FAQ 29

The standard states the time between consecutive on-site assessments shall not exceed two years unless the accreditation body determines that an on-site assessment is not “applicable”.  When would an on-site assessment not be applicable?  If an on-site assessment can reasonably be conducted under normal conditions, is it “applicable” to be on-site, or does the accreditation body have the ability in all cases to justify the use of other assessment techniques that do not incorporate on-site assessment, and thus exceed the two-year maximum required by the standard?

If an accreditation body implements remote assessment techniques that can achieve the same objectives and outcomes as on-site assessment techniques, can those remote assessment activities be considered equivalent to an on-site assessment?

STANDARD: ISO/IEC 17011  ·  CLAUSE: Clause 7.9.3  ·  TOPIC: Accreditation Cycle

Answer:

The expectation from ISO/IEC 17011:2017 is to normally conduct on-site assessments at least every two years during the AB’s assessment programme.

Where it is not possible to do an on-site assessment – e.g. due to force majeure event, health or security crisis, virtual site – then a remote assessment could be applicable.  In these cases, the AB must ensure that the same objectives and outcomes are achieved with the remote assessment techniques as with the on-site assessment techniques.