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Your Accreditation Body must follow IAF Guidance

ISO Audit sml

And there are recent updates to IAF Mandatory Documents

Ever wondered if your Accreditation Body (AB) was ‘making it up as they went along’?  Well, provided they are members of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) - the only credible body for Accreditation Body recognition - they can’t invent requirements. 

You may be familiar with Registration Bodies inventing requirements, often in the guise of ‘guidance’, but accreditation bodies are obliged by their membership of IAF to follow guidance, most especially the Mandatory Documents.  IAF Documentation establishes the limit of interpretation that certification bodies (CB) and accreditations bodies may apply.

Note 1: In addition to Mandatory Documents, IAF has also published guidance on Quality Management System (QMS) auditing of ISO 9001 and guidance for accreditation auditors.  Further guidance is being prepared by the IFAF’s Accreditation Auditing Practices Group (AAPG). For a complete list of publications visit the IAF website.

Note 2: ILAC is the sister organization to IAF for accreditation of laboratories.


Recent revisions to IAF Mandatory Documents

IAF Mandatory documents are not intended to establish, interpret, subtract from or add to the requirements of any ISO/IEC Guide or Standard, but simply to assure consistent application of those Guides or Standards. 

Some recent revisions/updates are given below; copies of all published IAF Mandatory Documents are available on the links (we’ve limited ourselves to changes with effectivity dates after 01 January 2019)

IAF MD 4:2018 IAF Mandatory Document for the Use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Auditing/Assessment Purposes


(Issue 2, Issued 04 July 2018, application from 04 July 2019)ISO 9001:2015 Lead Implementer
The scope of this document is for the auditing/assessment of management systems, persons and product and is applicable to conformity assessment bodies and accreditation bodies. The use of ICT is not mandatory and may be used for other types of conformity assessment activities, but if used as part of the audit/assessment methodology, it is mandatory to conform to this document.

IAF MD 5:2019 Determination of Audit Time of Quality, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems


(Issue 4, Issued 07 May 2019, application from 07 May 2020)


This document is mandatory for the consistent application of the relevant clauses of ISO/IEC 17021-1 for audits of quality, environmental, and occupational health and safety management systems. All clauses of ISO/IEC 17021-1 continue to apply, and this document does not supersede any of the requirements in that standard.

IAF MD 11:2019 IAF Mandatory Document for the Application of ISO/IEC 17021-1 for Audits of Integrated Management Systems


(Issue 2, issued on 17 January 2019; application from 17 January 2020)


This document provides requirements for the application of ISO/IEC 17021-1 for the planning and delivery of audits of Integrated Management Systems and, if appropriate, the certification of an organization's management system(s) against two or more sets of audit criteria/standards.

IAF MD 17:2019 Witnessing Activities for the Accreditation of Management Systems Certification Bodies


(Issue 2, Issued 07 May 2019, application from 07 May 2020) 


This document is mandatory for the consistent application of the relevant clauses of ISO/IEC 17011:2017 Conformity assessment - General requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies.

IAF MD 17:2015 Witnessing Activities for the Accreditation of Management Systems Certification Bodies


(Issue 1, Version 2, issued on 09 January 2015; Application from 07 January 2018) [SUPERSEDED BY IAF MD 17:2019]


This document is mandatory for the consistent application of the relevant clauses of ISO/IEC 17011:2004. It applies to the accreditation of Management Systems Certification Bodies except for those provisions that conflict with what is established in applicable standards, other IAF documents, specifications and legislation. Sections 4 & 5 are specific to the accreditation of QMS and EMS Certification Bodies.

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IAF MD 22:2019 Application of ISO/IEC 17021-1 for the Certification of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OH&SMS)


(Issue 2, issued on 07 May 2019; application from 07 May 2020)


This document is mandatory for the consistent application of ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 for the accreditation of Certification Bodies providing certification of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OH&SMS).

IAF MD 22:2018 Application of ISO/IEC 17021-1 for the Certification of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OH&SMS)


(Issue 1, issued on 25 January 2018; application from 25 January 2018) [SUPERSEDED BY IAF MD 22:2019]


This document is mandatory for the consistent application of ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 for the accreditation of Certification Bodies providing certification of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OH&SMS).

IAF MD 23:2018 Control of Entities Operating on Behalf of Accredited Management Systems Certification Bodies


(Issue 1, issued on 08 May 2018; application from 08 May 2019)


This document relates to entities, performing and/or managing management system certification activities, on behalf of Certification Bodies (CBs) holding accreditation, which are not wholly or partly owned or employed by the CB.

But what does it mean in practice?

If during an external audit (CB or AB), and most likely at the Closing Meeting, there is a finding that you are unclear about or that you dispute, you are entitled to be given reference to the official guidance documents that justify the auditor’s interpretation. And this in addition to the evidence recorded in the auditors’ working papers.  Hesitation and evasiveness would suggest that you should appeal such findings, which appeal is also within your rights.

They can’t make it up!

Source IAF Website: https://www.iaf.nu/ (13 June 19)

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Written by Dr John FitzGerald

Director & Founder of deGRANDSON Global. He spent 15 years in the manufacturing industry and 25 years training, consulting & auditing management systems

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