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New edition of ISO/IEC 17020:2012

The new edition of ISO / IEC 17020:2012 - Conformity assessment - Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection was published on 1st March 2012.

Accordingly, the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) decided that a transitional period for the implementation of the new version of ISO / IEC 17020 should be 3 years following its 2012 publication or until 1st March 2015.

The structure of ISO / IEC 17020:2012 is compliant with other standards of ISO / IEC 17000 series. The following parts of the IAF / ILAC A4 guideline and mandatory requirements of ISO / PAS document were incorporated in the new edition of the standard: requirements regarding the impartiality from IS /PAS 17001, confidentiality requirements of ISO/PAS 17002, requirements related to appeals and complaints from ISO/PAS 17003, and requirements for the Use of Management Systems from ISO/PAS 17005. Furthermore, this edition contains a number of definitions (e.g. inspection schemes, inspection systems, etc.) that will enable better understanding of the standard requirements.

ISO/IEC 17020:2012 includes amendments contained in the following requirements:

4.1.3 Identification of risks to inspection body’s impartiality;

4.1.4 Elimination or minimisation of risk to impartiality;

Annex A-notes: data clarification - exceptions that do not present a conflict that would affect the independence of inspection bodies;

4.2.1 The inspection body shall be responsible, through legally enforceable commitments, for the management of all information; informing the client in advance of the information it intends to place in the public domain;

5.1.4 Adequate provision (e.g., insurance or reserves);

5.2.5 The inspection body shall have available one or more person(s) as technical manager(s);

6.1.5 Documented procedures for selecting, training, formally authorizing and monitoring inspectors and other personnel involved in inspection activities;

6.1.6 A mentored working period with experienced inspectors;

6.1.8 Monitoring all inspectors and other personnel involved in inspection activities for satisfactory performance and results of monitoring shall be used as a means of identifying training needs;

7.1.1 Informing the client if the inspection method proposed by the client is considered to be inappropriate;

7.3.2 Internally traceable report or certificate to the inspector(s) who performed the inspection;

7.4.2 Mandatory elements of any inspection report/certificate; a statement of conformity where applicable;

7.5.2 A description of the handling process for complaints and appeals shall be available to any interested party;

7.6 The handling process for complaints and appeals (minimum elements and methods, requirements for reporting on the actions undertaken and ensuring that any appropriate action is taken);

8.1.1. Options A and B for establishment of a management system;

8.3.2. Document control procedures;

8.5.3 Outputs from the management review;

8.7.4 Corrective action procedures;

8.8. Preventive actions (requirements, elements of the procedure).

On 23rd May 2012 the Institute for Standardization of Serbia published SRPS ISO/IEC 17020:2012 Conformity assessment - Requirements for operation of various types of bodies performing inspection. ISO/IEC 17020:2002 shall be repealed with effect from the date of entry into force of SRPS ISO/IEC 17020:2012.

The Accreditation Body of Serbia has planned to take all actions (amend management system document, train assessors and those participating in the decision-making) in order to harmonise the accreditation procedure of inspection bodies with SRPS ISO/IEC 17020:2012.

ATS will start performing assessments as per SRPS ISO/IEC 17020:2012 from 01.03.2013 when it will stop receiving new applications for accreditation as per SRPS ISO/IEC 17020:2002. Those inspection bodies that started the assessment procedure as per SRPS ISO/IEC 17020:2002 will be given an opportunity to decide according to which edition of the standard they want to finalise the assessment procedure. ATS will not grant any new accreditations as per SRPS ISO/IEC 17020:2002 after 01.10.2013.

Assessment of accredited inspection bodies in terms of transition of/approximation to/compliance with new editions of the standard will be carried out during regular surveillance assessments or reassessments, but no later than 01.09.2014. In this regard ATS will harmonise assessment activities with each accredited inspection body.

After 1st March 2015 all accreditations granted as per SRPS ISO/IEC 17020:2002 will no longer be valid. Accreditations granted to those inspection bodies, which failed to adapt to the new edition of the standard by the said deadline, will be suspended and/or withdrawn. The ATS procedures prescribe that the suspension period shall last up to 6 months maximum.