How is the assessment prepared?
In the application phase, your application for accreditation was formally reviewed by Central Application Processing. The responsible DAkkS case manager has also reviewed your application with respect to completeness and technical details and asked you to submit the required documents. What happens next?
Scope of assessment and assessment team
DAkkS reviews the submitted documents for completeness and plausibility, determines the required scope of assessment and prepares the next steps. These include in particular arrangements concerning:
- The selection and composition of the assessment team
- The duration of the on-site assessment
- The samples required for the assessment
- The nature and extent of witness activities required, and
- The further framework conditions for the assessment where applicable
The case manager informs the conformity assessment body about the arrangements and the assessors envisaged for the process, including the organisations to which the external assessors in the assessment team belong. Any objections must be raised at this stage.
Preparation of the assessment on the basis of the documents
On the basis of the documents submitted, the assessors carry out a document review. The goal is to establish whether the conformity assessment body fulfils the essential requirements on the basis of the submitted documents.
This review may also conclude that there are deviations from the requirements and that a planned assessment needs to be cancelled or postponed. An assessment only takes place when the review of the documents – which is repeated if necessary – has shown that there are no nonconformities that would stand in the way of the assessment on site.
The procedure for the on-site assessment is set out in the assessment plan, which is made available in advance. The scope and duration of the on-site assessment depend on a number of factors: the size of the body, the scope of accreditation sought, the complexity of the procedure and others.
The assessment can be carried out from start to finish at the same time or broken up into several parts on different dates.
How does the on-site assessment work?
The goal of on-site assessment is to verify the documented processes and procedures in place and the technical competence of the people involved on the premises of the body to be accredited.
The on-site assessment takes place at the locations and on the premises where the conformity assessment body provides its services. Each assessment begins with an opening meeting at which matters including its purpose, the underlying criteria and the assessment plan are explained.
During the assessment, the assessment team verifies the processes described in the documentation in terms of their practical implementation and assesses the relevant accreditation criteria by examining documents and samples, by interviewing staff or by observing the activities to be accredited.
To enable this, the assessment team must be granted access to all premises, records and documents relevant to the accreditation, – including personnel records if access is necessary to assess the requirements for accreditation. The DAkkS assessors and technical experts are obliged to treat all data to which they are given access in the course of their work for DAkkS confidentially.
The assessment ends with a closing meeting with the representatives of the conformity assessment body, at which the assessment team presents the result of the assessment, explains and documents any deviations from the accreditation requirements and informs the representatives about the progress of the procedure.
A witness assessment includes observation of the specific conformity assessment activities by an assessor. It may also involve the client assessment being carried out at locations outside the body’s premises. As a rule, witness activities of this kind take place on additional dates.
What does the follow-up to the assessment include?
DAkkS sends the reports on the assessment activities to the conformity assessment body.
If deviations from the accreditation requirements were found during the on-site assessment, the assessed body conducts an analysis of cause and extent for each deviation. The conformity assessment body is then given the opportunity to define appropriate corrective action and to demonstrate its effective implementation within specified time limits. Follow-up assessments on site are possible.
Who do I contact with my questions during the assessment phase?
The first points of contact for questions concerning the assessment phase are the DAkkS case managers. As a rule, each accreditation case is assigned a fixed case manager from the relevant division in order to enable efficient communication and coordination.