It’s that time of year.

It’s that time of year and I don’t mean Christmas and all of the festivities. Towards the end of the year we have a number of accreditations that need to be renewed.

Now we’ve done these for many years but over the past couple of years there’s been one that I’ve honestly dreaded doing. It’s not that it’s a difficult thing to do as we’re compliant in everything they ask for, it’s purely the amount of repetitive requests and the timescales involved which was stressful. The accreditation concerned (I’ll not mention their name for obvious reasons) only invite you to renew a month before the ‘thing’ expires and in their email they say that the process can take 4-6 weeks to do! This means that it’s very possible to run out of time and to some of our customers, it is really important we consistently hold their validation at all times.

So when you’re asked for new bits of information and also updated records and proof of things, it’s been a bit of a rush to the scanner while you upload and check as you go in an attempt to get the paperwork in for assessment as soon as possible so the accreditation remains current. Well, over the past couple of years, they’ve either asked for clarification (a number of times) or requested things that have ‘grey areas’ and we’ve subsequently failed the audit and had to re-submit information and wait once again for it to be looked at. It has meant the accreditation has expired and this is then accompanied with emails with bold writing stating that we are now NON-COMPLIANT. Now I’ve been hugely frustrated and annoyed with this and coming closer to this time again this year was really something I wasn’t looking forward to.

Just before the email about renewal arrived I got information about a ‘new’ system that would take all of the hassle and worry away! I couldn’t believe it. I’d have our assessment done in 5 days, a person to walk me through it all step by step and this would virtually ensure a first time pass. It was a bit like Christmas coming early but there was a catch. They wanted another rather large chunk of cash on top of the usual lump for being a member of their ‘gang’ of accredited companies.

Of course I paid up and had a lovely, friendly, helpful and responsive lady walk me through the entire process in a couple of hours. Within 48 hours we’d passed and a ‘congratulations’ email had arrived to my extreme relief and thanks.

Now would I be a little sceptical in thinking that this new ‘Fast Track’ method had been in the offing for a couple of years and that the assessors had instructions to make life stressful and difficult in the previous attempts to retain the accreditation? Nah, I don’t think so.

Happy Christmas everyone.