The Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program is mandated by the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 to establish a common set of criteria for private sector preparedness, including disaster management, emergency management, and business continuity programs. The goal of this voluntary program is to enhance nationwide resilience in an all hazards environment by improving private sector preparedness. Participation in the program will be voluntary and intended to be driven by the marketplace.
The Act was signed into law on August 3, 2007. Title IX of this Act amends elements of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to include development of a voluntary private sector preparedness accreditation and certification program. At present, there is no comprehensive set of standards by which American businesses and other private sector entities can assess their preparedness for all hazards, and yet these organizations are more at risk than ever of catastrophic losses due to natural or other disasters.
Establishment of the Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was charged with a number of core tasks to establish the voluntary accreditation and certification program, which include:
- The Secretary of Homeland Security was directed to designate an officer within the department responsible for the voluntary program;
- Designate one or more organizations to act as an accrediting body;
- Designate one or more standards for assessing private sector preparedness;
- Provide information and promote the business case for voluntary compliance with preparedness standards;
- Monitor the effectiveness of the program on an ongoing basis; and
- Submit report to Congress on the program.
Program Management Structure
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff designated FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison in August 2007 as the designated officer. In this role, Administrator Paulison will chair the Private Sector Preparedness Council comprised of Department leadership from the Science & Technology Directorate, Office of Infrastructure Protection, and Private Sector Office who will advise on the development of the program. Members of the council include:
- Jay Cohen, Under Secretary, Science and Technology Directorate
- Robert Stephan, Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection
- Al Martinez-Fonts, Assistant Secretary for Private Sector
Establishment of an Accrediting Body
The second requirement of the legislation directed DHS to designate a third-party organization to act as an accrediting body for the voluntary program.
DHS has signed an agreement with the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) to develop and oversee the certification process, manage the accreditation, and accredit qualified third parties to carry out the certification in accordance with the accepted procedures of the program.
ANAB, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., is an internationally recognized organization that serves the conformity assessment needs of business and industry. ANAB is a certified International Accreditation Forum member and is the only accreditation organization for process/management system certifiers based in the United States.
Designation of Preparedness Standards
The third requirement of the legislation is to designate one or more standards for assessing private sector preparedness. In developing and implementing the program, DHS will consider preparedness standards, business continuity standards, and best practices established under other provisions of Federal law, regulations, and as established by sector-specific agencies. DHS will coordinate with other preparedne...