IANZ Accreditation

The important differences between the two accreditation standards

What is the difference between ISO/IEC 17020:2012 and ISO/IEC 17025:2005?

In the marketplace there appears to be a level of confusion as to the difference between ISO/IEC 17020:2012 and ISO/IEC 17025:2005. Both these standards are published by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and in New Zealand accreditation to them is obtained through IANZ.

Each standard has been designed to serve a separate purpose and has equal standing, and depending on the situation one may be more appropriate than the other. The table below outlines the main differences between the two standards:

Standard

Definition

What this means

ISO/IEC 17025:2005 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories

Laboratory accreditation is the process of assessing and endorsing the quality management and technical competence of testing, measurement and calibration laboratories in all fields of science and technology. These include biology, chemistry, metrology and calibration.

Companies accredited to this standard can:

1/ take samples, if included as part of their accreditation,
2/ analyse samples,
3/ issue factual reports on their findings.

Companies accredited to this standard are not accredited (unless specifically endorsed) to:

1/ perform inspections,
2/ compile sampling plans,
3/ provide opinions, interpretations, assessments and / or certifications as to the meaning of these results.

ISO/IEC 17020:2012 Conformity assessment – Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection.

Accreditation provides formal recognition that an inspection service is capable of meeting the standards of quality, performance, technical expertise, competence and professional judgement.

Companies accredited to this standard can:

1/ perform inspections,
2/ compile sampling plans,
3/ take samples,
send these samples to an accredited laboratory for analysis.

Once the accredited inspection service has the laboratory reports for the analysis of the samples, the company can with the other evidence from their inspection:

1/ make a professional judgement on the meaning of the results,
2/ provide opinions, interpretations, assessments and / or certifications as to the meaning of these results

From the above it can be seen that both standards are equal and each is designed to meet the specific requirements of the situation. Often you will need the services of two separate organisations to provide realisation to a project.

If you need assistance in this area please contact Sam Murdoch on either sam@drugsmart.co.nz or 027 841 3223.