FINAS agrees with the client and the assessment team on the time and contents of the assessment. The assessment consists of an assessment visit to the main sites and other assessment tasks, such as any monitoring of field operations and competence tests. The extent of the scope of accreditation, the sites and the key operations are taken into account when planning the assessment. The assessment programme is drawn up on the basis of this information.
The assessment team's task is to assess how the client meets the accreditation requirements within the scope of accreditation specified in the application. By interviewing the management, people in charge and other personnel, by monitoring operations and by checking guidelines and data files, the assessment team ensures the competence of operations and the reliability of results or certificates.
Observations of operations where the accreditation requirements are not met are recorded as non-conformities. Non-conformities are divided into two categories: non-conformities and major non-conformities. Deficiencies that do not directly endanger the validity of the results or the functional entity are recorded as non-conformities. A non-conformity, or several minor non-conformities, that may endanger the technical standard of operations or the reliability of results is classified as a major non-conformity.
At the closing of the assessment, the team gives the client a summary and conclusions of the assessment, the non-conformities discovered, and the grounds for recording them as such. Correction of the non-conformities discovered, and the related timetable, is agreed at the same time. In order to ensure the progress and efficiency of assessment, effort is made to keep the timetable short enough. In initial assessment, the time for correcting non-conformities is normally not more than three months; it can be longer only in exceptional cases.
After the assessment, each assessor draws up a report describing how the operations assessed meet the requirements of accreditation. The reports present the observations and conclusions made during the assessment and indicate the conditions under which each assessor is ready to recommend the granting of accreditation. The reports are given to the client.
Within the timetable agreed, the client provides FINAS with descriptions of the corrective actions taken. On the basis of the material received, the team assesses the adequacy of the actions and, whenever necessary, asks the client to supplement the corrective actions. In general, corrections can be supplemented once, after which the team assesses the adequacy of the corrective actions. If necessary, a new assessment visit is made to ensure the adequacy of the corrective actions. Accreditation cannot be granted until all non-conformities have been corrected and the corrective actions have been assessed to be adequate.