ISO 17021 management systems: elevating certification and auditing excellence.

ISO 17021 is a key standard that plays a pivotal role in the realm of management system certification. It outlines the requirements for certification bodies and auditors, ensuring that organisations worldwide can trust the integrity of their management system certifications. This article will delve into the management system, its significance, and how the system contributes to elevating the world of certification and auditing excellence.

Understanding ISO 17021 management systems

ISO 17021 management systems define the principles and guidelines for certification bodies and auditors when conducting audits and certification of management systems. These management systems encompass quality management, environmental management, information security, and more, ensuring that they meet international standards and best practices.


Start Your Journey To Certification

  • Experienced consultants
  • Fixed-price guarantee
  • Lead auditor certified professionals
  • Specialised environmental consultants
  • Contact our expert team

Key components of ISO 17021 management systems

  • Independence and impartiality: the system emphasises the independence and impartiality of certification bodies and auditors, ensuring that audits are free from bias or conflicts of interest.
  • Competence and qualifications: certification bodies and auditors must demonstrate competence and qualifications, including relevant training and experience in the specific management system being audited.
  • Transparency and accountability: transparency and accountability are central for these management systems, requiring certification bodies to communicate clearly and honestly with their clients and stakeholders.
  • Consistency and reliability: certification bodies and auditors must maintain consistency and reliability in their certification processes and decisions.
  • Confidentiality: protection of sensitive information and data is a critical aspect of management systems, ensuring the security and privacy of the audited organisation’s records.

Benefits of ISO 17021 management systems

  • Global credibility: this ISO certification enhances the global credibility of management system certifications, promoting trust among stakeholders, clients, and regulatory bodies.
  • Unbiased auditing: by emphasising independence and impartiality, the management system helps to ensure that audits are conducted objectively, without conflicts of interest.
  • Competent auditors: the standard ensures that auditors possess the necessary competence and qualifications to conduct effective audits, increasing the value of the certification.
  • Consistency and reliability: ISO 17021 certification bodies adhere to a consistent set of guidelines, resulting in reliable and uniform audit practices.
  • Enhanced accountability: transparency and accountability are cornerstones of ISO 17021, providing clients and stakeholders with clear communication and high assurance.

Implementing ISO 17021 management systems

For certification bodies and auditors seeking to implement ISO 17021 management systems, the following steps are typically involved:

  • Training and competence: ensure that auditors receive the appropriate training and demonstrate competence in the relevant management system standards.
  • Independence and impartiality: establish and maintain independence and impartiality in auditing practices, minimising conflicts of interest.
  • Documentation: maintain transparent documentation of audit processes, decisions, and communication with clients.
  • Audit planning and execution: plan and execute audits in accordance with ISO 17021 guidelines, ensuring consistency and reliability.
  • Continuous improvement: regularly review and improve auditing processes to meet evolving standards and best practices.
  • Certification: seek accreditation or recognition from relevant accreditation bodies or authorities.
ISO 17021

ISO 17021 management systems are the cornerstone of excellence in management system certification and auditing.

By adhering to these principles and guidelines, certification bodies and auditors can elevate the integrity and trustworthiness of management system certifications across the globe. For organisations and stakeholders, this certification ensures that management systems meet the highest standards of quality, transparency, and accountability.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does ISO 17021 certification enhance the credibility of management system certifications?

The certification ensures that certification bodies adhere to recognised best practices, including impartiality, competence, and transparency. This enhances the credibility and trustworthiness of management system certifications, which, in turn, benefits organisations and their stakeholders.

What is the role of accreditation bodies in ISO 17021 certification?

Accreditation bodies are responsible for evaluating and accrediting certification bodies. They ensure that certification bodies comply with the ISO requirements and possess the necessary competence and impartiality to conduct management system certifications.

Can organisations be ISO 17021 certified?

No, ISO 17021 certification is not for organisations but for certification bodies and their auditors. Organisations seeking certification should work with ISO certified certification bodies to obtain management system certifications.

How can a certification body become ISO 17021 certified?

Certification bodies can become ISO 17021 certified by implementing a management system that complies with the requirements, undergoing an assessment by an accreditation body, and demonstrating their competence, impartiality, and adherence to certification standards.

How often should certification bodies undergo assessments for ISO 17021 certification?

Certification bodies are typically assessed regularly by accreditation bodies to ensure they continue to meet ISO 17021 requirements. The frequency of assessments may vary but is typically annual or bi-annual to maintain compliance and credibility.

Related Services

Why Choose Ascentor?

Unrivalled experience - Ascentor - Cyber Security Consultants

Unrivalled Experience

We leverage years of experience in cyber security to deliver comprehensive solutions tailored to your needs.

Extensive accreditations - Ascentor - Cyber Security Consultants

Extensive Accreditations

We're accredited in ISO 9001:2015, Cyber Essentials Plus, IASME Gold and are a Crown Commercial Service Supplier.

Qualified consultants - Ascentor - Cyber Security Consultants

Qualified Consultants

NCSC (CESG) Certified Professionals CCP and Certified Information System Security Professional CISSP certified.

Certified Professionals - Ascentor - Cyber Security Consultants

Certified Professionals

We're Certified Information Security Managers (CISM).

Security Industry Leaders - Ascentor - Cyber Security Consultants

Security Industry Leaders

We're members of the Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec). CREST and Cyber Scheme Registered Pentesters.

Emerging Threats - Ascentor - Cyber Security Consultants

Emerging Threats

We stay ahead of the curve, consistently updating our services to handle the rapidly evolving landscape of cyber threats.

Cyber Security Partners - Ascentor - Cyber Security Consultants

Cyber Security Partners

We work closely with clients, fostering partnerships to better understand and address your cyber security needs.

Pragmatic Solutions - Ascentor - Cyber Security Consultants

Pragmatic Solutions

We offer pragmatic, accessible solutions that balance security needs with the realities of your operational requirements.

Interested in other ISO standards?

  • ISO 9001 – Quality management standard that demonstrates an organisational commitment to product and service quality.
  • ISO 14001 – Environmental management standard designed to reduce waste and lower an organisation’s environmental impact.
  • ISO 16949 – A sector-specific standard, tailored for the automotive industry, that incorporates ISO 9001 requirements and additional automotive-specific requirements.
  • ISO 17025 – Testing management standard that demonstrates testing integrity and independence.
  • ISO 17065 – A  framework for organisations involved in product, process and service certification.
  • ISO 22000 – Focus on the management of food safety to help ensure the production and distribution of safe food products for consumers.
  • ISO 22301 – Business continuity management standard that reduces the impact of disruption on organisational activities.
  • ISO 27001 – Information security management systems standard designed to reduce IT and IS risks and lower data threats.
  • ISO 45001 – Build upon your approach to workplace safety through health management systems. 
  • ISO 50001 – Improve energy efficiency across operations, premises, transport and industrial processes.
Green Bird - White top right

Contact Us

Your cyber security challenges and our pragmatic approach – we could be the perfect fit.
Contact the team at Ascentor for an informal chat.

Get in Touch