How we can help: Our interview for NQA’s ‘Meet our Partner’ series

Our Lead Consultant Ian Sparks sat down with certification body NQA to discuss our working relationship and how we help clients achieve the standards they require.


Why do you like working with NQA?

NQA and our original management systems consultancy team were established around the same time and we quickly grew a portfolio of mutual clients. NQA has been our certification body of choice ever since.

We’ve always found that NQA auditors are knowledgeable, pragmatic and provide clients with great value from the audit experience; that’s just one reason why we recommend NQA.

For Ellenbrooke, being part of the Associate Partner Programme is really beneficial to us for more than just the consultancy opportunities it brings.

Attending webinars and training sessions has been extremely valuable to both new and experienced consultants alike.

For me, regular catchups with Simon Newell and his NQA colleagues mean that we always understand common areas of interest and we can also provide independent feedback around our mutual clients and the services that they receive from NQA.

Top tip for people looking at certification?

Certification provides that independent verification which your prospective and existing customers increasingly want to see when they are looking for new suppliers or renewing contracts.

There is lots of advice and expertise available to you through qualified, experienced consultants.

If you aren’t confident in documenting your management system and working towards certification on your own then don’t just look for an off-the-shelf solution online, you won’t find one that works for your business.

Look around and find the right consultant for your business, you won’t be disappointed with your return on investment.

What do you find is the most common point of misunderstanding regarding certification or specific standards when visiting clients?

Other than the usual discussion around accredited and non-accredited certification, there are probably three things:

  1. There is the mistaken idea that a documented business management system will add lots of additional bureaucracy and take lots of additional time to manage rather than just reflecting the way that the business works consistently, every day to excellence standards plus some continual improvement.
  2. That a management systems consultant will just be able to go away and write something in a day or two rather that working with the client on a tailor-made solution to add value to their business.
  3. Finally, that internal audit and management review are just tick box exercises that can be done in a day a couple of weeks before the external auditor arrives rather than being a golden opportunity to drill into processes, culture, relationships, the established way of doing things to challenge, support, verify and really drive improvement across the whole business now and for the future.

The full interview is available on NQA’s website.