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ISO/IEC 17021-1 Clause 5.2.4: ISO CASCO Clarification

For the attention of ISO/IEC 17021-1: 2015 accredited Certification Bodies:

This Technical Bulletin is to raise the awareness of the clarification recently issued by ISO/CASCO regarding the interpretation of clause 5.2.4: “A certification body shall not certify another certification body for its quality management system.” The full clarification can be obtained from the ISO/CASCO website http://www.iso.org/iso/conformity-assessment_resources.

Please be aware that clarification requests for the ISO/CASCO 17000 series conformity assessment standards are reviewed and answered by the ISO/CASCO Maintenance Group established from the ISO Working Group responsible for the standard concerned.

ISO/CASCO clarifications represent a consensus of the Maintenance Group members as an aid to understanding the intent of the clause.  Clarifications cannot be considered as new requirements. They are considered for inclusion in the relevant standards only when they are revised (please see ISO/CASCO website).


Questions raised:                              

Clause 5.2.4

A certification body shall not certify another certification body for its quality management system. 



Is the term “certification body” intended to mean all types of certification bodies (ISO/IEC 17021, 17024, 17065)? For instance, it is our understanding that a certification body of product or persons could be certified according to ISO 9001.



Does the impossibility of certifying “another certification body” apply to all types of activity?

For instance, is it possible to certify the training centre of a CB according to ISO 9001? Is it possible to certify a department of a CB that has nothing to do with certification?



ISO/CASCO considerations

Consensus position of the maintenance group

Note clause 5.2.4 in ISO/IEC 17021:2011 stated “A certification body shall not certify another certification body for its management system certification activities.”  In the 2015 revision, the maintenance team are of the opinion that leaving off the words “for its management system activities” was an unintended change in the intent of this clause.


[Consensus position to] QUESTION 1 [above]                                                                                                         

No, as this standard applies only to management system certification bodies, the prohibition in 5.2.4 applies only to them and for management system certification activity. Therefore a Management System certification body cannot certify the QMS of another Management System certification body.


[Consensus position to] QUESTION 2 [above]                                                                                                         

Yes, a certification body can be certified to ISO 9001 for activities other than management system certification. The intent of clause 5.2.4 of ISO/IEC 17021:2015 standard is to allow a CB to certify compliance of another CB with standards such as ISO 14001 and ISO 27001 standards and for a CB that is carrying out activities different from management system certification activities to have these activities certified by another CB provided that all requirements of ISO/IEC 17021-1 including impartiality are complied with.


Therefore a Management System certification body shall not certify another Management System certification body for its quality management system certification activities but can certify one for its ISMS, EnMS, RTMS, etc., if so requested.


All UKAS assessors that work with ISO/IEC 17021-1: 2015 have been made aware of this clarification.


If you have any queries about this bulletin please contact the UKAS Technical Manager – Kevin Belson ([email protected])