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The Importance of Accredited Certification

Organizations looking to certify their management systems to ISO 9001 should be using only Accredited Certification Bodies. Accreditation reduces risk for business and its customers by assuring them that accredited bodies are competent to carry out the work they undertake. To understand the advantages of accredited certification, it’s important to understand the following definitions:
Certification Body (CB), or Registrar: the organization providing auditing and certification/registration services so called conformity assessment - demonstration that specified requirements relating to a product, process, system, person or body are fulfilled
  • Accreditation Body: organizations that provide oversight to CBs, by assessing them against international voluntary standards such as ISO/IEC 17021. They may be linked to governments, and have to comply with the International Standard ISO/IEC17011.. Examples: ANAB, UKAS, JAS-ANZ.
  • International Accreditation Forum (IAF): The International Accreditation Forum, Inc. (IAF) is the world association of Conformity Assessment Accreditation Bodies and other bodies interested in conformity assessment in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment. Its primary function is to develop a single worldwide program of conformity assessment which reduces risk for business and its customers by assuring them that accredited certificates may be relied upon. Accreditation assures users of the competence and impartiality of the body accredited. IAF members accredit certification or registration bodies that issue certificates attesting that an organisation's management, products or personnel comply with a specified standard (called conformity assessment).More information:
  • International Standardization Organization (ISO): ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards.. ISO does not carry out auditing or certification nor oversees accreditation bodies and the IAF.
  • ISO/CASCO: ISO's policy development committee on conformity assessment, reporting to the ISO Council.
The diagram below helps explain the structure of management system certification and to demonstrate that accreditation provides confidence.
The above diagram shows that there is strong oversight over accredited certification bodies. This helps ensure that:
  • Certification Bodies (Registrars) will service their certification customers in accordance with ISO/IEC 17021.
  • You will receive a high level of service from accredited CBs, as these are regularly audited by Accreditation Bodies to ensure competency and adherence to ISO/IEC 17021.
  • Auditors from CBs (Registrars) are competent to audit companies looking for certification.
  • Certification Bodies will audit clients in an impartial manner, and carry on its activities and audits in the basis of evidence.
  • Certification Bodies will be responsive to complains from customers and other parties.
A communiqué recently published by ISO and IAF also outlines information about accredited certification, and includes the information below.
Download the original document.


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