What is IAF in ISO Certification? 

Firstly, IAF stands for International Accreditation Forum. IAF is the Global Association for the ISO Accreditation Bodies for System, Product, and other certification programs. The primary responsibility of the IAF organization is to ensure the right, competent, unbiased conformity assessment and certifications through Accreditation Bodies from various countries. As you know, most countries have their own Standards Institutes and accreditation bodies. So, in order to bring all nation’s standards practices in one platform to eliminate the trade barriers, IAF monitors the operations functions of accreditation bodies. This makes the ISO Certification system more authentic, genuine, and widely acceptable.

Accreditation Body follows the guidelines set by IAF, becomes the IAF Member, and gets the authority to issue the ISO Certificates through various Certification Bodies under different Certification program; this makes the Accreditation Bodies more reliable and trustworthy when it comes to impartiality and confidence. Because of the IAF competency to ensure the conformity assessments, Government Institutes from various nations accept ISO Certificates recognized by IAF Accreditation Bodies only.

What is Non-IAF in ISO Certification?

Non-IAF means the respected Certifying Certification Bodies are accredited by Accreditation Bodies that are not IAF Members and not recognized by IAF. These Accreditation Bodies operate completely independently. Non-IAF Accreditation Bodies also issue the ISO Certificates as per the guidelines set by ISO, but as they are autonomous, there will be a conflict of interest that they may not work transparently, the conformity assessment may be compromised in the form of unbiased and competency. Hence, Government institutes from various countries do not consider the Certificates issued by non-IAF Accreditation Bodies.

How to check the authenticity of the IAF and Non-IAF ISO Certificate?

When it comes to the authenticity of any Certificates, you should verify the source of the Certificate, the issuer, and their credibility. Not all certification bodies (CB) have the authority to issue the ISO Certificates, only accredited CB’s can issue the Certificates. To verify the details, status, and authenticity of ISO Certificates, you have to observe the following details in the Certificate and in respective authorized websites.

For IAF Accredited Certificates, the following things to be considered for authenticity:

  • IAF Logo in Certificate
  • Certification Body Details
  • Accreditation Body Details
  • Accreditation Number

Accredited Certification Bodies should have the Accreditation Certificate and that accreditation certificate is issued based on the competency of the Certification Body operations. Furthermore, Certification Bodies can only issue the Certificates for the scopes they have accredited.

Certification Bodies should work according to the ISO 17021 Standard for the issuance of Management System Certificates. ISO 17021 Standard is the Conformity assessment — Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems standard, and Certification Body should align with the guidelines mentioned in ISO 17021 Standard.

Certification Body details must be available on the respected Accreditation Body website and Accreditation Body details must be mentioned on the IAF website for respective countries. If the details of CB are not found on the Accreditation Body website, then the CB is not accredited. If Accreditation Body details are not found on the IAF website, then the AB is not a member of IAF, and the Certificate is non-IAF. For example, BSI is the British Certification Body and accredited by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Services). For the details of this BSI should found the UKAS Website and UKAS information on IAF Website.

Anilkumar Merakh is the Manager of Business Development for Genveritas Technologies, an ISO Consulting Organization in Bangalore, India.

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