ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 Transition Arrangements

ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 was published on 8th June, one week earlier than originally expected, to coincide with this International Accreditation Forum (IAF).

Additionally, an updated version of IAF MD5 – Determination of Audit Time of Quality and Environmental Management Systems has been published with further information on MD5 to follow in a later post.

As readers of this site will recall, ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 will replace ISO/IEC 17021:2011 and will result in the need for Certification Bodies to implement changes within their management systems and processes in order to maintain accreditation with their National Accreditation Body (NAB, such as ANAB in the USA & UKAS in the UK).

This change comes at a time when the Management System Standards (MSS), such as ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 are. themselves, being re-published & will, no doubt, affect the delivery of certification and auditing by Certification Bodies.

The IAF has agreed a transition period of two years, which will mean that all Management Systems Certification Bodies will need to have successfully transferred to the new standard within two years from the publication date (8 June 2017). Further information on the transitional requirements can be found in the IAF Informative Document ID11 available at

It should be noted that accreditation to ISO/IEC 17021: 2011 will remain valid until transition is achieved, or until 2 years from publication of the new International Standard (8 June 2017).

Transition Assessment
It is anticipated that each NAB will be assessing each accredited Certification Body’s implementation of the new standard with UKAS aiming to start from 1 March 2016 to 28 February 2017 as part of its scheduled assessment programme. However, early assessments may be possible, depending on available resource, from January 2016 should a Certification Body wish, and be ready for an earlier transition.

Certification Bodies will be required to complete a gap analysis and submit this with a transition plan to UKAS 3 months prior to their assessment. This information will be used to help plan the content of the transition assessment.

Any requirements that are not met by the Certification Body will be raised as Mandatory findings. Corrective actions for any Mandatory findings will need to be verified and closed out before a final decision of accreditation to ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 can be granted.

There are no specific actions that certified client need to take at this moment but some of the transition processes affected their Certification Body may, additionally, impact on the delivery of their certification and auditing. It is beneficial that certified clients are aware of these transitional changes and how it may affect them, now and over the next two years.

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