Surveillance phase Step 5 of the accreditation process
The accreditation has been granted – what happens next? In the surveillance phase, there is a regular review as to whether the competence confirmed in the accreditation decision remains in place. Here you can find out how surveillance works, how an accreditation is confirmed or renewed and what the consequences of any loss of competence can be.
How and why are accreditations that have been granted monitored?
Accreditation cycle and surveillance
Once a positive decision has been reached in a case and an accreditation has been granted, the accreditation cycle begins. During this period, the conformity assessment body is “monitored” by DAkkS at regular intervals.
This ensures that an accredited body continues to fulfil the requirements relevant to it within the defined scope and can be classified as technically competent.
Procedure for surveillance
The surveillance assessments are prepared and implemented as described in step 3 of the accreditation process (assessments).
Further arrangements concerning surveillance
Surveillance is also governed by the following principles:
Requirements of regulators or standards organisations
Additional requirements of power-conferring authorities or standards organisations (for example for certification bodies for products) regarding the scope and frequency of surveillance activities are taken into account.
In justified cases and for specific reasons, surveillance intervals may be shortened. This may be the result for example of recommendations of the assessment team or a decision made by the Accreditation Committee or DAkkS.
In justified cases, extraordinary surveillance is also possible at any time.
Outcome of surveillance
If the surveillance assessment was successful, DAkkS confirms maintenance of the accreditation – the accredited body has proven that it fulfils the requirements in the area assessed. If deficiencies are found during the surveillance assessments which cannot be eliminated by corrective action, the Accreditation Committee decides on the next steps. The decision may lead to the reduction, suspension or revocation of the accreditation.
What happens at the end of an accreditation cycle?
For unlimited accreditations, a reassessment is required at the end of an accreditation cycle. The reassessment has the same scope as an assessment for the granting of an accreditation and must cover all requirements of standards and the entire scope. The procedure is as described in step 3 of the accreditation process (assessments).
If a limited accreditation has been granted – for example because a legal basis provides for a time limit – DAkkS will give notice of expiry of the accreditation in good time. Reaccreditation requires a new application from the accredited body. The procedure for reaccreditation is largely the same as the process described for accreditation.
Termination of an accreditation
Conformity assessment bodies may decide to terminate their accreditation either before or at the end of the accreditation cycle. In this case, the accreditation is revoked, the entry in the database of accredited bodies is removed and the case is closed.
Can accreditations be reduced, suspended or withdrawn?
If the outcome of an assessment or other information indicate that a body is no longer competent or is in serious breach of its duties, DAkkS may also reduce, suspend or withdraw an accreditation that has been previously granted. Loss of competence or serious breaches of duty may arise for example in the following situations:
- Essential accreditation requirements (e.g. personnel, facilities, premises) are not fulfilled or repeated breach of requirements of standards
- Deliberate deception on the part of the accreditation body through the provision of false or incomplete information that is essential for the assessment
- Conditions that have been imposed are not fulfilled even after a set period of grace
Decisions on suspension, reduction or withdrawal are taken by the DAkkS Accreditation Committee.
Who do I contact with my questions during the surveillance phase?
The first points of contact for questions concerning the surveillance 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.