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Standard applicable to a certification body

Certification bodies are audited by an accreditation body against ISO 17021.
The audit process is similar to a certification process.

ISO 17021 : 2006 in a nutshell

The overall aim of this standard is to give confidence and trust in a certificate.
The principles for inspiring confidence and trust are:


  • * Publicly accessible information of certification status ISO17021 of any organization.
  • * Publicly accessible information of suspended certificatesISO17021.
  • * Openness and responsiveness to complaintsISO17021 including complaints about a certified client.
  • Info between a CB and client about
    • audit and certification process.
    • * Publicly procedures for handling complaintsISO17021.
    • use of marks and certificates.


Definition: Actual and perceived presence of impartiality

  • * Publicly accessible statement of impartialityISO17021.
  • Committee for safeguarding impartiality.

Threats to impartiality:
  • Self-interest :* Marketing  or offering consultancy, products, specific training, ...
  • Self-review
  • Familiarity
  • Intimidation

Certification Process requirements

  • * Publicly accessible process for handling of appealsISO17021.
  • Initial audit and certification(3 years cycle).
  • Surveillance activities (at least annually).


  • Proven knowledge, expertise and Skills. in the organization’s field or industry. An individual whose only background is in healthcare does not have the requisite competence to assess a chemical manufacturing facility.
  • ISO19011 Guidelines for auditing management systems are mandatory and shall be implemented.


  • Subcontracting, external auditors and external technical experts shall not be outsourced to a management system consultancy organization.
  • The certification body shall retain the authority for granting or not a certificate

Management system requirements

  • As defined in ISO 17012 or ISO 9001 w/o certification

Use the above requirements of ISO17021 and public information (*) available on the CBs website to refine the confidence level of a certificate.


Roger De Vos
QMS Consultant

Hof te Walle 44
8500 Kortrijk

Tel: +32 56 201 996
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