In all three schemes, benchmarking, independent verification and certification, the process starts with the same initial audit. The follow up varies depending on the scheme. The initial audit involves an initial desk based self-assessment, and visits by a team of auditors to the head office and a sample of programme sites. Programme site visits also include visits to various project sites.
Verification and Certification services include mid-term audits that have to happen within two years after the initial audit. Mid-term audits consist of visits to programme sites, and review the identified non-conformities and the measures that have been taken to solve them.
The certification process includes also maintenance audits one year after the initial audit and one year after the mid-term audit. Maintenance audits normally consist of a visit to the head office only to check measures taken to resolve non-conformities.
The independent verification process requires the development of a work plan for continuous improvement of the application of the standard and self assessments instead of maintenance audits one year after the initial audit and one year after the mid-term audit.