Technical Articles

Is ISO 9001 a certification or accreditation?

In the realm of quality management systems, ISO 9001 is often mentioned as a benchmark for organizations seeking to improve their processes and demonstrate their commitment to quality. However, there seems to be confusion about whether ISO 9001 is a certification or an accreditation. Let's delve into this topic and shed some light on the matter.

Certification vs. Accreditation

To understand the distinction between certification and accreditation, it's important to recognize their different meanings in the context of quality management systems. Certification refers to the process by which an organization attains formal recognition that it meets the requirements of a specific standard, such as ISO 9001. On the other hand, accreditation is the formal recognition given to a certification body, indicating their competence to carry out certification activities.

ISO 9001 Certification

ISO 9001 certification is awarded to organizations that have successfully undergone a comprehensive audit conducted by a certification body. This audit verifies that the organization has implemented and adhered to the requirements outlined in the ISO 9001 standard. In other words, ISO 9001 certification confirms that an organization's quality management system meets the criteria set forth in the standard, demonstrating its commitment to continuously improving customer satisfaction.

Accreditation of Certification Bodies

Accreditation is the process by which a certification body is evaluated against specific criteria to ensure its competency and impartiality. It involves a rigorous assessment of the certification body's processes, procedures, and personnel. Accreditation bodies, such as ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service), evaluate and grant accreditation to certification bodies. Once accredited, these bodies are authorized to perform ISO 9001 certification audits and issue certificates to organizations that meet the requirements.

In summary, ISO 9001 is not itself a certification or accreditation. It is an international standard that lays out the criteria for a quality management system. Organizations can achieve ISO 9001 certification by undergoing an audit conducted by a certified body, which has been accredited by a recognized accreditation body. It's important for organizations seeking ISO 9001 certification to work with competent and accredited certification bodies to ensure their compliance with the standard.



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