How the Process Works
The INA is a largely volunteer-driven effort to provide affordable certification accreditation services to small to mid-sized certification programs. With this in mind, we have created an affordable, common-sense driven, non-bureaucratic process to evaluate your industry credentials against international standards.
INA’s Accreditation Process:
Contact us and let’s discuss if this program is right for your organization:
The evaluation process is very comprehensive and will require a substantial investment of time (and some money) on the part of your organization and staff.
So give us a call or send us an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can discuss the particulars of your certification program(s). There is no charge for this initial discussion and no obligation to continue any further in the process.
Complete the formal application:
If, after discussions, you decide the INA accreditation program is right for your organization, complete the formal application form (found on this website). This will get process started. There is a ________ non-refundable application fee required before we will begin to process your application.
Upon receipt and approval of your application, the INA Board of Directors will assign an Accreditation Review Committee (ARC) to your organization. A comprehensive program evaluation package will be sent to you, and the Chair of the ARC will contact you to more completely review the process and answer any questions you may have after you have had time to look over the package.
PLEASE NOTE: Unlike some accreditation bodies, INA does NOT require a separate application and evaluation for each certification program your organization may offer – provided the same administrative processes apply to all your submitted certification schemes.
In other words, if your association offers multiple certifications in varied or related specialties, but they are not separately incorporated, follow the same or similar development, oversight, quality control and administrative processes – then the single application and evaluation fee will cover the accreditation of all the programs on offer.
Organizations that administer multiple agencies (different administrative structure or process) will be required to submit multiple applications. However in some circumstances, the site visit for the multiple agencies can be combined.
Submit required documentation.
As part of the certification review process, the INA standard requires that certain documentation be in place. Your program evaluation package will walk you step-by-step through the process, letting you know what information and documentation we will need to adequately review your certification program(s).
It is normal that during the review process you will be asked to clarify responses or add more information. This back-and-forth discussion will be facilitated by the chair of the review committee.
Once all parties have agreed that the application is complete and meets the criteria as set forth by the INA standard, then an on-site inspection will be scheduled.
Onsite Inspection of the Organization’s Facilities:
After our team has reviewed the submitted documentation (and all is in order and verified), representatives of the ARC will visit your site.
Prior to this visit, you will be required to pay the _________ site assessment fee. You will also be asked to pay any travel expenses incurred by the assessors (normally two persons for one or two days). We will work with you to minimize travel costs.
During this site visit we will observe and verify that your certification operations meet or exceed industry norms. We will meet with staff, verify processes, facilities, security and operational efficiency.
If any deficiencies or omissions in processes are observed, our team will make corrective recommendations. We also have a number of policy and procedure documents that we can provide that will not only bring your organization into compliance with industry norms, but will (hopefully) increase the quality of services you provide to your certification holders.
Assuming the ARC team finds that your certification program meets the INA standard (after any corrective measures have been adopted), the team will make a recommendation of approval to the INA Board of Directors.
Accreditation of your Certification Program(s)
At the next meeting of the INA Board of Directors (generally held monthly), the Board will hear the recommendation of the ARC. Assuming all is in order and the ARC’s recommendation is approved, the Board will issue a certificate of accreditation to your organization.
The initial Accreditation is valid for a period of five (5) years.
Maintaining your Accreditation:
In order to maintain your accreditation through INA, your organization must remain a member in good standing within INA during the accreditation period. Organizational membership fees are ________ per year.
You will also be asked to provide volunteer assistance to the INA (after all, this is how we keep our fees so low). This may take the form of: service on the board of directors, service on ARC committee(s), review of documents, marketing assistance, etc. This is volunteer service after all, so is not a requirement, but is certainly appreciated.
Annual Surveillance Review:
The INA standard requires that there be an ongoing evaluation of the certification body. Each year, all accredited organizations will be asked to fill out an accreditation surveillance form, designed to determine if any of the accredited certification schemes have undergone significant changes over the preceding 12-month period that may impact its compliance with industry norms.
In most cases, a review of the surveillance documentation is all that is required to maintain accreditation. This review is conducted as part of your annual membership. Should the INA Board of Directors determine that changes of such a magnitude have occurred in your program that a site visit is required by the ARC, fees for such an onsite assessment will be negotiated.
During the third year (months 36 – 48) of accreditation, the ISO standards require that INA conduct a mid-term review to verify that your certification program(s) is still operating in compliance with ISO/IEC Standard 17024. This typically will require a visit by only one assessor for a period of one day (or a remote assessment if no major changes have taken place). There is a ______ fee (plus travel expenses if necessary) for each of these surveillance inspections.
Renewing your Accreditation:
Your accreditation is valid for a period of 5 years. At the end of this period, should you wish to continue to accredit your program through INA, your certification must undergo a comprehensive re-evaluation.
The re-evaluation process will be similar in every respect to your initial evaluation. Once you have indicated a desire to submit to the re-evaluation process, the Board of Directors of INA will appoint an ARC and steps 2-4 of the INA accreditation process will repeat.
During the re-evaluation process, it is possible that the ISO/IEC standards may have changed. It may be possible (depending on the timing) that the re-evaluation may utilize standards that are different from your initial evaluation. You will have been kept informed of any standards changes through your ongoing membership in INA.
To discuss whether INA is right for your organization, contact us.