ISO 17021

ISO/IEC 17021 is a standard that was made for surveying certification bodies to guarantee that they are capable and that they adjust to a wide range of the board frameworks. These associations are generally called Certification Bodies (CBs). Another rendition of ISO/IEC 17021 was distributed in 2015. The standard helps guarantee that CBs are impartial and that the results of their audit are reliable.

The first ISO/IEC 17021 was distributed in 2006. As per this first publication, accredited IAF MLA the management system certification bodies were given two years from the principal date of production to comply with the norm. In 2011, there was a correction that was centered around competence, and all CB were given two years to conform to the new standard.


This part of ISO/IEC 17021 contains principles and requirements for the competence, consistency and impartiality of bodies providing audit and certification of all types of management systems.

Certification bodies operating to this part of SO/IEC 17021 do not need to offer all types of management system certification

Certification of management systems is a third-party conformity assessment activity and bodies performing this activity are therefore third-party conformity assessment bodies.

  • NOTE 1 Examples of management systems include environmental management systems, quality management systems and information security management systems.
  • NOTE 2 In this part of ISO/IEC 17021, certification of management systems is referred to as “certification” and third-party conformity assessment bodies are referred to as “certification bodies”.
  • NOTE 3 A certification body can be non-governmental or governmental, with or without regulatory authority.

Benefits of ISO/IEC 17021

  • Improved efficiency, productivity and effectiveness in the overall certification operation.
  • Improved level of motivation, co-operation, and quality awareness including competence.
  • Increased confidence in the certificate issued by certification body and competence of its auditors performing the audits for the certification of management system. Greater control of processes and activities throughout certification bodies.
  • Provide tips on analysis of data as well as perfect record-keeping.
  • Provide guidelines and better control for maintenance of records, etc
  • Establish confidence of management and its customers on the certificate and increase customers' trust as well as market share.
  • Better image of certification bodies as a quality certification body in global market.
  • Worldwide recognition and credibility.
  • An ISO 17021 accredited certification body has a definite edge over competitors.

Steps involved in ISO/IEC 17021 Accreditation

Exsolution Group has a vast experience for providing ISO 17021 consultancy in regards to the implementation and certification of ISO/IEC 17021 for all types of system certification like QMS, EMS, ISMS, EnMS, etc.

Thorough micro–level survey across all inspection parameter of the certifying bodies which cascades into a detailed gap analysis report

  • Preparation of applicable documents as required for ISO/IEC 17021:2012, based on detailed study of all activities of the inspection bodies, such as;
  • ISO 17021 Quality Manual,
  • Quality Procedures for ISO/IEC 17021 accreditation (mandatory procedures required by the standard),
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for certification of various activities management system used in the certification,
  • Formats to establish the objective evidence of implementation and to ensure control over all the management system,
  • Preparation of Quality Assurance Plan for maintaining and assuring quality of services provided to its customers,
  • Training for ISO 17020 across all levels of employees within the inspection bodies,
  • Assistance in effective implementation of system through periodic site visit till accreditation,
  • Conducting internal audit for ISO 17020 system to gauge preparation and readiness for the accreditation,

ISO/IEC 17021 Accreditation Certification

The ISO/IEC 17021 Certificate is issued by accreditation body, which is authorized to provide accreditation under the ISO/IEC 17021. The ISO 17021 certificate is issued for the specific period after successful completion of registration (final) assessment. Surveillance audits are conducted by the accreditation body after one year.

ISO/IEC 17021 is an accreditation, which is granted to the certification bodies by approved accreditation body. It is an accreditation not certification like ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and other system certifications.


ISO/IEC 17021-3 was set up by the ISO Technical Committee ISO/TC 176/SC 3 – Quality Management frameworks – Supporting advancements, and the ISO Committee on congruity evaluation (CASCO). It was circled for casting a ballot to the national assortments of both ISO and IEC, and was endorsed by the two associations.

  • This release of ISO/IEC 17021-3 drops and replaces ISO/IEC/TS 17021-3:2013, which has been in fact amended.
  • The accompanying significant changes have been made contrasted and ISO/IEC/TS 17021-3:2013:
  • The new prerequisites of ISO 9001:2015 which required extra ability to review them have been included. Expansion of quality management fundamental concepts, principles and their application;
  • Inclusion of the knowledge of the role of leadership of an organization in relation to its QMS
  • Inclusion of knowledge of application of risk based thinking including the determination of risks and opportunities
  • Inclusion of competence criteria for the auditor to understand the context of the organization
  • Assistance in conducting management review meeting in the presence of Top Management for suitable guidance of inspection body for effective implementation of all the issues related to inspection,
  • Witnessing/ demonstration of inspection activities to build confidence among the employees, etc.

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