You may have questions...
Is CertSmart right for you?
- What businesses can use CertSmart?
CertSmart has been designed specifically for small and low complexity businesses, such as those that operate from one site and employ fewer than 25 people.
If your organisation falls outside of this definition, CertSmart won’t be right for your business, and we’d recommend getting in touch with Lloyd’s Register to discuss their range of ISO 9001 certification and training services. Get in touch
- 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, and we’d recommend contacting Lloyd’s Register. Get in touch
- Can remote businesses with no central site use CertSmart?
Yes. Businesses that operate remotely with no centralised processing activities can still benefit from CertSmart. Your audit can be done remotely; the most important thing for us is that we are able to access key data, documents, and information about your company.
- What happens if our business grows?
CertSmart has been designed to provide small businesses with a more affordable way to achieve UKAS-accredited ISO 9001 certification.
Since CertSmart is powered by Lloyd’s Register (LR), you will be able to seamlessly transfer over to LR’s standard certification service if your business grows to the point where you operate from multiple locations or have more than 25 full-time employees.
- How can i get started?
The first step on your path to ISO 9001 certification is to define your readiness using our CertSmart checklist. If you’re ready to progress, you can then build a personalised quote via our interactive tool.
Your quote will clearly indicate everything that’s included in the price. Following this, you’ll be able to select an audit timeframe before making your first-year payment. Once this is complete, we’ll confirm your audit date and you’ll receive access to your dashboard where you’ll need to start completing the Stage 1 Audit questionnaire. This will require you to upload key documents and information to your dashboard that will be reviewed prior to your audit. When accessing your dashboard, we recommend using the most up to date version of your web browser.
- How can I check if my business is ready?
Before you can get started with CertSmart, your business must have already designed and implemented a quality management system (QMS) in line with the requirements of ISO 9001. This is because CertSmart is a certification service only.
- Does CertSmart include the design and implementation of a QMS?
No - CertSmart only covers the certification process. If your business doesn’t have a QMS yet, there are a few options for you to 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, but they operate independently.
Alternatively, you could opt for a Gap Analysis. We can provide this, and it takes the form of a remote review of what you have done against what is required. This would help us produce an action plan for your business to address these gaps.
There are other options that give you much greater ownership of your system. These require a greater investment in terms of time and resources, however.
You could, for example, build your knowledge of the standard and how to best implement it by attending an online virtual classroom training course. LR has designed courses ranging in duration specifically for ISO 9001, which you can find here.
You could also buy a copy of the standard in question - in this case, ISO 9001 or its associated best practice guide. These offer support and guidance around system design and implementation and are readily available from many vendors.
- 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 that can be accessed here.
- Why is CertSmart more affordable?
Our digital-led 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 small businesses to achieve UKAS-accredited ISO 9001 certification.
- What does my quote include?
As with all ISO standards, your certification will run in three-year cycles. We charge on an annual basis with your first-year payment starting from as little as £1,400 – this is taken online when your contract is signed and covers your Stage 1 and Stage 2 audit. You’ll then receive an invoice from us annually covering the cost of that year’s surveillance visit.
If we find major nonconformities during your audit, we’ll need to carry out a follow-up. This will be done remotely and charged pro-rata based on the time required.
When you’ve signed your contract and completed your payment, we’ll confirm your audit date, which in most cases will be within four weeks later.
- Are there any extra costs?
With CertSmart, there are no hidden costs--you pay the quoted amount upfront, and you know exactly what you are paying for.
If we do find major nonconformities during your audit, we’ll need to carry out some form of follow up. This will be done remotely and charged pro-rata based on the 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 addressed the findings. If a major nonconformity review needs to take place, it 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. Your first year invoice includes the Stage 1 and Stage 2 audits. You’ll then receive an invoice from us annually covering the cost of that year’s surveillance visit. Typically, over a three year certification period, 50% of the total fees would apply in Year 1 and 25% in Years 2 and 3.
Preparing for your audit
- Is my audit date flexible?
We will always try to accommodate your audit at a time that works best for you. However, we understand that things can change, and if you want to change your audit date, you can. This may cost you a rescheduling fee of £50.00.
- What information do I need to provide?
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. 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. We’ve built guidance into your dashboard, which will support you throughout this process.
- What is a Stage 1 audit?
Your Stage 1 audit is designed to find out if your business is prepared to move on to the next stage of the audit process.
Stage 1 is carried out remotely. You’ll receive access to a personalised dashboard where you can upload any necessary data, documents, and information. Once you have done this, it can be reviewed by your auditor as part of your Stage 1 audit. Your auditor will also speak to you directly about the design of your QMS and its readiness for the Stage 2 audit.
For Stage 1 to be completed, your QMS must at the very least be designed but doesn’t necessarily need to be fully implemented. It must be implemented prior to Stage 2, however.
- What is a Stage 2 audit?
Your Stage 2 audit will evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of your QMS, ensuring that the ISO 9001 certification criteria have been met.
Due to UKAS accreditation requirements, your Stage 2 audit needs to be completed onsite.
Your QMS must be fully implemented for the Stage 2 audit to be completed.
- Do I need any equipment for a remote audit?
No. All you need is access to your desktop, tablet, or phone and a standard broadband connection that can transmit video. If we need to be shown around your site as part of the remote audit, you can simply live stream it to us or 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.
- Are all audits completed remotely?
Accreditation rules regulate the number of remote audits we deliver. At present, we can do Stage 1 and your first surveillance, in year 2, audit remotely. Due to accreditation requirements, your stage 2 audit must be completed onsite.
UKAS Accredited Certification
- Who is CertSmart governed by?
Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance Ltd provides our accredited services and our certifications are backed by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). At CertSmart, we use safe and secure technology that transforms the way certification services are delivered to smaller businesses.
- Non-accredited providers have quoted me a lower price – 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.
- How long does certification take?
There are so many different factors at play when it comes to certification that it can be difficult to answer this question without assessing your business and its readiness first.
However, because we only work with small and low complexity businesses, we have a larger pool of auditors to draw from. This means that in some cases, we can complete ISO 9001 certification in a matter of weeks when a business comes to us with an implemented QMS and is ready to go.
- Do I get a certificate and logo that I can use for promotional purposes?
Yes, you do. Once you achieve certification, you have several options.
Not only will you 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, and we encourage all eligible businesses to do so as they are significant indicators of quality.