Quality Progress - January 2014 - 56

STANDARDS OUTLOOK BY DALE K. GORDON Common Ground Ensuring proper assessment of standards compliance globally I RECENTLY returned from the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) annual tions conforming to recognized standards. Accreditation by a recognized AB In other cases, such as in the United States, ABs are independent organizations that col- meeting in Seoul, South Korea. There, IAF ensures the impartiality and competence lect fees for the accreditation service but members coordinate activities, agree on of the CB, and fosters confidence and follow all of the MLA requirements. cooperation methods and work in subcom- acceptance of the CB's certifications by mittees and technical committees to end users in public and private sectors. ments for the issuance of certifications and establish requirements, policies and rules This is essential so an organization can be the determination of the competency of per- of operation for the global accreditation of confident in the certification it obtains to sonnel and the processes to be performed. just about anything. demonstrate compliance to a standard. In fact, there are existing International This is not to say that there are no require- Accreditation ensures the CB is com- Organization for Standardization (ISO) stan- "... the world association of conformity petent and has procedures, processes and dards that serve this purpose, many of which assessment accreditation bodies and personnel in place to manage the certifica- have been promulgated by IAF in coopera- other bodies interested in conformity tion process under consistent and agreed tion with the ISO Committee on Conformity assessment in the fields of management on rules from the ABs. Assessment (CASCO), which works on The IAF is defined as: standards such as the ISO 17000 series.2 systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programs of conformity Auditing the auditors assessment. Its primary function is to Where, however, is the assurance that there that vote and publish the current standards. develop a single worldwide program of is agreement across ABs on what these These standards include requirements for conformity assessment which reduces rules, processes and procedures should ABs' accreditation of CBs (ISO 17011), risk for business and its customers by be so certifications can cross borders and requirements for CBs' certification of man- assuring them that accredited certificates be accepted globally? This is important in agement systems (ISO 17021), requirements may be relied upon. Accreditation assures facilitating commerce and assuring custom- for the duration of management systems users of the competence and impartiality ers the organizations and personnel they do audits (ISO 17023) and requirements for of the body accredited." business with-as well as the products they CBs' certification of products, processes Most of us in the standards writing, com- use-comply with standards as intended. and services (ISO 17065). 1 CASCO is comprised of 75 countries Some of these standards replace what pliance and implementation process rec- In simple terms, who is auditing the ognize the fairly well-established schemes auditors? Beyond the accreditation of the were known originally in the certification that are used across various standards, CBs, who is overseeing the ABs? This is process as Guides 62 and 65, as well as such as ISO 9001 or similar systems for where the IAF comes in. The IAF consists other ISO guidance on conformity assess- aerospace, automotive, the environment, of ABs who agree to abide by a certain set ment. forestry, food safety, healthcare, medical of requirements for themselves and the devices, security and telecommunications. CBs they oversee. Additionally, we recognize the certifica- Participation in the IAF acts as an agree- IAF, however, is the glue that holds the system together. There are implementation issues and variables in these standards tion processes that are in place for these ment and facilitates a peer-review process that require clarification for consistency standards to allow for global recogni- to ensure the ABs follow the established across the globe. For this reason, IAF issues tion of compliance. These processes are rules. This is accomplished through the various mandatory documents (MD) for its facilitated through the use of certifica- multilateral agreement (MLA), which each member organizations to assist in filling in tion bodies (CB) that are accredited by of the member ABs signs. gaps or addressing implementation issues. accreditation bodies (AB). The role of the There are 63 countries and 70 ABs that The MDs are put forward by technical ABs, for the most part, is to assess and sign the MLA. Some ABs are government committees and voted on by IAF members. accredit CBs, ensuring they demonstrate entities that have the sole authority to ac- These MDs include interpretative require- competence to audit and certify organiza- credit CBs for the issuance of certifications. ments. Examples include: 56 QP * www.qualityprogress.com http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - January 2014

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
Breaking Down Barriers
Follow the Fundamentals
Fresh Perspective
Back in Service
Quality in the First Person
Career Corner
Innovation Imperative
Statistics Roundtable
Standards Outook
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
One Good Idea

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