How can an accreditation body effectively manage competency for all technical areas of accreditation when the AB itself may not have staff that are technically competent in every area? What approach can be taken and is it acceptable for someone to deem competency when not competent in that area themselves?

STANDARD: ISO/IEC 17011  ·  CLAUSE: 6.1.3  ·  TOPIC: Competence of AB personnel / Decision-maker


Demonstration of competence can be done by many ways. The authorization of competence will depend on the documented process and associated records and evidence that the AB requires (interviews with technical peers, feedback from CABs, records of training, years of relevant experience, etc.). An AB may not have staff that will, themselves, be competent in every technical area related to the accreditation schemes they offer. However, the AB must have a documented process to ensure they can evaluate competency by effective means and authorize staff who can evaluate the required evidence to determine competency for specific accreditation activities.


What are the minimum requirements for decision makers? Must these be technical experts? Will a resume suffice on meeting competence requirements?

STANDARD: ISO/IEC 17011  ·  CLAUSE:  ·  TOPIC: Competence of AB personnel / Decision-maker


The requirements in ISO/IEC 17011:2017 are expressed qualitatively, not quantitatively, meaning that although the subjects listed in the clauses need to be known, the level of knowledge may vary according to the functions actually performed – the final requirement will be that each person or function will need to demonstrate sufficient knowledge to enable him/her to competently perform his/her job.  

So, decision makers may not have the same competencies as the assessment team.  The level of knowledge in the decision-making processes for accreditation decisions is often structured as follows:
– Higher for the ABs rules and procedures;
– Medium to high for the accreditation and accreditation scheme requirements and relevant guidance and application documents;
– Low for CAB scheme requirements and/or specific technical expertise related to the scope of accreditation.     

However, the level of competency in the area of technical expertise and/or CAB scheme requirements may need to be of a higher level in some cases (granting, extension, sanctions, appeals, scheme requirements, etc.).  As such, the AB may require different competency requirements for different types of accreditation decisions. Notwithstanding, the AB may have mechanisms to introduce additional expertise when required.  

A resume or CV is unlikely to contain enough information to demonstrate all the competence requirements for all types of decisions and schemes, but a resume or CV supported with further evidence is likely to be acceptable.  Further evidence, as appropriate and applicable, may include results of an exam, interview records, references from known peers, training records, meeting minutes etc. – see ISO/IEC 17021-1 Annexes B and C