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Certification Bodies to Transition to Single International Management System Standard

New York, Dec 20, 2006

Certification bodies have until September 2008 to transition to the new International Standard for management system certification—ISO/IEC 17021:2006. The standard houses in a single document internationally harmonized requirements for the audit certification of all types of management systems and for the bodies that provide these services.

ISO/IEC 17021:2006, Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems, replaces and improves on ISO/IEC Guide 62:1996 and ISO/IEC Guide 66:1996, which detail respectively requirements for bodies that offer certification of quality management (ISO 9001:2000) and environmental management systems (ISO 14001:2004).

“This consolidation of the two previous Guides is a major step towards improved confidence in accredited third party management systems certification and allows for future integration beyond just the quality and environmental contexts,” said Lane Hallenbeck, vice president of accreditation services at the American National Standards Institute.

In addition to quality and environmental management systems, ISO/IEC 17021 will also apply to new management standards for food safety (ISO 22000); information security (ISO/IEC 27001:2005); supply chain security (ISO/PAS 28000:2005); and others that may be developed in the future.

Published in September by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the standard also has the backing of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF)—the international association of conformity assessment accreditation bodies around the globe.

IAF set the deadline for full transition to ISO 17021:2006 to September 15, 2008—two years after the initial publication of the standard—to accommodate the significant changes necessary to facilitate the migration. Certification bodies will need time to identify changes to their own quality management systems in order to meet the new requirements and to prepare and implement transition plans.

ISO/IEC 17021 was developed by the ISO committee on conformity assessment (CASC) and its working group on management system certification.

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