What is Post-Assessment Assistance? How does the process of Post-Assessment Assistance work? Why is Post-Assessment Assistance important?
This is a service we provide to organisations that have had their own in-house generated systems assessed and the resultant list of non-conformances (major and minor) together with other observations has left them requiring assistance to sort things out. It usually means that the in-house team is not as strong as they thought they were, but it can also relate to sudden loss of a key member, illness, other distracting longer term problems and so forth.
This involves the consultant reviewing the points raised by the assessor and working through what needs to be done to address them one by one. It should be pointed out that there is leeway for two professionals in the ISO Standards field (one assessor and one consultant) to disagree with the approach adopted by the other (and this too can be a reason that an assessor disagrees with the work of the in-house ISO Systems personnel). Ultimately the assessor holds the power so short of changing certifier, there is often little to be done but enact what they suggest – although how this is done can vary to suit the organisation perhaps.
To combat this professional difference issue, it is often suggested that the consultant attend the next assessment to explain what has been done and argue the case on behalf of the organisation to ensure that any overly keen/pedantic assessor is “reassured/persuaded” that things are now under control. Let us know if we can help – contact us.
Who should carry out Post-Assessment Assistance? What experience is needed to perform Post-Assessment Assistance?
Anyone with knowledge of the ISO Systems, the relevant ISO Standard and the experience to see what the assessor is requiring (whether or not they agree with it) so that they can make the changes necessary to take the organisation forwards. This can be someone in-house but if such a person existed skilled enough to carry out this task, then it is questionable as to why the organisation is in need of Post-Assessment Assistance in the first place. Consequently, it is most likely to be an external consultant – contact us for more details.
When should Post-Assessment Assistance be carried out?
The need for a Post-Assessment Assistance supposes that the result of the assessment first time round was unsatisfactory and there is a list of non-conformances to be dealt with. The ISO Standards require that if these are major non-conformances, they need to be dealt with quickly if the certification is to be continued. “Quickly” will be defined by the assessor and sometimes this means within 3 months (or sometimes less). This means that the Post-Assessment Assistance is needed as soon as can be fitted in after the assessment results have been received (when the timeframe starts) to give maximum time to make the changes and have them bed in.
In other situations there may be a longer time period available, but the sooner the better to start such an exercise as there was probably a reason the non-conformances existed in the first place – so simply changing the text is not the solution, the behaviour needs to change too – and that can take far longer.
Certification of your ISO Standard System
Following the Management Review, the Certifiers return to undertake the Stage 2 assessment. This is where they examine the way the systems are rung and ensure that the working processes and records match the requirements of the standard(s). Following successful attainment of Stage 2, they will issue your ISO Certificate(s). Again, we have over 20 years of gaining ISO Certifications first time for 100% of our clients – so we guarantee that you too will succeed!
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