RvA meets certifying bodies to discuss CertSearch Database

On Wednesday 12 January, the RvA organized an online meeting about the IAF CertSearch database. About thirty certifying bodies participated. Matt Gantley, CEO of UKAS and leader of the IAF Certsearch Database, gave a presentation at our request.

CertSearch Database

Do you want to check the validity of certificates? Do you want to know which certifying body is accredited? Or whether an accreditation body is a member of IAF? You can find it in the CertSearch Database of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). The database gives meaning to the motto: ‘Accredited once, accepted everywhere’.

Purpose of the meeting

The purpose of the meeting was to inform certifying bodies about the database. In addition, the meeting gave the RvA the opportunity to consult the attendees on their views on the principles, goals and conditions of the system.

At the request of the RvA, Matt Gantley, CEO of the UK accreditation body UKAS, gave a presentation on CertSearch. Gantley is the pioneer and Chair of the Database Management Committee at IAF. He answered questions about the system and also took feedback to heart.

The large number of participants showed that the meeting met a need.


One of the issues discussed was the impact of the database on certifying bodies. An issue is the public mention of the expiration date of a certificate in the system. This is market-sensitive information for certifying bodies. The IAF’s response to this is that the expiration date will no longer be publicly stated.
Other questions from the organizations concerned a possible overlap of the IAF CertSearch Database with other databases, the role of the IT provider and the mandatory nature of the database. The RvA is still considering this last point. The question is to what extent the RvA is willing or able to impose an obligation to participate in this database. Roeland Nieuweboer: “We strongly believe in the added value of the CertSearch Database. It offers advantages and is an up-to-date tool. Everything depends on the business case, the underlying revenue model. It will only work if you have a ‘fully populated’ database. Otherwise it offers too little. That is why the IAF working group suggested making participating in the database obligatory. The question is whether we, the RvA, are willing or able to make this mandatory. We are also in contact with the Dutch Ministry and the industry association about this. In any case, the database is a fantastic development.”


IAF is initiating a ballot period in the first half of this year. During this period, IAF members can respond to the policy surrounding the database. The RvA, as an IAF member, will take the input from this session into account in its response. The RvA will inform certifying bodies about the outcome of this ballot and the decision on the mandatory nature of the database.