Q32: According to ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015, § 9.1.3.3, “Surveillance audits shall be conducted at least once a calendar year, except in recertification years. The date of the first surveillance audit following initial certification shall not be more than 12 months from the certification decision date”. Is this clause still valid?

A32: Yes. However, given the specific circumstances, all the time limits indicated in the standard have to be reconsidered according to the IAF FAQ Q10 that allows the postponements of any conformity assessment activities. This means that:

  • it is not necessary to conducted a surveillance audit at least once a calendar year;
  • the date of the first surveillance audit following initial certification shall not be more than 12 months from the certification decision date plus the postponement allowed by the IAF FAQ Q10.

In the case it is not possible to perform any surveillance activity within the timeframe of 12+6 months (see above second bullet point), the accredited CB shall inform the customer and suspend the accredited certificate.

In these specific circumstances, the suspension could exceed six months (see the note of ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015, § 9.6.5.4).

In order to lift the suspension and continue with the accredited certificate validity, at least a Stage 2 shall be conducted.