ISO 9001:2015 – A Three Year Transition Period

ISO consulting, ISO auditing, ISO trainingISO announced on February 6 that an agreement for transition arrangements had been made and approved with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).

The announcement references an IAF document – IAF ID 9:2015 which includes the following statement:

“The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the ISO Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO) have agreed to a three year transition period from the publication date of ISO 9001:2015. IAF Resolution 2013-15 was passed by the IAF General Assembly in Seoul on 23 October 2013 endorsing a 3 year transition period to ISO 9001:2015”

Three years is not a complete surprise because we saw this previously. Another important statement relates to the validity of current ISO 9001:2008 certifications.

“ISO 9001:2008 certifications will not be valid after three years from publication of ISO 9001:2015. The expiry date of certifications to ISO 9001:2008 issued during the transition period needs to correspond to the end of the three year transition period.”

Three years may sound like lots of time but it does cause unnecessary cost to organizations whose recertification occurs soon after publication of the 9001:2015 standard. If an organizations’ recertification occurs during the transition period and they recertify to the older version of the standard, it will expire 3 years from publication of the standard not from the date of the recertification. For instance, If the recertification occurs 6 months after the publication of the standard then another recertification must take place before 2 ½ years effectively losing 6 months of a normal 3 year certification.

The solution is that all organizations must be ready for recertification to the new standard as soon as their recertification occurs after publication of the new standard. This means that to be able to be successful, organizations must start reorganizing their management system around the new standard as soon as the FDIS of the standard is available. Although the standard is not finished it will be close enough to allow organizations to complete reorganization before the standard is published.

The worst situation will occur for those organizations whose recertification occurs within the first few weeks or months after publication. The expiration clock will have started ticking but if the certification body has not completed their own transition arrangements, reorganized their administration, re-trained their auditors, provided appropriate expertise…..they will not be able to conduct audits to the new standard. Done well a certification body should have all of this in place before publication and it is important that you discuss this with your certification body early. The same IAF document referenced above, urges certification bodies to start planning and communicating their transition arrangements from late DIS stage (spring 2015).

If your recertification occurs late 2015 here are two key activities:
Start preparing your management system for the change as soon as the FDIS is published,
Talk to your certification body to guarantee your recertification audit to the new standard.

Cavendish Scott, Inc. has information about the new standard on its website including reviews of the most current version of the standard and articles and discussion about progress, interpretation and application of the new standard. Cavendish Scott has been involved with ISO 9001 for thirty years – through four previous transitions. Cavendish Scott has always adopted a process approach and promoted ISO in a wider context for organizational benefit. This new standard contains many differences from the 2008 version but nothing that has not been a focus of our solutions. As the FDIS is published we will release more information, training, self-help tools and consulting packages to address the new standard. If your reassessment occurs late this year then you need to start planning now. Contact us to discuss your options.