Full details of the processes involved in achieving HKAS accreditation are given in Chapter 4 of HKAS 002 - Regulations for HKAS Accreditation. A brief summary of the main features is given below:
- An organisation interested in seeking accreditation contacts the HKAS Executive.
- Download the "Application Package" for the related area of testing, inspection and certification.
- Download, complete and submit the appropriate documentation as indicated in the "Application Package".
Following examination of the documentation submitted by the organisation, the HKAS Executive arranges preliminary visit to:
- Answer any questions relating to technical criteria and regulations.
- Identify any improvements to existing practice as necessary.
- Provide any probable calibration requirements for the tests for which accreditation is being sought.
- Comment on the acceptability of the organisation's quality manual.
- The organisation submits the final copies of its quality manual and test procedures.
- The HKAS Executive seeks any further information required from the organisation.
- The HKAS Executive selects suitable expert assessors to undertake on site assessment of the organisation.
- Arrangements are made with the organisation for a mutually convenient date or dates for an on-site assessment of the organisation.
NOTE : Applicant organisations may object on reasonable grounds to the assessors nominated for the assessment of their organisations.
- An on-site assessment is undertaken at the organisation.
- All key organisation personnel shall be available for interview during the on-site assessment.
- The organisation may be asked to undertake typical tests as part of the assessment process.
- On completion of the on-site assessment, the organisation's management is provided with an assessment report by the assessment team which includes:
- the assessment team's recommendation for granting of accreditation for all or part of the scope sought by the applicant organisation;
- list of any action which may be necessary before accreditation for all or part of the scope that can be further considered;
- details of follow-up action.
- For reassessments and assessments for extension of accreditation within a test category / certification service / inspection field for which the organisation is already accredited, the assessment report will be reviewed by the HKAS Executive. Any amendment to the assessment report will be issued to the organisation within 10 working days of the assessment.
- For initial assessments for a test category / certification service / inspection field or a major test area, the assessment will be reviewed by the HKAS Executive as well as Accreditation Advisory Board. The reviewed assessment results will be issued to the organisation in the form of an outcome letter.
- In most cases specific matters requiring attention before accreditation can be further considered, and these are listed in the assessment report and in the outcome letter.
- On receipt of formal reply from an applicant organisation that all required actions have been taken, HKAS Executive will take follow-up action. If the matters are of a minor nature, corrective actions may be confirmed through submission of supporting documentation or through a brief visit by a member of HKAS Executive and where necessary with an assessor, but in some cases, a further on-site assessment may be needed.
- Assuming the remedial actions are found acceptable, a recommendation for accreditation will normally follow. A formal notification letter and a certificate of accreditation will be issued.
- If an organisation is unsuccessful in achieving accreditation, it has the right to appeal (See Complaints and Appeals Mechanism in HKAS 002).
- After accreditation has been granted, accredited organisations are reassessed the following year and thereafter at intervals normally not exceeding two years. Surveillance visits will also be conducted. The purpose is to ensure that the standards required for continued accreditation are being maintained. Accredited certification bodies are reassessed on the accredited activities every three years. For inspection bodies, reassessment are conducted two years after the granting of accreditation and thereafter at every two year intervals. Surveillance visit to accredited certification bodies and inspection bodies are conducted routinely at every six months and twelve months intervals respectively.
- Organisations may seek to have their scope of accreditation extended or reduced or they may seek changes to their approved personnel. Such changes may require on-site assessment.
- Organisations are required from time to time to participate in proficiency testing programmes organised or specified by HKAS (where appropriate).
- Organisations are required under HKAS regulations to advise the HKAS Executive immediately in writing of any changes in the organisation's circumstances which may affect its continued conformity with HKAS requirements.
This includes notification of such changes as:
- change in ownership or name of the accredited organisation including the change in legal, commercial or organisational status, e.g. mergers, company dissolution, bankruptcies, compulsory or voluntary liquidation or any other matters concerning the Official Receiver;
- change in its organisational structure and managerial staff;
- change of the aproved signatories;
- change in the organisational policies, where relevant;
- change in its registered address or any place where the accredited activities are to be carried out;
- change in working procedures and resources including personnel, equipment, facilities, working environment, where significant;
- change in the nature of the work performed by an accredited organisation; and,
- any other matters that may affect the organisation's capability, or its scope of accreditation or its conformity with the accreditation criteria.
For assessment visits outside HKSAR, please refer to the guidline to organisation on "Travelling, accommodation and meals for assessments visits outside Hong Kong SAR"