Conformity assessment covers the activities carried out to ensure that products, processes, services, persons, systems and bodies meet specified requirements such as those contained in a standard developed by ISO or its partner, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
Showing conformity to the requirements of an ISO or IEC standard has benefits such as the following:
- Providing consumers with added confidence
- Giving the company a competitive edge
- Helping regulators ensure that health, safety or environmental conditions are met
Conformity assessment activities can include testing, inspection, evaluation, examination, auditing, assessment, declarations, certification, accreditation, peer assessment, verification and validation.
All ISO and IEC International Standards must be developed in accordance with the ISO/IEC Directives. One of the areas covered in ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2, Rules for the structure and drafting of International Standards, is subclause 6.7 Aspects of conformity assessment.
The ISO Committee on conformity assessment (ISO/CASCO) oversees the implementation of this clause of the ISO/IEC Directives and provides advice to ISO and IEC technical committees on how to word their standards in a compliant manner. Furthermore, ISO and IEC have published ISO/IEC 17007:2009, Conformity assessment - Guidance for drafting normative documents suitable for use for conformity assessment, which sets out some of the principles and guidance that are reflected in the Directives.
Conformity assessment for standards writers – do's and don'ts provides an explanation of subclause 6.7 Aspects of conformity assessment and a summary of ISO/IEC 17007. This information will help standards writers understand conformity assessment aspects when developing their documents.
ISO/CASCO Chair Lane Hallenbeck encourages its use, saying, “I recommend this brochure to all standards writers as a tool to achieve consistent determination that the requirements they prescribe are fulfilled.”
Conformity assessment for standards writers – do's and don'ts is available free of charge from ISO member bodies (see the complete list with contact details). It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Store, by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information Department or downloaded from the ISO Website.