Conformity Assessment — Requirements for Bodies Certifying Products, Processes and Services
The overall aim of certifying products, processes or services is to give confidence to all interested parties that a product, process or service fulfils specified requirements. The value of certification is the degree of confidence and trust that is established by an impartial and competent demonstration of fulfilment of specified requirements by a third party. Parties that have an interest in certification include, but are not limited to:
Interested parties can expect or require the certification body to meet all the requirements of this International Standard as well as when relevant, those of the certification scheme. Certification of products, processes or services is a means of providing assurance that they comply with specified requirements in standards and other normative documents. Some product, process or service certification schemes may include initial testing or inspection and assessment of its suppliers’ quality management systems, followed by surveillance that takes into account the quality management system and the testing or inspection of samples from the production and the open market. Other schemes rely on initial testing and surveillance testing, while still others comprise type testing only.
This International Standard specifies requirements, the observance of which is intended to ensure that certification bodies operate certification schemes in a competent, consistent and impartial manner, thereby facilitating the recognition of such bodies and the acceptance of certified products, processes and services on a national and international basis and so furthering international trade. This International Standard can be used as a criteria document for accreditation or peer assessment or designation by governmental authorities, scheme owners and others.
The requirements contained in this International Standard are written, above all, to be considered as general criteria for certification bodies operating product, process or service certification schemes; they may have to be amplified when specific industrial or other sectors make use of them, or when particular requirements such as health and safety have to be taken into account. Annex A contains principles relating to certification bodies and certification activities that they provide.
This International Standard does not set requirements for schemes and how they are developed and is not intended to restrict the role or choice of scheme owners, however scheme requirements should not contradict or exclude any of the requirements of this International Standard.
Statements of conformity to the applicable standards or other normative documents can be in the form of certificates and/or marks of conformity. Schemes for certifying particular products or product groups, processes and services to specified standards or other normative documents will, in many cases, require their own explanatory documentation.
While this International Standard is concerned with third parties providing product, process or service certification, many of its provisions may also be useful in first- and second-party product conformity assessment procedures.