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A Brief Introduction to the Certification Process
The Bermuda National Standards Committee (BNSC) operates a certification process under the direction of the BNSC Certification Board (BNSC-CB).
The purpose of certification is to help charities and other private organizations that are seeking government and/or community funds to demonstrate through compliance with a set of internationally recognized standards of practice that they are effectively and efficiently operating.
Unique Characteristics of Certification Standards and Process.
The certification process involves a detailed review and analysis of an organization's administrative operations against international standards of best practice for charitable organizations.
The certification process is designed as a partnership between BNSC-CB and the organization. BNSC-CB views certification as a strategy for an organization to achieve its mission and measure and validate its achievements. BNSC-CB's certification process is facilitative, collegial, and supportive of the unique cultural needs and goals of the organization and the people it serves.
The standards are clear, succinct, and organized in a positive outcomes framework. The standards were developed through standards panels comprised of professionals, academics, service providers, and consumers.
Organizations pursuing certification must demonstrate compliance with all of the standards. These standards encompass those aspects of operations that apply to all organizations regardless of the services provided.
The standards are divided under 9 main areas:
1. Ethical Practice
2. Financial Management
4. Human Resources
5. Performance and Quality Improvement
6. Risk Prevention and Management
7. Administration and Service Environment
8. Client Rights
9. Financial Viability
Non Applicable Standards
If an organization believes that a standard should not be applicable to them, they may request an
“NA” using the NA Request Form three months before the self study is due.
An organization interested in applying for BNSC Certification can request an application from the
BNSC Manager. Once the BNSC-CB receives your organization's completed Application, it will review it within 2 weeks. BNSC will then send the organization a Certification Agreement, which, among other items, contains the timelines and fees. The certification process typically takes between six to twelve months to complete and involves a participatory self-evaluation/ self- study process.
The self-study is a written document that the organization completes prior to the BNSC site visit.
The organization submits three copies of its self-study to BNSC by September 1.
The Site Visit
A Peer Reviewer team will review the self- study and then make a site visit which takes place in
October. The peer reviewers are trained to conduct an onsite review of an organization’s
operating practices as compared to their stated practices.
Prior to the site visit, the peer reviewers will review the organization's self-study materials and make preliminary decisions regarding implementation. On site, the peer reviewers will conduct
activities intended to verify and clarify the information contained in the self-study and to assess if the organization has implemented into practices its standards of compliance.
Following the Site Visit
Based on the findings of the peer reviewers, BNSC-CB produces a Preliminary Certification
Report (PCR), which is reviewed with the organization following the site visit. Organizations then
have until December 1st to provide their response to the BNSC-CB, the decision-making body,
The organization receives a Final Certification report following the successful completion of the
process. This provides the organization with a complete set of ratings for all applicable standards.
Certification is effective for four years from the date of the initial certification. All organizations
must certify annually between certification reviews that they are continuing to implement the
The re-certification process commences 12 months prior to an organization's certification expiration date through written notification from BNSC-CB. Organizations that come up for re-certification following publication of new standards are required to comply with the new standards.
Sponsorship of Certification
The Bermuda National Standards Committee (BNSC) is jointly funded by the government and the Bermuda Donor’s Forum members. Its mission is to improve the quality of Bermuda’s human services through accreditation of prevention and treatment service organizations and to improve the quality of all non-profits through the certification of charities.
For information, contact:
c/o The Family Centre
PO Box HM 681
Hamilton HM CX, Bermuda
Tel: (441) 336-2821
Target Audience: Corporate/Foundation Donor | Nonprofit Organisation | Individual Donor | Corporate Donor/Fnd | Advocate