There are a number of steps involved in the accreditation process. The requirements of accreditation vary depending on the type of accreditation that is being pursued, but the process is similar for all types of accreditation. This page outlines the steps in the process to help you understand what to expect.
1. Review the relevant Accreditation Requirements documentation
Before applying for accreditation, review all of the Accreditation Requirements program carefully. This will ensure that you are as prepared as possible when you begin completing your application.
2. Request an application package
When ready to apply, you may request an application package from SCC.
3. Complete and submit your application
The application package requires general information on your organization’s operations, as well as some background and technical documentation. Once you have compiled the necessary documentation, submit it with the completed application form. Payment of an application fee is required at this time. All application information submitted is treated confidentially.
4. Initial review
Applications are processed by SCC. The initial review includes:
- Check for completeness (if any information is missing or incomplete, we will contact you)
- Determining whether the assessment can be carried out within one year form the date the complete application is received
- Risk assessment of the applicant, which could include a credit check.
If we determine that your application can proceed, we will inform you and the accreditation process will start. If your application is not accepted, we will communicate with you and share the details as to why the application was not accepted.
5. Review of assessment documents
Next, SCC will perform a review of the documents you submitted and verify whether your management system, policies, and procedures meet the relevant requirements of the accreditation program applied for and your readiness for accreditation. If any nonconformity arises from this review, the reviewer will contact you and request that you submit responses to the required actions. SCC may recommend a pre-assessment visit if it feels it is necessary following the identification of significant deficiencies with the submitted information.
6. Site assessment
Before the necessary site assessments are scheduled, an estimate of the costs of the fees for the initial accreditation will be prepared and payment required by the applicant before the onsite assessment is scheduled.
SCC will visit all of your fixed office locations where key activities are performed and/or managed, or from which remote personnel performing key activities are managed, and/or where records are kept. Where appropriate, SCC will also visit your fixed office locations where other activities covered by the requirements of the relevant conformity assessment standard(s) are performed, or from which personnel performing these activities are managed. The assessment team will include assessors, technical experts and observers. During the on-site assessment, the SCC accreditation team will require access to information demonstrating conformity to the accreditation requirements. If nonconformities (NCRs) are found, it is required that evidence of corrections is provided for the NCRs. You will need to ensure the availability of the required information. The assessment team will take detailed notes on your operations, all relevant documents and records.
7. Closing meeting
When the site assessment is completed, the SCC team will consolidate their notes and findings into a “Findings Report” for presentation to you at a closing meeting. The Lead Assessor will lead the closing meeting and present the Findings Report and ensure that it is understood. At the conclusion of the closing meeting, you will be provided with an electronic copy of the Findings Report. You will be asked to formally acknowledge receipt of the Findings Report. If there is disagreement regarding any of the findings, they should be discussed and resolved while the team is on-site. If not resolved, all opinions will be recorded and reported to SCC. You are encouraged to involve senior management in both the opening and closing meetings.
8. Addressing assessment findings
Following the closing meeting, you will be instructed to respond to the findings with an initial plan of action within one month (30 days) of receipt of the Findings Report. Once your initial plan of action relative to each finding has been submitted, SCC will have 10 business days to review and respond to the plan. If the plan is deemed incomplete or unsatisfactory, you will have up to two more attempts to get the plan right before additional actions may be taken by SCC. You then need to implement corrective actions and submit evidence of corrections to SCC. These all need to be complete and approved within 90 days of receipt of the findings report.
9. Accreditation review and decision
Once all NCRs have been resolved to the satisfaction of the Lead Assessor, the team will prepare the final accreditation report including a recommendation as to whether the applicant has met the requirements of accreditation. SCC will then review the report and other supporting documentation and following this internal review, SCC’s Vice President, Accreditation Services or their delegate will make the final decision to grant accreditation (or continue accreditation for an already accredited customer).
10. Notification of accreditation
We will advise you of our decision and provide documented justification if the result is to not grant accreditation (you may appeal this decision).
Once the final accreditation decision has been made, SCC will then prepare an Accreditation Agreement for you that all customers are required to sign. SCC will also provide accreditation symbols applicable to the accreditation program, which you can use in future promotional campaigns. SCC will also prepare for the customer an official “SCC Certificate of Accreditation.” It will be signed by the Vice President, Accreditation Services, and affixed with the SCC seal. SCC will post a notice of your accreditation on its website and provide the certificate once it is signed.
Once you have been granted accreditation, the accreditation cycle will commence and there will be activities at regular intervals going forward. These activities can include reassessment visits, surveillance visits, and witness audits. Additionally, SCC will assess each applicable Fixed Office Location identified on the customer’s Scope of Accreditation at least once per accreditation cycle, as indicated in the Accreditation Cycle Plan. Finally, you can choose to either expand or reduce the scope of your accreditation.