What is certification?

Certification is a four-year cycle and is open to CHS Alliance members and non-members. It attests that an organisation or any part of it that has requested the certification, meets the requirements of the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS). Unlike independent verification, certification assesses the actual compliance with the CHS requirements. Although it entails some flexibility, certification is a pass/fail test of compliance with the CHS. CHS Alliance members can fulfill their membership requirement by submitting the public summary of their reports to CHS Alliance.

What is the process of certification?

  1. An initial audit undertaken by trained and approved auditors (currently the Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI) is the only organisation providing this service). Of note, this is the same as stage one of the independent verification process, thus ensuring the organisation does not have to duplicate processes should it decide to go from the option of independent verification to certification.
  2. Production of a report and its public summary excluding all confidential information under the responsibility of HQAI.
  3. The decision to grant (or not) a certificate of compliance with the CHS.
  4. A certificate is granted, with the right to use the certification mark (logo) in organisational communication and public relations (e.g. website, letterheads).
  5. The certificate is valid four years, provided corrective action requests are satisfied in a timely manner.
  6. Within one year of the certification decision, the organisation undertakes a self-assessment and reports back to HQAI.
  7. If the organisation is a member of CHS Alliance, HQAI uses this data to produce the annual report to CHS Alliance.
  8. Within two years of the end of the certification decision, HQAI undertakes a third-party assessment and produce a report as per 2, above.
  9. Within three years of the certification decision, same as 4, above.
  10. After four years, a new certificate is granted, provided the organisation requests it and the steps described above are followed.

A certificate is not granted if major non-conformities are identified or withdrawn if they appear during the cycle and are not corrected within a short timeframe.

The public summaries produced at each assessment phase can be used by CHS Alliance members to fulfill the reporting requirement of CHS Alliance membership.

What is the cost of certification?

The cost of certification is determined by the independent organisation carrying out the audit. For more information on this, please contact HQAI. For organisations that wish to undergo independent verification or certification and require financial support, a fund has been established for this purpose – please contact HQAI for further information.