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Update on the revision of ISO/IEC 17025:2005 Conformity Assessment - General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories

CASCO (Conformity Assessment Standards Committee) is the ISO committee that develops policy and publishes standards related to conformity assessment.

An ISO/CASCO working group has been established (WG44) and tasked with the revision of the ISO/IEC 17025:2005.

Standards Australia, being our nation’s ISO member body has appointed two members to participate in the activities of WG44.  One of these members is NATA’s General Manager - Operations & Technical, Mr John Styzinski.

As previously advised, the development process for ISO standards is divided into separate stages including:

Preparatory stage

This stage covers the preparation of a working draft (WD) by the WG conforming to the ISO/IEC directives.  The preparatory stage ends when a working draft is available as a first committee draft (CD).

Committee Stage

This stage is when comments on the draft from national member bodies are taken into consideration, with a view of reaching consensus. 

The committee stage ends when all issues have been resolved and a CD is accepted for circulation as an enquiry draft i.e. a Draft International Standard (DIS). 

The first CD has been released, however, a consensus was not reached and hence, a second CD has now been circulated for comments from national member bodies.

It was originally anticipated that ISO/IEC 17025 would come out as a DIS  early in 2016, however as a second CD was required, at this stage it is anticipated that the DIS will now be released in the second half of 2016 if the second CD is passed.

Enquiry stage

At the enquiry phase, the Draft International Standard (DIS) is circulated to all national member bodies for comment and vote.

Typically, the national bodies’ mirror committees are responsible for monitoring and participating in the work of the relevant ISO committee.

In Australia’s case, Standards Australia’s QR-010 is the mirror committee of ISO/CASCO.  Members of the mirror committee are responsible for consulting with their nominating organisation for their position on the standard to be considered by the rest of QR-10 when coordinating Australia’s position.

By virtue of NATA’s representation on QR-010, NATA will request feedback from its members on the DIS in order to coordinate an appropriate response to bring back to the mirror committee for its consideration.

It is to be noted that it is Standards Australia and not NATA who will vote and provide its feedback to ISO on the revised standard.

The mechanism on how NATA will seek and provide feedback is yet to be determined.  However, NATA members will be informed of this process in in due course.

The DIS is approved if two-thirds of national member bodies are in favour and not more than one-quarter of the total number of votes cast are negative.

If the DIS is approved the project will go straight to publication.  However, should the draft be significantly revised following comments at the DIS stage (even if the DIS has been approved) a decision may be made to prepare a Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) and circulate it to national member bodies for a further vote.

Publication stage

At this stage the final draft is submitted for publication and only editorial corrections are made to the text.

According to the WG44 work plan, it is expected that the revised version of the standard will be published in mid 2017.

Further information on the development of standards can be obtained from the Standards Australia’s website.