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ISO/IEC 17021-1: 2015 Transition Arrangements

ISO/IEC 17021-1 2015 was published on 8th June 2015, one week earlier than originally expected. To coincide with this the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) has also published an updated version of IAF MD5 – Determination of Audit Time of Quality and Environmental Management Systems.

ISO/IEC 17021-1: 2015 will replace ISO 17021: 2011 and will result in the need for Certification Bodies (CBs) to implement changes within their management systems and processes in order to maintain UKAS accreditation in the future. The purpose of this updated bulletin is to reconfirm and clarify the transition process that UKAS has put in place to enable each certification body’s accreditation to be transferred to the new standard within an internationally agreed timeframe.

It has been agreed by the IAF that the transition period will be 2 years. This means that all Management Systems Certification Bodies will need to have successfully transferred to the new standard within 2 years from the publication date, i.e. 8th June 2017. IAF informative document ID11 provides further information, http://www.iaf.nu/upFiles/IAFID11_ISO170211TransitionPublicationVersion06032015.pdf

Transition Assessment

UKAS will be assessing each accredited Certification Body’s implementation of the new standard from 1st March 2016 to 28th February 2017 as part of its scheduled annual visit.

CBs are requested to provide a completed UKAS Extension to Scope application form (AC1), together with relevant information (see below) in order for UKAS to progress the assessment for the updating of the scope of accreditation to the new standard.

Information Requirements

Certification Bodies are required to complete a gap analysis and submit this and a transition plan to UKAS three months prior to their assessment, together with the AC1 application form, which is available on the UKAS website. This information will be used to help plan the content of the transition assessment.

Any areas in which the new standard is not being met will be raised as Mandatory findings. Corrective actions for any Mandatory findings will need to be verified and closed out before a final decision of accreditation to ISO/IEC 17021-1 can be granted.

Subject to resource availability, Certification Bodies can request additional assessments if they wish to have their transition assessment earlier than the schedule visit. If this is an option you wish to consider then please discuss with your assessment manager at the earliest opportunity.

Accreditation Decision and Grant

All transition assessment shall require an independent decision to be made, based upon the recommendation of the assessment team, in order to confirm that accreditation can be transferred from ISO/IEC 17021: 2011 to the new standard. Actual transfer of accreditation cannot take place until all mandatory findings have been address to the satisfaction of the UKAS assessment team and a final UKAS decision has been made.

Please note that accreditation to ISO/IEC 17021: 2011 will remain valid until transition is achieved, or until 2 years from publication of the new standard.

New Applicants

From 1st January 2016 all initial assessments shall be conducted against the requirements of ISO/IEC 17021-1: 2015. For new applicants that wish to proceed prior to this date, each individual case will be discussed to agree the most suitable approach.

Scope Extensions

If a CB wishes to apply for an extension to its accredited scope during the transition period then the CB concerned will need to discuss with their assessment manager the most appropriate version of the standard to be assessed against.

Please Note: No applications for extension to scope will be accepted to ISO/IEC 17021: 2011 after the end of December 2016.

Related UKAS Publications

UKAS publications related to Management Certification are currently being reviewed and any necessary updates are being initiated.

For sector schemes based upon ISO/IEC 17021, UKAS is discussing the necessary steps with the individual scheme owners.

If you have any queries regarding this bulletin, please contact the UKAS Technical Manager – Kevin Belson at [email protected]