Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
In response to the great volume of questionnaires from companies evaluating registrars, PJR has prepared the following “generic” Q&A sheet. It covers the most frequently asked questions about our background, registration costs and audit policies.
If this material does not respond to all of your questions, feel free to call (800) 800-7910 for more specific information.
How long have you been a registrar?
PJR has been an accredited registrar since 1994; formal accreditation came in January 1995 by the ANAB (formerly RAB).
What are your qualifications as a registrar?
Perry Johnson Registrars, Inc. has been accredited by seven different international bodies, and has an audit staff of over 190 auditors, averaging 15 years of auditing experience and 18 years of experience in the quality industry.
Can we get copies of your most recent financial statements and/or can you demonstrate financial stability?
PJR is a privately held company and although financial records remain confidential, PJR can demonstrate financial stability. Please contact Terry Boboige, President, at (800) 800-7910.
What provisions exist should your company go out of business or lose its status as a registrar? How will our registration be affected?
PJR is the largest registrar in North America, based on individual companies registered.* However, in the unlikely event that PJR goes out of business or loses its accreditation, PJR will have established a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with an accredited registration body. This will maintain your status as a registered company.
*As reported by Quality Systems Update for the years 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.
What are the qualifications of your auditors?
PJR maintains an auditor base of both full-time and subcontract staff, many of whom have taught our competitors’ Lead Auditors. PJR auditors have an average of 15 years’ auditing experience and an average of 18 years’ quality assurance experience.
How do you determine the technical competence of an auditor?
PJR conducts extensive evaluations of prospective auditors to ensure the technical competence of each individual. This evaluation includes checking of references, verification of backgrounds, and testing. A combination of work experience, training/education and audit days are required for our auditors to claim competence in a particular EA sector. Many professional auditors employed by PJR are experts who also teach classes on quality auditing.
What is the registration audit experience of PJR and its staff of auditors?
PJR has issued more than 4,000 registration certificates. New registration audits are scheduled daily; PJR contracts with more than 200 new companies every month.
What are your criteria for selecting auditors?
PJR follows the guidelines contained in ISO 19011:2002 to define its qualification criteria for quality system auditors. ISO 19011:2002 details requirements for education, training, experience, personal attributes, management capabilities and continuing education. All Lead Auditors are professionally certified (RABQSA, IRCA and/or PJR) and take part in additional training specific to PJR policies and procedures.
Are all PJR auditors Lead Auditors?
No, but all PJR audit teams will have at least one ANAB-, IRCA- or PJR-certified Lead Auditor. Other team members, all of whom will have considerable quality auditing, teaching and/or consulting experience, are ANAB-, IRCA- or PJR-certified Auditors.
By whom is PJR accredited?
PJR is accredited by ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB – formerly RAB), the Japanese Accreditation Board (JAB), the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), the Italian National System for Accreditation of Certification and Inspection Body (Accredia).
With what other bodies are you applying for accreditation?
In accordance with our worldwide expansion plans, PJR is working to obtain accreditations with several national accrediting bodies. PJR also has applications pending with the China National Accreditation Council for Registrars (CNACR) and the Korea Accreditation Board (KAB).
Are the ANAB (formerly RAB), JAB, UKAS, and ACCREDIA seals accepted internationally?
Does your company have a brochure or “resume” of management/technical capabilities?
See the PJR quotation book. A company history, qualifications, policies and procedures are contained therein.
What are your scopes and standards to which you audit?
Perry Johnson Registrars’ scope of accreditation covers approximately 600 SIC codes. PJR is accredited to grant ISO 9001, ISO 14001, AS9100, TL 9000 and ISO/TS 16949 certificates. PJR is also one of the first registrars approved to audit to two important new specifications in the management standards area: Responsible Care®, now officially designated as RC-14001, and OHSAS 18001, the Occupational Health & Safety Specification. A separate venture, Perry Johnson Laboratories, Inc., has been formed to provide accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025, the new international standard for calibration and testing laboratories.
Is a list of previously registered companies available?
Yes. PJR maintains a Registry of all its registered companies. For details, please contact your account executive. On ISO 9000, PJR has registered such major companies as Hughes Aircraft, Monsanto, Coca-Cola Bottling and Estee Lauder. On the automotive side, we have certified Federal Mogul, Valeo and Siegel Roberts. On ISO 14001 we have registered such companies as Mitsubishi, Bristol Myers-Squibb, Eaton Corporation, Mead Johnson de Mexico and Clairol Inc.
Please discuss your policy on client confidentiality.
PJR, in accordance with with ISO/IEC 17021:2006, maintains strict confidentiality of any proprietary client information.
Do you have available a complete description of the registration process, including the application and appeals process and policies regarding suspension, withdrawal and cancellation of the certificate?
Yes, PJR has policies in place that govern all of the above. Please see your account executive for details.
How are clients notified of any changes in your registration program? Will we be permitted to comment on any of the changes? How long will we have to implement changes once notified?
Clients are notified of any changes to the registration program in writing. PJR welcomes comments, encourages dialogue and is more than willing to work through any customer concerns. Typically, ample time is provided to implement any changes. These changes need not be submitted in writing, but rather are monitored by the Lead Auditor at the next surveillance visit.
Does your company subcontract any of its registration activities to other organizations? If so, how are these organizations qualified by you?
PJR is not in the practice of contracting with any other registrar to maintain its accreditation. However, like other registrars, PJR does work with a subcontract auditor base in addition to its full-time employees. PJR has a rigorous qualification process for contract auditors, which includes ongoing training and evaluation.
How are clients notified of quality system omissions or deviations from the standard? How much time will be allowed to make the necessary modifications?
Clients are notified of quality system deviations through issuance of nonconformance reports (NCRs) at the time of their audit. Clients have 60-90 days for corrective action submission.
Will a controlled Quality Policy Manual be required for submission, and how long will it take PJR to review the document?
PJR requires submission of the Quality Policy Manual to the Lead Auditor 30-45 days prior to the registration audit. Typical turnaround time is between 10 and 15 days. The sooner you submit your documentation, the more time you will have for corrective action. Once your contract is signed and accepted, you will be required to submit a Quality Policy Manual for review and approval prior to making and implementing any revision. The Quality Policy Manual must be in a ready state prior to the registrar’s visit. If modifications were not communicated to the Lead Auditor prior to the audit date, they will be reviewed on-site by the Lead Auditor.
Will changes/revisions to our Quality Policy Manual necessitate a reassessment after the initial audit?
Usually not. PJR does not require that documentation changes or modifications be communicated in writing to PJR headquarters. The revisions are reviewed on-site at the next surveillance audit at no additional cost. PJR auditors allow continuous improvement changes to the Quality Policy Manual. However, the quality manual must be submitted 30-45 days before the initial audit so that the Lead Auditor can evaluate the manual and its adherence to the standard.
Do you recommend or require a pre-assessment?
A pre-assessment is optional; PJR does not require it. However, the benefits of having a pre-assessment are numerous, including focusing your attention on your current quality system weaknesses, allowing you to gain experience and familiarity with an audit and PJR auditors, and increasing your overall chances of passing the registration audit. The pre-assessment usually takes about 60% of the time quoted for the registration audit.
If a pre-assessment is chosen, when do you recommend it be performed?
PJR recommends that pre-assessments be performed within a 90-day window of the actual registration audit. A longer delay may lead to a deterioration of the quality system due to inattention and inaction.
How much emphasis is given to the pre-assessment?
PJR considers the pre-assessment to be a very important step toward a successful registration audit. Although pre-assessments are totally optional, 99% of PJR clients who have undergone pre-assessments pass their registration audits the first time.
Do you recommend that auditors from the pre-assessment be on the final audit team? Will we have the same Lead Auditor for both?
PJR works with individual clients to promote consistency among audit personnel. We recommend that a minimum of one person from the pre-assessment team be on the registration audit team; however, no guarantees can be made as to auditor availability.
Will a reassessment be required if a modification to the registration scope is requested?
If the proposed modification is closely related to the existing scope/quality system, it is usually verified and approved at the next surveillance audit to help minimize costs. If it is a substantive departure from the registered scope, a special assessment may be required for approval.
Does the client pay for the reassessment?
Yes. The client pays for the reassessment, but only for the man-day or days (plus associated expenses) necessary to evaluate conformance to the standard.
What is your company’s lead time between the request for registration and the actual audit date?
Clients usually contract with a registrar even before beginning the quality system implementation process. The reason is that by contracting with a registrar first, they can establish an early link with the audit team and program. PJR has found that by contracting with PJR prior to quality system implementation activities, clients can typically trim 30-40% off the time normally spent on the registration process. To participate in our “priority scheduling” program, you should contract with us as soon as possible. Our Audit Program Coordinators typically schedule audits 60-90 days in advance. Auditors in the field will tentatively schedule the next continuous or annual surveillance audit while physically on site.
Can we reserve a time for a registration audit now and postpone or cancel it later at no charge?
PJR wishes to cultivate the best possible relationships with our clients. This includes a willingness to be flexible, even regarding the scheduling of registration audits. However, there is a clause in the PJR contract that addresses a 21-day cancellation window beyond which cancellation can become a punitive issue.
How are nonconformances treated during the audit?
Nonconformances are either major or minor. If the registration audit reveals only minor non-conformances, the Lead Auditor will recommend registration – pending the closeout of corrective action. Objective evidence of corrective action can be submitted by mail or fax within 90 days of the audit; once accepted by the Lead Auditor, the registration certificate will be issued (and corrective action verified at the next required surveillance visit). For a major nonconformance, a revisit will be required to evaluate the corrective action, except in rare cases. The revisit will be limited to the area of nonconformance. In any case, the PJR audit will continue, even upon discovery of major nonconformances; you will be notified of any deficiencies in your quality system before the audit team leaves your facility. This written notification is part of the formal audit visit.
How much time is given to correct deficiencies?
Corrective action must be submitted within 60-90 days of the audit by fax, mail or e-mail. PJR does allow on-site corrective action during the audit, provided that the time spent reviewing the proposed corrective actions does not significantly affect the audit schedule or objectives. We advocate caucuses at the end of each day to review corrective action. PJR does not charge for closure of corrective action, except in the event that the closure is for a major nonconformance (since a revisit is required).
To what degree do you review and comment on observations?
PJR auditors do not include lengthy comments regarding observations. Observations are limited to complete yet concise notes made on nonconformance sheets; further comments are made on the final audit report.
Is there an application fee?
What are your basic costs?
PJR’s standard rate is $1,200 per man-day.
How are registration audit costs determined?
All registrars are obligated to follow international guidelines on man-day requirements for the standard in question. Registration audit quotations are based on the estimated time the audit will take. Major factors used in determining the time include: size of the facility to be audited; number of employees and complexity of the operation (number of shifts, number of product lines, nature of the product produced).
Can you provide a sample of costs so we can estimate the fees that would apply to our situation?
Yes, PJR can supply a time-cost grid that will provide a general range for estimating registration costs.
What about surveillance costs?
PJR quotes surveillance costs at the time of the original quotation. A surveillance is a sampling of the quality system that verifies continued system maintenance. Generally, a surveillance will require 25% to 33% of the time required for the original audit.
How are travel costs billed?
Travel, lodging and per diem are billed at cost. Since PJR has auditors all across the country, our aim is always to select the closest auditor to the client’s facility, thereby keeping travel costs to a minimum.
Do you charge a “certification fee”?
Yes. There is a one-time certification fee (good for the three years’ duration of the certificate):
- $250.00 for facilities with 1-99 employees.
- $350.00 for facilities with 100-499 employees.
- $500.00 for facilities with 500+ employees.
There is also an annual file maintenance fee based on the same breakdown as above. Special accreditation seals and/or special standards’ requirements may add to your audit costs; see your account executive for details.
Can you provide a cost breakdown for the following areas?
- Preparation and initial visit
- Review of Quality Policy Manual
- Review of revisions to the Quality Policy Manual
- Preliminary evaluation
- Report processing
- First-year surveillance
- Second-year surveillance
- Third-year surveillance
- Costs-per-day for on-site visits
- Any other charges
Does your company’s internal training/certification program follow a specific scheme? Is it affiliated with a national/international scheme?
Yes. PJR’s internal audits are conducted twice per year. The audit scheme follows the requirements of ISO/IEC 17021 for both quality management system (QMS) audits and environmental management system (EMS) audits.
Will our company be able to review auditors’ credentials and request reassignment if not satisfied?
Changes to the team may be arranged if necessary; PJR remains flexible. Your APC can work with you to provide detailed biographical information on prospective auditors if desired.
How do you handle complaints regarding specific auditors?
Complaints will be handled through our Customer Service Department in accordance with PJR’s complaint procedure; this may require the intervention of both the President and the Audit Program Manager.
How familiar with our company’s product or technology will our assigned auditors be?
PJR abides by the stringent requirements of ISO/IEC 17021:2006 and ISO 19011:2002 regarding auditor expertise and experience.
How long does the PJR registration period last? (How long is the certificate valid?)
The registration certificate is valid for three years. At the end of the three-year period, a reassessment will be scheduled to renew the certificate. Between the time of the initial registration audit and the certificate renewal at 3 years, clients are audited periodically based on their choice of surveillance schedules: continuous (audits every six months) or annual (audits once per year). See the next question and answer for more details.
How often do you require surveillance audits?
Clients are routinely quoted for surveillance visits every six months, unless they ask for the annual surveillance schedule. In either case, recently issued guidelines from the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) require that the total audit time for reassessment purposes be equal to two-thirds of the time devoted to the initial registration audit. Reassessment time may vary from the mandated 2/3 figure based on “significant factors that uniquely apply to the organization”, including, but not limited to, these contained in Annex 2 of the IAF Guidance on the Application of ISO/IEC Guide 62. The Guidance document is available on the IAF website at http://www.iaf.nu under ‘Documentation.’
Most PJR clients choose the continuous (every-six-months) surveillance option due to its inherent advantages. Under this method, your quality system remains under ongoing maintenance. With shorter intervals between audit visits, your system has less of a chance to break down. In this way there is far less of a chance that auditors will find any major nonconformances, which can be time-consuming and expensive to correct.
Does the registrar allow the use of its logo?
Yes, the logo may be used and is supplied in the form of camera-ready artwork. The logo, however, may not appear on your company’s product. Logo-use guidelines are provided along with the certificate and camera-ready artwork.
What is your success rate for registration on the first audit? The second audit? What is the typical number of attempts required?
PJR, in its history, has had only one client who was not granted certification following the first audit. PJR is extremely proud of its outstanding track record regarding certification of its clients.
What makes your company better than the other registrars?
PJR boasts of having registered many Fortune 500 companies, but works with firms of all sizes and types to promote our approach to auditing as a “win-win” situation. The registrar-client relationship is a long-term one, developed through a combination of communication, auditor expertise and service. We also offer the following advantages:
- No application fee
- No mandatory preliminary site visit
- No penalty for changing schedules (with reasonable notice)
- No hidden costs
- No overtime charges
- One complimentary certification plaque per client
- Detailed preparation done off-site
- Minimal auditor expenses, no travel mark-up, all expenses at cost
- Local auditors used whenever possible
- Client press releases written at no additional charge
- 24-hour hotline
What is BS 25999?
BS 25999 is a published document that acts as both a Code of Practice (description of what should be done) and a Specification (requirements for judging conformance with the required practices). Taken together the two sections describe the principles, methods, terminology, and concepts of continuity planning and business resiliency.
The document has two sections. BS 25999 Part 1 was released in November of 2006 and is largely based on Publically Available Specification 56 (PAS 56). Part 1 makes recommendation while Part 2 describes the requirements for a “Best Practice” Continuity Plan.
Since the document includes an exact specification, it is possible to objectively judge an organization’s compliance with the specified practices and determine if they meet the minimum requirements. This judgment is the basis of the BS 25999 Certification that Perry Johnson Registrars will be authorized to issue.
Is BS 25999 an International Standard?
The designation “BS 25999” stands for British Standard and as such has not achieved the same level of endorsement as other standards published by the International Standards Organization (ISO). However, because the document was developed in combination and collaboration with many organizations around the world it is the accepted De Facto standard in this field.
A compliance certification in BS 25999 is recognized around the world and would be accepted by any organization as an indication of high achievement. As such, it offers the only option for organizations that are seeking universal recognition of their Continuity plan.
What is the basis of the certification evaluation?
Accredited organizations such as Perry Johnson Registrars will follow the certification guidelines published in ISO 17021. This implies a two stage audit review. Stage 1 is primarily focused on documentations while Stage 2 seeks to test, verify and validate adherence to the standard using the guidelines presented in ISO 17021.
Are there recognized benefits to certification?
Yes, although the benefits are dependant on the nature of the underlying business, the organization’s location and the sophistication of its trading partners and clients. For example, in the aerospace, automotive and general manufacturing markets a great deal of attention is being given to the issue of business resiliency accreditation; due in large part to the importance of supply chain operating integrity. Healthcare, Financial Services, Transportation/Distribution, the Hospitality Industry as well as the field of Energy Production and Transmission are other examples of sophisticated markets that value and appreciate the significance of BS 25999.
Is BS 25999 just for private sector organizations?
No! Government agencies, NGOs and other types of operations would all benefit from this process.
How does an organization obtain BS 25999 certification?
By applying to an organization that has passed the rigorous standards imposed by internationally recognized Certification Bodies and has been accredited to conduct an audit and, assuming the organization under review meets all requirements, is then entitled to issue a certification certificate.
How much does it cost to become certified?
As you would expect, cost is dependent on the complexity of the task. Larger, multi-site organizations should expect the review process to be more costly than small, single site location. Contact a Perry Johnson Registrars representative for more information.
How long does an audit take to complete?
Here again the issue is a function of the size of the organization, its physical locations. Fortunately, as one of the largest and most successful organizations of its type in the world, Perry Johnson Registrars has a staff of audits that can be deployed to work on projects around the world. By drawing on its team of experienced auditors, the firm keeps travel and other expenses to a minimum.
What happens if my firm doesn’t pass the audit?
In the event that a firm is found to be out of compliance with the BS 25999 specification, a detailed report will be issues highlighting areas of both major and minor deficiency. Even if the firm passes the audit, a report highlighting areas of improvement will be issued.
Can I obtain a copy of the BS 25999 specification?
Yes, it is available for sale on the internet.
Can I obtain a copy of the BS 25999 audit module?
No, this is a proprietary document and is not available for sale.
What if I need help in preparing for an audit?
Perry Johnson Registrars does not provide consulting services since to do so would be a conflict of interest. However, the firm is acquainted with several internationally recognized firms that do provide consulting in this area and can provide a reference list on request.
Is there a Pre-Audit document I can review?
A Perry Johnson Registrars representative can put you in touch with a number of consulting firms that offer a low cost, pre audit review as a way of gauging your firm’s readiness.
How do I get started?
Contact your local PJR office to obtain an application form.