Original publish date – Fri, 13 Aug 2010 06:40:08 +0000, Keith

The scenario: An agency has applied to SANAS and received its pre-assessment letter. The letter expired in June 2010. The agency produced a certificate for their client in July 2010, after the certificate has expired.
Is it valid?
Points to consider:
1) The minister’s notices states that a valid certificate is one that is produced by an accredited agency or one that has a valid pre-assessment letter. The term “valid pre-assessment letter” is crucial. SANAS issues pre-assessment letters that all carry an expiry date. In the case of the above scenario the agency’s pre-assessment letter had expired.

2) The agency began its work with its client while its pre-assessment letter was valid. The work took longer than expected and they could only sign the certificate after their letter expired.

3) The agency had good reason to believe that it would receive full accreditation around about the same time that its pre-assessment letter expired.

Is the certificate they issued valid? Following the strict guidelines of the minister’s notice the answer is NO. At the exact date if issue of the certificate, it was not accredited and had no valid pre-assessment letter. If the agency obtains its accredited later this year, the inclination is to accept the certificate because the agency has subsequently become accredited. This would be similar to a person who decides to operate on a  patient, and later on become a surgeon. It did not give him the right to operate at the time. Similarly driving a vehicle without a license because in the future you will get the license will still earn a fine.

Even if the final accreditation is a formality, as the agency believes, that fact is as at today the agency has not been accredited – 3 months after signing the certificate.

SANAS has a rule that they do not reissue pre-assessment certificates, unlike licensing authorities that allow one to take a learners license multiple times. If this is blatantly unfair, then it is a matter for the agency and SANAS, and still does not give anyone the right to issue valid certificates.

Conclusion: In our opinion the certificate is not valid.