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ISO Publications to Improve Inspection and Audit Reports

A new ISO standard and a technical specification ensure trust, transparency, and good practices in inspections

Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 11:06

(ISO: Geneva) -- The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Committee on Conformity Assessment (ISO/CASCO) has developed a new standard and a technical specification that will help build confidence between partners in business-to-business dealings and provide support for trade regulations.

The two documents relate to specific aspects of “conformity assessment,” the name given to the processes used to demonstrate that a product, service, management system, or organization meets specified requirements, such as those of a standard.

The new standard is ISO/IEC 17020:2012—“Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection,” which gives requirements for inspection bodies. Inspection bodies’ work can include the examination of materials, products, installations, plants, processes, work procedures, or services, checking that they meet requirements and reporting the results to clients.

Inspection bodies carry out assessments on behalf of private-sector clients or public-sector authorities, with the objective of providing information about the conformity of inspected items with regulations, standards, specifications, inspection schemes, or contracts. Inspection parameters include matters of quantity, quality, safety, fitness for purpose, and safety compliance of installations or systems.

ISO/IEC 17020 will help to ensure trust, transparency and good practices in inspection by providing internationally harmonized requirements for inspection bodies.

The new technical specification is ISO/IEC TS 17022:2012—“Requirements and recommendations for content of a third-party audit report on management systems,” which contains requirements and recommendations for the content of an audit report such as those used by a third-party inspection body during the certification process to ISO 9001 the quality management system standard or ISO 14001 the environmental quality management system standard.

It has been developed to ensure that audit reports include the basic information required of them and to improve their consistency. This will help to increase the credibility of audit teams and the certification process.

Although the audit client and the certification body are the primary users of audit reports, the content of such reports may be required to satisfy the needs of other interested parties, such as accreditation bodies or regulatory authorities.

ISO/IEC 17020 and ISO/IEC TS 17022 are available from ISO national member institutes. They may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, through the ISO Store.



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The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 162 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. ISO is a nongovernmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society. View the ISO Standards list.