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Certification bodies given two years for transition to ISO/IEC 17021:2006

Certification bodies have been given a deadline of 15 September 2008 for implementing ISO/IEC 17021:2006, the new standard designed to increase confidence in management system certification.
The deadline has been set, in consultation with ISO, by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), an international association of the accreditation bodies set up in many countries to approve (“accredit”) certification bodies as competent.
ISO/IEC 17021:2006, Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems, places rigorous requirements for competence and impartiality on the bodies that offer audit and certification to standards like ISO 9001:2000 (quality management) and ISO 14001:2004 (environmental management). It provides the option for a certification body to have a quality management system based on ISO 9001:2000 and to have conformity verified by accreditation bodies.
The IAF has set the 15 September 2008 deadline, two years after the publication of ISO/IEC 17021:2006, for the following reasons:
·         Migrating to the new requirements may require translations, changes to procedures, contracts, committees and other arrangements, all of which take time.
·         Certification bodies will also need time to identify changes needed to their own quality management systems to conform to the new requirements and to prepare and implement transition plans.
ISO/IEC 17021:2006 replaces and improves on two separate documents, ISO/IEC Guide 62:1996 and ISO/IEC Guide 66:1996, which respectively gave the requirements for certification bodies practising quality and environmental management system certification.
ISO/IEC 17021:2006 is compatible with a further expansion of management system certification. It has been designed as the single source of internationally harmonized requirements for certification bodies and their activities not only in relation to ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004, but also to new management standards for food safety (ISO 22000), information security (ISO/IEC 27001:2005) and supply chain security (ISO/PAS 28000:2005), as well as to any others that may be developed.
See full IAF-ISO communique on ISO/IEC 17021:2006 transition.