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ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and the IAF (International Accreditation Forum) have agreed on an implementation plan to ensure a smooth transition of accredited certification to ISO 9001:2008, the latest version of the world's most widely used standard for quality management systems (QMS). The details of the plan are given in the joint communiqué by the two organizations which appears below.

Like all of ISO's more than 17 000 standards, ISO 9001 is periodically reviewed to ensure that it is maintained at the state of the art and a decision taken to confirm, withdraw or revise the document.

ISO 9001:2008, which is due to be published before the end of the year, will replace the year 2000 version of the standard which is implemented by both business and public sector organizations in 170 countries. Although certification is not a requirement of the standard, the QMS of about one million organizations have been audited and certified by independent certification bodies (also known in some countries as registration bodies) to ISO 9001:2000.

ISO is the developer and publisher of ISO 9001, but does not itself carry out auditing and certification. These services are performed independently of ISO by certification bodies. ISO does not control such bodies, but does develop voluntary International Standards to encourage good practice in their activities on a worldwide basis. For example, ISO/IEC 17021:2006 specifies the requirements for bodies providing auditing and certification of management systems.

Certification bodies that wish to provide further confidence in their services may apply to be "accredited" as competent by an IAF recognized national accreditation body. ISO/IEC 17011:2004 specifies the requirements for carrying out such accreditation. IAF is an international association whose membership includes the national accreditation bodies of 49 economies.

ISO technical committee ISO/TC 176, Quality management and quality assurance, which is responsible for the ISO 9000 family of standards, is preparing a number of support documents explaining what the differences are between ISO 9001:2008 and the year 2000 version, why and what they mean for users. Once approved, these documents will be posted on the ISO Web site – probably in October 2008.

Joint IAF-ISO communiqué

Implementation of accredited certification to ISO 9001:2008

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and the IAF (International Accreditation Forum) have agreed an implementation plan to ensure a smooth migration of accredited certification to ISO 9001:2008, after consultation with international groupings representing quality system or auditor certification bodies, and industry users of ISO 9001 certification services.

ISO 9001:2008 does not contain any new requirements

They have recognized that ISO 9001:2008 introduces no new requirements. ISO 9001:2008 only introduces clarifications to the existing requirements of ISO 9001:2000 based on eight years of experience of implementing the standard world wide with about one million certificates issued in 170 countries to date. It also introduces changes intended to improve consistency with ISO14001:2004

The agreed implementation plan in relation to accredited certification is therefore the following:

Accredited certification to the ISO 9001:2008 shall not be granted until the publication of ISO 9001:2008 as an International Standard.

Certification of conformity to ISO 9001:2008 and/or national equivalents shall only be issued after official publication of ISO 9001:2008 (which should take place before the end of 2008) and after a routine surveillance or recertification audit against ISO 9001:2008.

Validity of certifications to ISO 9001:2000

One year after publication of ISO 9001:2008 all accredited certifications issued (new certifications or recertifications) shall be to ISO 9001:2008.

Twenty four months after publication by ISO of ISO 9001:2008, any existing certification issued to ISO 9001:2000 shall not be valid.

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