Accreditation of Personnel Certification Bodies

Accreditation of Personnel Certification Bodies

ISO / IEC 17024:2012 Personnel Certification 

Certification for persons is one means of providing assurance that the certified person meets the requirements of the certification scheme. Confidence in the respective certification schemes for persons is achieved by means of a globally accepted process of assessment and periodic re-assessments of the competence of certified persons.  Most personnel certification bodies offer professional certification if an individual meets minimal requirements such as a minimum number of years of related working experience, minimum education level and having passed a certification exam or equivalent.
This International Standard contains principles and requirements for a body certifying persons against specific requirements, and includes the development and maintenance of a certification scheme for persons.
This International Standard is designed to harmonize the personnel certification process worldwide. The issues that ISO 17024 tackle can be summarized as

  •  Defining what it is to be  examined (the competencies)
  •  Knowledge, skills and personal attributes
  • Examination must be independent

Examination must be a valid test of competence-where competency is typically described as “the demonstrated ability to apply knowledge, skills and attributes”.
KENAS offers accreditation to certification bodies that meet requirements of this international standard ISO/IEC 17024 “Conformity Assessment – General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons”.
In many areas, particularly those which are safety critical, purchaser, user and public confidence in the competence of individuals is extremely important. Personnel certification confirms the competence of named individuals to perform specified services or duties. This is achieved through the issuing of a certificate of competence.
Possible examples of personnel who could be certified are:

  •  Welders
  • Electricians
  • Others

As with management system or product certification bodies, a personnel certification body must be able to demonstrate its competence to assess and certify its clients.
ISO 17024 has a number of requirements for organisational structure, quality management system elements, competence of personnel, confidentiality, etc. The certification body must also describe the certification process, how candidates are evaluated and define periods of recertification. In addition, the personnel certification body must be able to demonstrate how conflict of interest is managed and must have mechanisms in place to objectively evaluate the outcome of the certification process.
Once the personnel certification body has all of the organisational and technical measures in place, and has been operating a certification service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up, and to be able to demonstrate that the operation is stable (typically three months minimum), it can apply to KENAS for accreditation.
The process for the accreditation of certification bodies is fully described in KENAS accreditation procedure available in this website.

The advantages of accrediting bodies operating certification of persons: these includes

  •  The standard provides a global benchmark for personnel certification programmes to ensure that they operate in a consistent, comparable and reliable manner worldwide, thereby allowing individuals to have skills that translate across national borders.
  • The standard will help organizations that certify individuals in a variety of occupations and professions protect the integrity and ensure the validity of individual certification programmes.
  •  It will also promote consumer and public confidence in the capabilities and competence of the people who provide specialized services or who create the products that support our daily lives and livelihoods.
  • The Certification body accredited under ISO/IEC 17024 will increase the potential for national and international reciprocity of its certified persons and personnel certification bodies.
  •  The new ISO/IEC 17024 standard is designed to help organizations conduct well-planned and structured evaluations in order to ensure impartiality of operations and reduce any conflict of interest.
  • Identification as an organization meeting internationally developed standards in the provision of quality services.
  • Confidence on the part of persons seeking services for themselves or family members.
  • Confidence on the part of funding sources, referral agencies, other providers, businesses, community leaders, and community resource and service organizations.
  • Independent, external review to identify strengths and areas for improvement based on objective program
  • An internal management tool promoting active, dynamic planning focused on positive outcomes for persons served and other stakeholders, the impact of strategies on these key groups, and organizational development of existing or new services to meet the needs and expectations of the community served.
  • Increased funding and reimbursement opportunities created by stronger relationships and partnerships with certified person and other regulatory bodies.
  • On-site education and consultation to help refocus business on the persons served and integrate business functions with service delivery
  • Relationships are developed through the process of gaining input on program standards.

Benefits to certified person

  • Certification provides a recognised benchmark of skills that can be aligned to international standards.
  • Certificated persons are typically more productive and work to consistent standards.
  • Certification can reduce downtime, because certified members have the skills and competence needed to cope with issues as they arise.
  • A certified person engages in continuous professional development.
  • Gaining certifications can be aligned to performance-related pay
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction (internal and external customers).
  • Certified people are more employable, this is due to the fact that certified individuals are more productive than their non-certified counterparts.”