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ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO/IEC 17020 can be intimidating documents the first time you pick them up - it’s ok, thousands of people felt the same way

Let me help you . . . first, we should start with the building blocks


The NEW ISO/IEC 17025 (2017)

First, it's been divided into new sections, aligning with ISO 9001 (2015).  Most of the content and requirements remains very, very familiar.  Think of it as moving from one 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath ranch style home to a 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath colonial style home.  The rooms are the same, but their location has changed.  We just need to identify 'what went where'.  Here is an outline of the revised requirements:   

Section 4:  General Requirements - 4.1 Impartiality and Section 4.2 Confidentiality

Section 5:  Structural Requirements - Management, organizational structure, personnel

Section 6:  Resource Requirements - 6.1 General, 6.2 Personnel, 6.3 Facilities and Environmental Conditions, 6.4 Equipment, 6.5 Metrological Traceability, 6.6 Externally Provided Products and Services

Section 7:  Process Requirements - 7.1 Review of Requests, Tenders and Contracts, 7.2 Selection, Verification and Validation of Methods, 7.3 Sampling, 7.4 Handling of Test Items, 7.5 Technical Records, 7.6 Evaluation of Measurement Uncertainty, 7.7 Ensuring the Validity of results, 7.8 Reporting of Results, 7.9 Complaints, 7.10 Nonconforming Work, 7.11 Control of Data and Information Management

Section 8:  Management System Requirements - 8.1 Options, 8.2 Management System Documentation, 8.3 Control of Management System Documents, 8.4 Control of Records, 8.5 Actions to Address Risks and Opportunities, 8.6 Improvement, 8.7 Corrective Actions, 8.8 Internal Audits, 8.9 Management Reviews

Next, preparing your organization for the migration to the new version of ISO/IEC 17025 (2017).  Most of your efforts should be focused on helping your staff not stress out.  If you were working in a forensic lab during the transition from the ASCLD/LAB Legacy program to the ISO/IEC 17025 based accreditation program, this transition is going to be soooooo much easier.

Elements of ISO/IEC 17020 (2012)

Section 4: General Requirements - 4.1 Impartiality and Independence, 4.2 Confidentiality

Section 5: Structural Requirements - 5.1 Administrative, 5.2 Organization and Management

Section 6: Resource Requirements - 6.1 Personnel, 6.2 Facilities and Equipment, 6.3 Subcontracting

Section 7: Process Requirements - 7.1 Inspection Methods and Procedures, 7.2 Handling Inspection Items and Samples, 7.3 Inspection Records, 7.4 Inspection Reports and Certificates, 7.5 Complaints and Appeals, 7.6 Complaints and Appeals Process

Section 8: Management System Requirements - 8.1 Options, 8.2 Management System Documentation, 8.3 Control of Documents, 8.4 Control of Records, 8.5 Management Review, 8.6 Internal Audits, 8.7 Corrective Actions, 8.8 Preventive Actions

Resources - brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges - global recognition body for accrediting bodies - forensic management resource - forensic quality manager resource

ISO/IEC 17025: 2017 - General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories (can be purchased from or - the 2017 revision replaces the 2005 revision

ISO/IEC 17020: 2012 - Conformity Assessment - Requirements for the Operation of Various Types of Bodies Performing Inspections (can be purchased from or

ILAC G19 (2014) - Modules in the Forensic Science Process (free on the ILAC website:

The Game Plan

First, learning the language of ISO is essential. 

Next, learning how to apply the requirements in your organization will help you achieve your final goal of accreditation.

Then, get your people on board and help them develop a plan. 

Here comes the whiteboard:  a project plan and timeline for goal setting.  Rather than tackle everything at once, start with 'what's done already' and then identify the gaps.  Develop a series of smaller, manageable goals - keeping in mind the larger priority and ultimate goal. 

Let me be your translator.

Let me be your guide. 

Training might be a good step.

I can help you develop a schedule and keep you on track.