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ISO Standards

General criteria for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection.

BS EN ISO/IEC 17020 defines a simple Quality Management system not unlike ISO 9001, but aimed purely at those organisations whose business is inspection – for instance organisations completing asbestos inspections in buildings, or safety inspections on some vehicles. Here the inspectors themselves will be inspected. A company gains “accreditation” to the standard from government controlled “UKAS”, rather than a certification body.

What you need to know

UKAS accreditation is a very “different” experience to certification and has issues all of its own. Accreditation is single sourced to a government body, it’s a monopoly, there is no commercial competition so you can’t negotiate on price or requirements, and sadly, whatever the auditor says you pretty much have to accept. A number of my clients have also reported that the auditor appears to have a set number of issues they need to find per visit (30), and will include spelling errors, etc, if necessary, to reach their quota of things wrong. That said, the standards requirements are pretty minor, and personally I’d dump it and use ISO 9001!

How we can help

Many, many companies now provide services to cover the common standards such as ISO9001. However, the nature of BS EN ISO/IEC 17020 is such that very few consulting companies will be able to help effectively with accreditation. Because of our unique experience and no-nonsense approach, we will be able to advise with authority and integrity on BS EN ISO/IEC 17020.

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