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Is ISO 9001 a certification or accreditation?

In the field of quality management, ISO 9001 is a widely recognized standard. But is it a certification or an accreditation? Understanding the difference between these two terms is crucial for organizations seeking to implement ISO 9001 and showcase their commitment to quality.

Certification: Demonstrating Compliance

Certification refers to the process through which an organization's compliance with a specific standard, such as ISO 9001, is verified by a third-party certification body. This external body assesses whether the organization has effectively implemented the requirements of the standard and is operating in accordance with its principles. If the organization meets the standard's criteria, it is awarded a certificate attesting to its compliance.

Accreditation: Ensuring Competence

On the other hand, accreditation is a formal recognition granted to an organization that demonstrates its competence to perform specific conformity assessment activities, such as certifying organizations against ISO 9001. Accreditation bodies evaluate the technical competence and impartiality of certification bodies to ensure they operate according to internationally accepted standards and practices. Accreditation adds credibility and confidence to the certification process and helps foster trust in the market.

The Relationship Between Certification and Accreditation

Certification and accreditation are interrelated processes, but they serve different purposes. While certification focuses on assessing an organization's compliance with a specific standard, accreditation ensures the competence and integrity of the certification body conducting the assessment. In other words, accreditation provides assurance that the certification body's processes and procedures are rigorous and reliable.

To summarize, ISO 9001 certification is obtained by organizations that comply with the requirements of the standard. It is a testament to their commitment to quality management. Accreditation, on the other hand, is the recognition given to certification bodies that are competent and operate according to established standards. Both certification and accreditation play crucial roles in maintaining quality and driving continuous improvement in organizations.

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