Training Catalogue

    ISO/IEC 17021:2015 vs ISO/IEC 17065:2012 – What is the difference?

    What is ISO/IEC 17021:2015?

    ISO/IEC 17021:2015 Conformity assessment — Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems is a standard that was created for evaluating certification bodies. This International Standard facilitates Certification Bodies to perform conformity assessments for the acceptance of their certifications on a national and international basis. This standard makes it easier to recognise management system certification in the interests of international trade.

     The original ISO/IEC 17021:2006 standard was published in 2006 and a new version of ISO/IEC 17021:2015 was published in 2015. This standard enables the Certification Body to ensure that its management system certification process is carried out in a consistent, competent, and impartial manner, as it provides a set of requirements for management systems auditing at a generic level. ISO/IEC 17021:2015 aims at providing a reliable purpose of conformity to the applicable requirements for certification. These audits are conducted by a competent audit team, with suitable resources which follow a consistent process, with the results reported in an orderly manner.

    ISO/IEC 17021:2015 was designed and developed for all types of management systems, however, along with this standard, other versions of ISO/IEC 17021:2015 have been published to meet the needs of specific management systems:

    • ISO/IEC TS 17021-2:2016 for Environmental Management Systems;
    • ISO/IEC TS 17021-3:2017 for Quality Management Systems;
    • ISO/IEC TS 17021-4:2014 for Event Sustainability Management Systems;
    • ISO/IEC TS 17021-5:2014 for Asset Management Systems;
    • ISO/IEC TS 17021-6:2014 for Business Continuity Management Systems;
    • ISO/IEC TS 17021-7:2014 for Road Traffic Safety Management Systems;
    • ISO/IEC TS 17021-8:2019 for Sustainable Development in Communities Management Systems;
    • ISO/IEC TS 17021-9:2016 for Anti-Bribery Management Systems; and
    • ISO/IEC TS 17021-10:2018 for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems

    What is ISO/IEC 17065:2012?

    ISO/IEC 17065:2012 – Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes, and services is the international standard that specifies requirements (and other normative documents) to help ensure that certification bodies operate in a consistent, competent, and impartial manner when certifying products, processes, and services. To explain the above mentioned in a simpler way – this standard is for Certification Bodies who certify the quality of a product. This product can either be a physical one, a process, or any service. Product certifications or licenses are issued by the Certification Bodies to organisations. The organisations can then market it for their products. This certification guarantees the consumers that the product or service which they are purchasing is according to international standards.

    Owners of product certification schemes include conformity assessment bodies, industry associations, and regulatory authorities. The overall aim of certification is to give confidence to all interested parties that the product will fulfil the specified requirements.

    ISO/IEC 17065:2012 provides an understanding of all legal and contractual matters, as well as the management of impartiality, non-discriminatory conditions, liability, and all relevant financing. The standard can be used as a criteria document for accreditation, terms set by governmental authorities, or scheme owners.

    Even though the ISO/IEC 17065:2012 standard is focused on third parties providing the process, product, or service certification, several of its requirements may also be useful in first- and second-party product conformity assessment procedures.

    ISO/IEC 17065:2012 can be applied to nearly all of the businesses listed below, while some as mentioned for reference:

    • Electronics
    • Food Items
    • Oil and gas products, appliances, and accessories
    • Safety equipment (for example PPE)
    • Plastic (pipes, chairs, mechanisms)
    • Plumbing and sanitation products
    • Sealed insulating glass
    • Solar energy-based products
    • Swimming pools, beauty salons, SPAs
    • Windows, doors, and cooling systems
    • Home appliances
    • Automotive industry
    • Mineral water industry
    • Construction material; and
    • Furniture and woodwork.

    ISO/IEC 17065:2012 vs ISO/IEC 17021:2015 in a “nutshell” …

    ISO/IEC 17065:2012 looks at the intent, the method, and the result where ISO/IEC 17021:2015 Systems certification will focus on the intent only. The best Practice for auditing is to focus on product specification and product sampling, while the ISO/IEC 17021:2015 standard focuses much more on documentation.  To simplify, a system audit is typically based on the ISO mantra of “Say what you do. Do what you say. Show me.” ISO/IEC 17065:2012 requires an additional requirement of “Produce what your customer wants” and deliver a quality product or service that is internationally recognised.

    Contact WWISE today on 0861 099 473 or (021) 525 9159 (Cape Town) or email us at to assist you and your organisation with becoming ISO Certified.

    Recent Articles