ISO 17020 specifies requirements for the competence of bodies performing inspection and for the impartiality and consistency of their inspection activities. It applies to inspection bodies of type A, B or C, as defined in ISO 17020, and it applies to any stage of inspection.
ISO/IEC 17020 conformity assessment requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection have been developed in order to build confidence in the inspection bodies. Accreditation to inspection bodies is a procedure by which an authoritative body gives formal recognition of technical competence for specific inspection, based on third-party assessment based on ISO/IEC 17020:2012 standard. This international standard ISO/IEC 17020:2012 is drafted in accordance with the rules given in the ISO/IEC Directives. On accreditation as per ISO 17020 standard of inspection bodies by such recognized body, the inspection report of inspection bodies gets global acceptance due to such mutual recognition. The standard was initially published in year 1998 and then it was revised in 2012. At present the 2012 version is in the implementation. The ISO17020:2012 standard has categorized inspection bodies in three major categories as under:
Type – A Inspection body, means an independent inspection body, which is only engaged in inspection activities (independent of the parties involved),
Type – B Inspection body, means its inspection services shall only be supplied to the organization of which the inspection body forms a part, and
Type – C Inspection body, means the inspection body shall provide safeguards within the organization to ensure adequate segregation of responsibilities and accountabilities between inspection and other activities.