To find out which IANZ accreditation programme is right for your organisation, the first step is to contact us. Our accreditation services team will send you guidance on where to begin, including helpful information and the right documents and forms from this website to get you started.
You can request an advisory visit by an IANZ accreditation assessor to review your organisation’s existing systems and procedures and/or to explain accreditation and the accreditation process in more detail. This service is provided at the normal IANZ hourly professional fee plus expenses.
The benefit of this visit, is that we can give advice on your organisation’s readiness for the initial assessment and any aspects of the management systems that need further development. However, as an independent, third-party assessor, IANZ cannot provide detailed advice or assist directly with any system development that is in the nature of consultation. That means, we can explain what you need to do, but not how to do it.
If you have had no formal contact with IANZ before, we strongly recommend an advisory visit. The cost will be more than recovered by savings in time throughout the initial assessment and accreditation process.
Accreditation is fundamentally an independent assessment of the competence of an organisation to perform specified technical tasks, and is based on the principles of peer review. The accreditation standards and technical criteria provide a standardised framework for the peer review process. Organisations seeking accreditation by IANZ will need to document their technical and quality systems in a manual (or other alternative set of procedures) describing how their operation meets the standards and criteria.
The objective of an IANZ assessment is to confirm that your organisation is doing what your manuals say you will do, and that it meets the standards and criteria for good practice in your particular technical discipline. While IANZ must maintain its independence as a third-party accreditation body, we always seeks to establish and maintain positive and mutually beneficial relationships with our clients.
IANZ encourages organisations to consider the positive, helpful elements of the assessment and to regard it as an opportunity to obtain professional, technical and quality management advice. Our assessment team is not there to find fault. One of our roles is to provide helpful comments and suggestions to enable your organisation to maintain an effective technical and quality system. The assessment is a fact-finding exercise undertaken jointly by your staff and our assessment team.
Formal application and document review
Formal application for accreditation must be made on the application forms available on the programme pages of this website. Before the initial assessment, it's essential that enough background information is provided to enable our assessors to properly define the specific activities for the accreditation you are seeking, and to select appropriate technical expert(s) and brief them prior to their visit to you. The necessary information is requested in the 'Application for Accreditation' form and an 'Accreditation Questionnaire' - both should be returned together. Key information requested includes the specific tasks (tests, calibrations, inspections, examinations, etc.) for your accreditation, copies of the management system documentation and technical procedures, and information on accommodation (facilities, buildings, rooms and the like), equipment and quality control activities.
When your complete application has been received, the lead assessor will conduct a formal review of the documentation, prior to organising the initial assessment. The review will consist of a non-technical assessment of documentation submitted (particularly the management system policies and procedures and technical procedures) against the requirements of the accreditation standard and technical criteria. If significant deficiencies are identified during the document review, you will be notified and asked to submit revised documentation for further review.
Progress to the next stage cannot take place until the lead assessor is satisfied that your documented intentions substantially meet accreditation requirements (but this is not a guarantee that no further issues will be identified with documentation at a later stage). When this is done, the lead assessor will contact you to arrange a suitable date for the assessment and to discuss the proposed technical experts.
The assessment team
A typical assessment team consists of a lead assessor and one or more technical experts. These experts are generally sourced from outside IANZ and are selected for technical expertise that matches the scope or part of the specific technical activities you are seeking accreditation for, and as an independent and impartial peer of your organisation.
You have the right to veto the use of particular technical experts proposed for any assessment, provided the reasons are valid, e.g. conflict of interest. Once approved and appointed, each team member signs a confidentiality agreement to ensure the confidentiality of material provided or discovered as a result of the assessment.
The on-site assessment
The objective of an IANZ assessment is to give you every opportunity to demonstrate that your organisation’s systems and processes comply with the requirements of accreditation, and that it consistently produces valid and reliable conformity assessment results, reports and/or certificates.
Entry Meeting: The assessment begins with a meeting between the assessment team and the senior staff of your organisation. This entry meeting provides an opportunity for introductions, confirmation of the scope of accreditation sought and assessment timetable, and to resolve any immediate queries that either party may have.
Information gathering: The majority of time during the assessment will involve gathering information about the operation of the activities you are seeking accreditation for. The assessment team will focus on the technical operations that support the results produced by your organisation, and the quality system (as defined in the accreditation standard and technical criteria). Information gathered will include, but is not limited to, review of records, discussions with management and technical personnel, and the observation of activities within the scope of accreditation.
The team may wish to witness tests/inspections or other work relevant to the scope. This fact finding stage is intended to establish whether or not systems are being operated as intended by the documented management system, and whether all staff are familiar with systems and procedures to the degree required for their role in the organisation. Should any issues be identified, the assessment team will look to discuss these with you during the fact finding stage, so there are no surprises at the exit meeting.
Assessment Team Meeting: Following the information gathering stage, assessment team members will meet privately to review and compare their notes and summarise their findings in preparation for the Exit Meeting. The lead assessor is responsible for deciding whether a finding should be cited as a nonconformance against the accreditation criteria. During this meeting, further questions may arise which may require further clarification by the applicant organisation’s personnel.
Exit Meeting: The on-site assessment will end with an exit meeting where you are given a summary of the findings, including details of any areas of nonconformance that have been found. A short written report outlining the areas of nonconformance will be left with you. Guidance will be given on the type of evidence required to satisfy IANZ that nonconformance has been satisfactorily addressed. The lead assessor will also provide information about the next steps in the accreditation process.
The assessment report
The lead assessor will prepare a written report summarising the assessment findings which were discussed at the exit meeting; typically within ten working days of the assessment visit. In addition to descriptive material, the report will generally place the findings into two categories:
1. Specific areas of nonconformance (against the accreditation criteria or your own documented policies and procedures) that your organisation needs to address before accreditation can be granted.
2. Recommendations or suggestions from the assessment team on areas that could benefit from improvement. Organisations are encouraged to consider these recommendations in the interests of good practice and continuous improvement.
Responding to the report
IANZ does not impose a timescale on the effective resolution of nonconformance raised during initial assessments, however accreditation will not be granted until all such instances have been addressed to our satisfaction. Resolution of nonconformance typically involves the submission of documentation, records or written undertakings to IANZ. However, the method of clearance will depend on the nature and severity of the issue raised. At the discretion of the lead assessor, a further on-site visit, with or without a technical expert, may be required to confirm that actions taken by the applicant organisation to address nonconformances have been effectively implemented.
The accreditation decision
Once the lead assessor is satisfied that all specific areas of non-conformance have been appropriately and satisfactorily resolved, the assessment ‘file’ is then subject to further technical peer review by IANZ management and the relevant professional advisory committee. Once any/all queries arising from this process have been addressed, the organisation is offered accreditation. IANZ then grants accreditation after you confirm that your organisation will continue to operate in accordance with accreditation criteria while accredited, and once all fees have been paid.
Maintaining your accreditation
Once you are accredited, your organisation becomes part of our programme of scheduled on-site assessment visits. These visits ensure that the technical and quality systems continue to meet the criteria for accreditation and continue to work effectively. IANZ reserves the right, however, to undertake an extra assessment activity at any time, should evidence suggest that this may be necessary. The schedule of on-site assessment visits will typically involve an on-site assessment each year, of varying intensity at different years, that ensures the full accreditation criteria are assessed over a four year cycle.
In some special accreditation programmes, particularly in the regulatory sector, the period may be reduced. For each of the assessment activities, on-site assessment and reporting procedures resemble those at initial assessments, but once accredited there is a limit on the time organisations may take to carry out any requested changes as a result of nonconformance.
Getting the best out of being accredited by IANZ requires all staff to be familiar with the standards and processes that well-managed laboratories and inspection bodies operate to. That is why IANZ has the New Zealand Quality College (NZQC), to provide training in all aspects of accreditation.
Courses of between one and five days are held, mainly in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The same courses can also be held within a company, which has the advantage of the course being tailored to suit the company and savings in the cost.