Clarification of “distinctly different” as it applies to situations where an AB is linked to a body providing consultancy or conformity assessment services, ISO/IEC 17011 has requirements for the AB including that it has a distinctly different name, logos and symbols (cl 4.4.12(c)).

Example is: “Robert Smith Consultancy” and “Robert Smith Accreditation” and/or entities with similar looking logos and/or symbols

STANDARD: ISO/IEC 17011  ·  CLAUSE: 4.4.12 c)  ·  TOPIC: Impartiality  


The name of an accreditation body shall not contain identical/similar parts of the name of a body providing consultancy or conformity assessment services, if those parts are personnel names or not commonly used, because that means that the names are not distinctly different, which violates the requirement of ISO/IEC 17011:2017 cl. 4.4.12 c).  The example presented would not fulfil the requirements.

The same requirement to be distinctly different also applies to the logos and symbols of an AB and a body providing consultancy or conformity assessment services.


Does “residual risk” need to be identified and documented at the same time as the demonstration of elimination or minimization of an identified risk to impartiality?

STANDARD: ISO/IEC 17011  ·  CLAUSE: 4.4.7&4.4.8  ·  TOPIC: Impartiality  


It is required that when a risk is identified, the AB reacts upon it, to eliminate or minimize it.  If a risk is sufficiently low, it can also be directly accepted without elimination or mitigation. If a risk is eliminated, no residual risk should remain, but if a risk is minimized, a residual risk always remains.

It is this residual risk arising from the mitigation that needs to be documented, and this is required to be done before its review (§.4.4.8) and acceptance to occur.


How do you evaluate risks to impartiality?

STANDARD: ISO/IEC 17011  ·  CLAUSE: 4.4.6  ·  TOPIC: Impartiality


There are many ways to perform the evaluation of risks and each AB should select the one which it finds more appropriate. Several standards are at disposal with varying degrees of complexity. Usually, they grade the risk according to its probability to happen and the severity of its impact or consequences.