Quality Progress - January 2014 - 56
BY DALE K. GORDON
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).
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
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
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - January 2014
Mr. Pareto Head
Breaking Down Barriers
Follow the Fundamentals
Back in Service
Quality in the First Person
One Good Idea
Quality Progress - January 2014