What Is A Conformity Assessment Body?

Finger reaching for blue digital checkmark to represent conformity assessment.

The term “conformity assessment body” is a catch-all term to refer to any organization performing a conformity assessment activity. There are more specific and familiar labels for such organizations that indicate the kind of activity they perform, such as “testing laboratory,” “inspection body,” “validation/verification body,” or “certification body.”  The term “certification body” is often further refined to indicate what kind of certification the organization performs, such as “product certification body,” “personnel certification body,” or “management system certification body.”

Regardless of the conformity assessment activity being performed, all these organizations are conducting a “demonstration that specified requirements are fulfilled,” according to the definition of conformity assessment from ISO/IEC 17000.

Organizations Performing Multiple Conformity Assessment Activities

What would an organization be called that does more than one activity? It would be cumbersome to use a name that indicated every conformity assessment activity it performs. In those cases, the more general “conformity assessment body” is used to indicate the body does multiple conformity assessment activities.

Also, there can be information or statements that apply to any and all organizations performing conformity assessment activities. In these cases, all such organizations are collectively referred to as “conformity assessment bodies”.

Are Accreditation Bodies Also Conformity Assessment Bodies?

What about organizations that perform accreditation; are they referred to as “conformity assessment bodies”?

In accreditation, a conformity assessment body’s fulfillment of requirements for competence, consistency and impartiality is demonstrated. If the organization that performs accreditation and the organization that undergoes accreditation were both called a “conformity assessment body,” then it would lead to confusion. To avoid that, an organization that performs accreditation is referred to as an “accreditation body” and any other organization performing a conformity assessment activity is referred to as a “conformity assessment body.”

What is ISO/IEC 17000?

ISO/IEC 17000:2020 is the international terminology standard for conformity assessment.  The terms and definitions in the standard (including “conformity assessment body” and “accreditation body”) are based on a concept system.  That concept system is part of the ISO CASCO presentation on ISO/IEC 17000:2020 and can be downloaded at the ISO CASCO standards – Presentations page. The concept system shows how all the terms and definitions in ISO/IEC 17000 relate to each other and help explain what they mean when used in any ISO CASCO standard.

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