The second edition of ISO/IEC 17024 was published in July 2012. This updated version includes some changes that Certification Bodies (CB) will need to implement within their management systems in order to maintain UKAS accreditation in the future. The purpose of this Bulletin is to explain the transition process that UKAS is putting in place to enable the CB’s accreditation to be transferred to the new standard within an internationally agreed timeframe. It is important that each CB considers the content of this Bulletin carefully so that we can work towards a seamless transition period culminating in the successful transfer of accreditation.
It has been agreed by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) that the transition period will be 3 years. As the second edition was published on 1st July 2012 this means that all Personnel Certification Bodies will need to have successfully transferred to the new standard by 1st July 2015.
UKAS will be in a position to start assessing to the 2012 standard from June 2013.
In order to minimise disruption and reduce additional cost it is UKAS’s intention to undertake the assessments for transition purposes with each CB’s scheduled annual visits. From June 2013 to the end of March 2014 the CB will have the option of deciding whether it wishes to proceed directly with the transition assessment or whether to defer this to the following scheduled visit to allow additional time to implement and monitor the effectiveness of the new requirements. If the CB chooses to defer then during the assessment within that time period the UKAS assessment team shall identify where the CB does not currently meet the new requirements of the 2012 standard and shall report these as recommended findings. (These are for information only, and no evidence will be required).
From 1st April 2014 all assessments will be conducted against the requirements of the 2012 standard.
In order for a seamless transfer of accreditation to take place it is imperative that all mandatory findings are effectively addressed before the transition deadline. Therefore any action plan for your particular transition must include appropriate time for the submission of evidence, the review of this evidence by the UKAS team, any follow-up actions and evidence review, and time for UKAS to complete its independent decision making process: It is therefore strongly recommended that corrective actions should be received by UKAS by the end of March 2015.
Shortly before each transition assessment the CB will be asked to provide a gap analysis/implementation plan demonstrating how the organisation has implemented the new requirements of the 2012 standard. This document will be used by the UKAS assessment team during the assessment process to help determine compliance and hence to make a recommendation regarding transition.
Subject to resource availability, Certification Bodies can request additional assessments if they wish to have their transition assessment earlier than the scheduled visit. If this is an option a CB wishes to consider then they should discuss this with their assessment manager at the earliest opportunity.
Accreditation Decision and Grant
All transition assessments 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 17024: 2003 to ISO/IEC 17024: 2012. Actual transfer of accreditation cannot take place until all mandatory findings have been addressed to the satisfaction of the UKAS assessment team, and a final UKAS decision has been made.
Please note that existing accreditation to ISO/IEC 17024: 2003 will remain valid until transition is achieved, or until 30 June 2015.
From June 2013 all initial assessments shall be conducted against the requirements of ISO/IEC 17024: 2012. For new applicants that wish to proceed prior to this date, each individual case will be discussed to agree the most suitable approach.
If a CB wishes to apply for an extension to its accredited scope during the transition period then the CB will need to discuss with their assessment manager the most appropriate version of the standard to be assessed against. If the CB is deferring the transition assessment (see above) then applications for extensions during 2013 should be considered for assessment against ISO/IEC 17024: 2003. However, once the CB has started to implement a 2012-compliant system, and particular once UKAS has begun its assessment of this, then such extension assessments should be considered for assessment against ISO/IEC 17024: 2012.
Please Note: No applications for extension to scope will be accepted to the 2003 standard after the end of December 2014.
Related UKAS Publications
UKAS publications related to ISO/IEC 17024 are currently being reviewed and any necessary updates are being initiated.
For sector schemes based upon ISO 17024, UKAS is discussing the necessary steps with the individual scheme owners.
Should you require any clarification to the above please contact your Assessment Manager, or Kevin Belson – Technical Manager.