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ICoCA Certification: A proposal for increased quality and inclusiveness

Friday, August 19, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Howie Lind
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The ICoCA Board of Directors recognises that there are existing challenges associated with the current ICoCA certification procedure which have prevented some members or prospective members from obtaining ICoCA certification. There are many reasons for the current access limitations, including (but not limited to) the commercial markets and cost drivers in which certification bodies operate, travel and other logistical costs, language capacities, and perceptions (by PSCs and clients) of the relative value of certification. 
The Board also recognises that ICoCA membership is diverse in nature, formed by PSCs from all over the world - ranging from small companies operating in one complex environment to large multinational entities - and includes companies operating in both the maritime and land environments (with some operating in both). The Association continues to believe that all companies willing and able to demonstrate compliance with the Code should be able to access membership regardless of location or size, and that ICoCA Membership must remain a synonym of rigorous compliance with the Code and the highest industry standards.


Under the existing Certification Procedure approved by the General Assembly, PSCs achieve ICoCA Certification by proving that they are certified to an ICoCA-recognised standard and providing the identified additional information necessary to demonstrate compliance with the Code (Route 1 hereafter). At present, the ICoCA has recognised ANSI/ASIS PSC.1-2012 (“PSC.1”) as a valid pathway for ICoCA certification, and expects to recognise ISO 28007 and ISO 18788 in the near future.
Under Route 1, the cost of obtaining certification from an accredited certification body (CB) is borne by the member company. In addition, the company is responsible for assembling and submitting the required additional information to the ICoCA, and may incur additional costs to the extent that it or the CB are required to respond to requests for information from the Secretariat as part of its evaluation of the additional information. 


After gathering information from a wide range of members and stakeholders, the ICoCA has concluded that certification to existing recognised standards is not, and may not be accessible for all current and prospective members in the short to medium-term. The Board is, therefore, considering an alternative based on the following principles : 
  • Qualification for certification via Route 2 would be limited according to factors to be determined (e.g., a demonstration that a company is unable, or that it is unfeasible, to access certification to an ICoCA recognised standard under the existing Certification Procedure);
  • Eligible companies will carry out a process of first-party certification to an ICoCA recognised standard as well as preparing all identified additional information;
  • Companies will then be subject to a certification confirmation mission, carried out by the ICoCA Secretariat, to control that the process leading to first-party certification fully demonstrated that the company’s systems and policies meet the requirements of the Code and that it is ready to participate in the Association;
  • The ICoCA may request additional clarifications or material from the company if it thinks that the information provided or the process by which the first-party certification was conducted is not sufficient to demonstrate conformance with the Code and readiness to participate in the Association;
  • The costs associated with first-party certification and the cost of the certification confirmation mission will be covered by the company;
  • The ICoCA Board, based on the information gathered during the confirmation mission and the additional clarifications, will determine whether the company is awarded ICoCA Certification in the same manner as under the existing Certification Procedure;
  • Once a company is awarded ICoCA Certification via Route 2, it enjoys the same rights and obligations as those that achieved ICoCA Certification using the existing Route 1;
  • Members certified under Route 2 will remain subject to the same level of scrutiny to demonstrate ongoing conformance with the Code as those certified under Route 1.



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