ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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ANSI Forges New Territory with Accreditation Program for Personnel Certifiers

First Course for Auditors Held; Board Committee Members Named

New York, Jul 16, 2002

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has broken new ground with the initial training session for auditors of its new Accreditation Program for Personnel Certifiers. Developed in collaboration with Excel Partnership, Inc., the Management System Lead Auditor Course was the first of its kind held in the U.S. and, perhaps, the world.

"ANSI has forged new territory in establishing a Global Accreditation Program for Personnel Certifiers and this training session, the first of many, is an important step in the program's development," explained Dr. Roy Swift, the program's director. "We believe that ANSI's latest accreditation offering will increase the potential for national and international reciprocity of certified individuals and help to create an internationally recognized framework and evaluation system."

Conducted at American Society of Association Executives conference center in Washington, DC on June 10-14, 2002, the one-week course was designed to prepare individuals to evaluate personnel certification bodies against the requirements of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Draft International Standard (DIS) 17024, General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification Systems of Persons. To date, ANSI's program is one of the first global accreditation programs to operate under an international standard.

In cooperation with Excel Partnership, a consulting firm dedicated to helping businesses and individuals maximize efficiency, performance and profitability through integrating business process improvement with international standards, Dr. Swift assisted in the development of the auditor course. Course content includes an overview of the audit process and its requirements; the structure of the ISO/IEC DIS 17024 requirements and its relationship to ISO 9001:2000, Quality management systems--requirements; the key principles of planning, performing and reporting audits; the roles of management and auditors; the content and structure of a documented management system; and how audits fit into the overall ANSI accreditation system.

Participants commented on the "demanding and comprehensive" nature of the training that included lecture, practical workshops, case studies, simulation, continuous evaluation and a written examination. Lane Hallenbeck, ANSI's vice-president of Conformity Assessment, explained, "The auditors who successfully completed the exam will go on to assess the certification bodies chosen for the pilot program in September. They will form the nucleus of the audit cadre."

The Institute introduced its new accreditation program to the standards and conformity assessment community in February 2002 during an Open Forum on ISO/IEC 17024: Accreditation of Personnel Certification Bodies and, thus far, has attained many of the goals announced at the event. In addition to commencing auditor-training courses, members of the Institute's Personnel Certification Accreditation Committee have been selected to assist in directing the program's development. The committee is composed of credentialing and academic experts led by the chairman, Dr. William Kelly of the Catholic University of America, and vice-chairman, David Wizda of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Dr. Kelly is also a member of the ANSI Board of Directors.

Of related interest, is the Institute's one-day course, "Personnel Certification Standards: Understanding the Requirements of ISO/IEC DIS 17024" (course no. 304), which is designed to introduce the standard to representatives from certification bodies that are considering ANSI accreditation. For more information on this course as well as the Institute's Education and Training Services, please contact Pamela Suett at 212.642.4976 or psuett@ansi.org.

Commenting on the overall goal of the program, Hallenbeck noted, "Personnel certification helps to verify that individuals have the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to perform their work; and a program based on ISO/IEC DIS 17024 will drive continual improvement in the competence of these professions. ANSI's Accreditation Program for Personnel Certifiers will confer additional credibility to these organizations and promote recognition in the international arena. In addition to enhancing the effectiveness of the certification organizations, this process will also support the Institute's mission to increase the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the quality of life for consumers and workers role of personnel around the world."

For additional information about ANSI's Accreditation Program for Personnel Certifiers, please contact Dr. Roy Swift at 202.331.3617 or rswift@ansi.org.

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