessed at least once within the 5 year accreditation cycle.
10.5ANSI requires the CB to propose the corrective action plan and a target implementation date within a limited timeframe for all NCRs identified during reassessment and surveillance activities.
10.6ANSI decisions on continuing accreditation shall be made by PCAC based on the results of reassessment or surveillance and in accordance with PCAC-PL-502 and Program procedures.
10.7ANSI may conduct extraordinary assessment(s) on accredited CBs for the following reasons:
a)significant organizational changes;
b)request for scope extension;
c)severity and / or multitude of NCRs identified during previous assessments;
d)complaints received against the subject CB;
e)relationships that cause real or perceived conflicts of interest;
f)other conditions deemed appropriate by the PCAC ETG.
10.8The provision related to extraordinary assessments shall be incorporated into the agreement of accreditation with the CBs in order to inform them of this possibility.
10.9Accredited CBs shall be assessed an annual fee in accordance with the Program fee schedule.
11Conditions for Reducing, Suspending, or Withdrawing Accreditation
11.1The CB may apply to request extension of the scope of ANSI accreditation. ANSI shall conduct due assessment based on the requirements of the new scope(s) which may include an onsite assessment.
11.2Decision on extension of scope shall be made by PCAC in accordance with Program procedures once the CB has closed all NCRs related to the new scopes and paid all the fees related to scope extension.
11.3Based on the Program procedures, accreditation of the CB may be reduced, suspended or withdrawn by PCAC for a persistent failure of the accredited CB to abide by relevant standards and ANSI policies and procedures.
11.4The CB may request ANSI to reduce or suspend its scope of accreditation or voluntarily withdraw from accreditation.

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