In today's highly competitive global market, there is growing demand from customers, employees, stakeholders, governments and the general public, world over, for organizations to adopt management systems which provide an assurance of consistent quality and safe products and/or services.

To assist industries and commerce, the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) launched Management System Certification Scheme to provide third party certification for various scopes of management systems.

The MBS provides third party certification services to the organizations that need to demonstrate that they have implemented and are maintaining effective management systems in the area specified and are operating their processes, activities, operations, etc in accordance with that management system. The certification services are provided to all applicants in an impartial manner and without any discrimination.


Currently the certification services provided are;

  1. Quality Management System according to MS ISO 9001:2015 standard
  2. Food Safety Management System according to MS ISO 22000:2018 standard.

But we are working on increasing the certification scopes to cover the wider client base.



Prospective Client or representative makes an inquiry to MBS MSCD through, postal address: Post Office Box 946 Blantyre, phone: +265 891 376 444 /445 /446 /447 or visit our office along Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road in Blantyre.

MBS MSCD responds to the inquiry and if the prospective client or representative is interested, MBS MSCD provides management systems application form.

       Application Process

  • Prospective Client or representative makes management systems application by filling Management Systems Certification Application Form and submitting it to MBS MSCD using any of the above details.
  • Upon receipt of the application, MBS MSCD communicates to client acknowledging receipt.
  • MBS MSCD reviews the application for completeness and verification whether the MBS can provide certification in the requested scope.
  • After review, the MBS MSCD communicates to client acceptance or rejection of the application.

      Pre-audit Processes

  • MBS MSCD prepare and issue client certification quotation.
  • Client accepts the quotation.
  • MBS MSCD and client sign certification agreement
  • MBS MSCD issue certification invoice.
  • Client pay for the certification invoice.
  • MBS MSCD prepare certification program.


      Initial Certification Processes

Initial certification follows a two-stage process (stage 1 and stage 2).

Stage 1 audit is done to:

  • Confirm information on the application
  • Review the client's management system documented information.
  • Evaluate the client's site-specific conditions and to determine the preparedness for stage 2.
  • Review the client's status and understanding regarding requirements of the standard especially the key performance or significant areas.
  • Obtain necessary information regarding the scope of management system.
  • Review the allocation of resources for stage 2 and agree the details of stage 2 with the client
  • Provide focus for the stage 2 audit and agree with the client on the details for the stage two audit.
  • Evaluate if the client's internal audit and management reviews are being planned and performed.

Part of the stage 1 audit is conducted at the client's premises.  During stage one audit no nonconformities are raised but areas of concern that could be classified as nonconformities during stage 2 are identified.

MBS MSCD and the client will agree on date(s) for stage 2 audit but it should not be more than 6 months from the date of stage 1 audit. If 6 months elapse after stage 1 audit and the client is not ready for stage 2, then stage 1 audit shall be repeated but at the extra cost to the client.

Stage 2 Audit

Stage 2 audit takes place at the client’s site. The audit is  performed to evaluate the implementation of the client’s management system and its effectiveness.

Stage 2 audit includes the following, at minimum;

  1. Information and evidence about conformity to all requirements of the applicable management system standard or other normative document.
  2. Performance monitoring, measuring, reporting and reviewing against key performance objectives and targets.
  3. The client's management system and performance in complying with statutory, regulatory and contractual compliance.
  4. Operational control of the client's processes.
  5. Internal auditing and management review processes.
  6. Management responsibility for the client's policies.

During stage 2 audit, if non-conformities are found they are recorded and graded as either major or minor.

The client submits corrections and corrective actions Corrective action plans to MBS MSCD for all the nonconformities raised for review.

Nonconformities shall be cleared with 90 days from the date raised. If nonconformities are not cleared after 90 days then stage 2 audit may be repeated at extra cost to the client.

Upon clearance of nonconformities, the Team Leader/Auditor may recommend certification to Certification Committee.

Certification Decision

Certification Committee, based on recommendation from the Team Leader/Auditor, shall make certification decision. The decision shall be to grant certification or not, extend, suspend, withdraw or reduce certification scope.  Team Leader/Auditor shall not be member of the Certification Committee making decision on the certification process where the Team Leader/Auditor were involved.


Surveillance activities are performed for MBS MSCD can maintain confidence that the client’s management system continues to fulfil requirements between recertification audits.

Surveillance audits are conducted during the first two years of the certification cycle, and are carried out at least once a year before the recertification year (within 12 months from certification or another surveillance or recertification).

The MBS will issue an invoice for settlement by the client before undertaking any of the scheduled surveillance audits.

Each surveillance audit does not cover the whole scope but by the end of all the surveillances, the whole certification scope shall be covered.

During surveillance, if the system is found persistently or seriously not complying, the Team Leader/Auditor may recommend suspension, scope reduction or withdraw to the Certification Committee.


Recertification requires a full system audit in order to confirm the continued conformity and effectiveness of the management system as a whole, and its continued relevance and applicability for the scope of certification. Recertification activities are preferably to start six (6) months before the certificate expiry date, to allow for closure of any corrective actions and the reissue of the certification.

The recertification activity shall include the review of previous surveillance audit reports and consideration of the performance of the management system over the most recent certification cycle.

The MBS will issue an invoice for settlement by the client before undertaking any of the scheduled surveillance audits.

During recertification audit, if the system is found persistently or seriously not complying, the Team Leader/Auditor may recommend suspension, scope reduction or withdraw to the Certification Committee.


Suspension of certification when certification temporarily becomes invalid due to failure by client to fulfil key certification requirements like;

  1. The client’s certified management system has persistently or seriously failed to meet certification requirements, including requirements for the effectiveness of the management system.
  2. The certified client does not allow surveillance or recertification audits to be conducted at the required frequencies.
  3. The certified client has voluntarily requested a suspension.
  4. The client’s failure to pay annual and certification fees.

Under suspension, the client’s management system certification is temporarily invalid but the client shall still be obliged to pay certification fees even for the period under suspension.


MBS shall restore the suspended certification if the issues that resulted in the suspension have been resolved. Failure to resolve the issues that have resulted in the suspension in a time established by MBS shall result in withdrawal or reduction of the scope of certification.

The Certification Committee shall make a decision to restore based on recommendation from Team Leader/Auditor.


MBS MSCD may reduce the scope of certification to exclude the parts under the following circumstances;

  1. When the audit client persistently or seriously failed to meet the certification requirements for those parts of the scope of certification.
  2. The audit client has requested a reduction of scope.


MBS shall withdrawal of certification in the following cases:

  1. Failure to resolve the issues that have resulted in the suspension in a time established by MBS may result in withdrawal.
  2. The audit client has voluntarily requested to withdraw the certification.
  3. Termination of the certification agreement.
  4. Not providing evidence and/or ineffective evidence provided of correction, root cause analysis and corrective action within 90 days of the nonconformities.
  5. The client’s failure to pay annual and certification fees.

Upon withdrawal, the client shall to return certificate to MBS MSCD. The client shall also pay all the payments due for MBS MSCD. For those that are paid annually, the amount to be paid shall be calculated on pro-lata basis.


During audits, auditors;

  1. Examine and verify the structure, policies, processes, procedures, records and related documents of the client relevant to the management system;
  2. Determine that everything in (a) above meet all the requirements relevant to the intended scope of certification;
  3. Determine that processes and procedures are established, implemented and maintained effectively;
  4. Communicate to the Client, for his action, any inconsistencies between the client’s policy, objectives and targets (in accordance with the expectations in the relevant management system standard or other reference documents) and results.
  5. Identify opportunities for improvement, where appropriate, but not recommending specific solutions.

The Client is required to comply with all the provisions as stipulated in the contract document in order not to deter the progress of the certification process.

After the audit, the Client is required to analyse the cause and describe specific correction and corrective actions undertaken or planned to be undertaken, to eliminate detected nonconformities within a defined and agreed timeframe.

The MBS then reviews the corrections and corrective actions by the Client to determine their acceptability.


For transfer of certification from another certification body the process is as follows;

  1. Inquiry – where the prospective client inquire about management systems certification and MBS MSCD handles the inquiry and provides the necessary information and documentation.
  2. Application – the applicant completes Application for Transfer of Certification Form and submits to MBS MSCD.
  3. Assessment – MBS MSCD reviews the application and conduct pre-transfer review, which may include key system documents, the valid certificate from previous certification body. The review may include sight visit or special audit, if deemed necessary.
  4. Decision – recommendation of the pre-transfer review shall then be sent to Certification Committee for decision regarding the transfer.

As a general rule, only a valid certificate issued by accredited certification body can be transferred. If this pre-requisite is not fulfilled, the individual case shall be judged on its merit.

Upon successful transfer of certification from another certification body to MBS, the certification program by the previous certification body shall apply. In some cases the program may be adjusted for the smooth running of the certification cycles.


MBS has a procedure for use of Management Systems Certification mark that it authorizes certified clients to use.

The Management System Certification Mark of the MBS shall only be used:

  • With the name of the certified company;
  • With the certificate registration number;
  • With reference to certification standard;
  • Within the validity period of the certificate;
  • Within the certified scope/area;
  • By the certified company (the legal first owner);
  • Without any changes;
  • In colours as specified by MBS and with the possibility to alter the size but maintaining the dimensional ratios of the mark;
  • On documents, surfaces or advertising media;
  • On general company documents with a clear description of the certificate coverage/scope;
  • Not on products, nor on “primary packaging”. However, the mark may be used on product packaging provided that the following text is included in a manner that makes it obvious that the text and certification mark are linked: “Manufactured under a management system certified as complying with MS-ISO 9001/MS-ISO 22000 by an accredited certification body”.
  • Not on laboratory test reports, calibration or inspection reports because such reports are deemed to be products in this context.


Complainant fills Complaint Form and send to MBS MSC through the details provided on Certification Process - inquiry.

Upon receipt of a complaint MBS confirms whether the complaint relates to certification activities that it is responsible for, and if so, processes it. If the complaint relates to a certified client, then examination of the complaint considers the effectiveness of the certified management system. MBS refers any valid complaint about a certified client to the certified client in question at an appropriate time.

The complaints handling process has included at least the following elements and methods:

  1. an outline of the process for receiving, validating, investigating the complaint, and for deciding what actions are to be taken in response to it,
  2. tracking and recording complaints, including actions undertaken to resolve them, ensuring that any appropriate correction and corrective action is taken.

MBS acknowledges receipt of the complaint, and provides the complainant with reports and the result of the complaint. MBS gives formal notice of the end of the complaint handling process to the complainant, if possible. MBS determines, together with the certified client and the complainant, whether and, if so to what extent, the subject of the complaint and its resolution shall be made public.


An appeal is a can be logged when certification client is not satisfied with a decision or action by MBS MSCD personnel.

Appellant fills Appeals Form and send to MBS MSC through the details provided on Certification Process - inquiry.

The appeal handling process has included at least the following elements and methods:

  1. an outline of the process for receiving, validating, investigating the appeal, and for deciding what actions are to be taken in response to it, taking into account the results of previous similar appeals;
  2. tracking and recording appeals, including actions undertaken to resolve them;
  3. ensuring that appropriate correction and corrective action is taken.

MBS acknowledges receipt of the appeal and provides the appellant with reports and the result of the appeal. The decision to be communicated to the appellant must be made by, or reviewed and approved by, individual(s) not previously involved in the subject of the appeal. MBS gives formal notice to the appellant of the end of the appeal handling process.


Management of the Malawi Bureau of Standards Management Systems Certification Division (MBS MSCD) understands the importance of impartiality in the process of certification and therefore commits to ensure that management systems certification activities are conducted in an impartial, objective and conflict of interest free manner.

The MBS shall identify, analyse, evaluate, resolve, monitor and document potential sources of influences that could impact on impartiality and create an environment for conflict of interest.

Prevention and resolution of threats to impartiality shall be carried out through:

  1. Not allowing the certification process to be influenced by commercial, financial or other pressures.
  2. Reviewing and resolving any residual risk to remain within an acceptable level of risk.
  3. Applying a risk assessment process for the identification of risks and threats to impartiality
  4. Not certifying another Certification Body’s quality management system
  5. Not offering or providing management system consultancy.
  6. Not conducting internal audits to certified clients.
  7. Not certifying for at least two years an organization when consultancy has been provided by a body which has a relationship with MBS.
  8. Not outsourcing audits to management system consultancy organizations.
  9. Not promoting MBS certification linked with organizations providing management system consultancy.
  10. Correcting inappropriate links or statements from organizations stating or implying that MBS certification will be simpler, faster or even less expensive if the consulting organization is to be used.
  11. Not using external auditing personnel who have provided management system consultancy to the proposed certification client.
  12. Requiring from certification personnel, internal or external, to report any situation that may lead to being a threat to impartiality.

List of MSC Certified clients


For more information contact the undersigned:

Gloria Chaonamwene Mereka
Director of Quality Assurance Services Department
Malawi Bureau of Standards
P.O. Box 946

Telephone: (265) 1 870 488/
Mobile: (265)  882 004 488