On January 10 2014, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) published the ISO 55000 suite of Management Standards for Asset Management. Organisations can choose to have their Asset Management systems certified as being compliant with this suite of standards. Here are 4 key things you need to know about the certification process.

1. Certification is performed against ISO 55001, not ISO 55000

The ISO5500X suite of standards for Asset Management consists of three separate documents:

  • ISO 55000:2014 – Asset management – Overview, principles and terminology
  • ISO 55001:2014 – Asset management – Management systems – Requirements
  • ISO 55002:2014 – Asset management – Management systems – Guidelines for the application of ISO 55001

As the titles suggest, ISO 55000 contains definitions of key terms, as well as describing the principles which underpin the other two documents. ISO 55001 contains the specification of the requirements which an asset management system must meet in order to be certified compliant. ISO 55002 is a guidance document, intended to shed light on how ISO 55001 should be interpreted.

Certification will take place against the requirements of ISO 55001 – not ISO 55000. However in order to interpret the (fairly broad) compliance statements contained within ISO 55001, it will be essential for auditors and those being audited to also understand the contents of ISO 55000, and, to a lesser extent, ISO 55002.

2. ISO does not issue certificates of compliance

ISO, as the setter of standards, does not issue certificates of compliance with those standards. An internationally recognised certificate of compliance can only be issued by a “Conformity Assessment Body” (CAB) that in turn has been assessed as being competent to deliver this service by a (usually National) Conformity Assessment Accreditation Body (CAABs) for the country that it operates in.

3. There are strict guidelines for who can issue certificates of compliance

The process by which an organisation becomes a CAB (and therefore able to issue a certificate of compliance) is lengthy and quite strict. CABs, and the individual assessors that they engage, are required to be able to demonstrate freedom from conflicts of interest, professional and ethical behaviour, adequate processes for ensuring competence within the area being assessed, and adequate processes for ensuring that audits are carried out efficiently and professionally.

4. Assessors must be competent

All CABs are required to comply with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17021:2011 – Conformity assessment – Requirements for Bodies Providing Audit and Certification of Management Systems. Amongst other things, this standard specifies the requirements for competence of assessors. ISO 17021:2011 defines competence as “the ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve intended results”. Part 5 of ISO 17021:2011 (ISO 17021-5) has not yet been published, but it is likely that Asset Management Systems assessors will need to demonstrate that not only do they have the requisite auditing skills and knowledge of ISO 55000, but also that they have sufficient practical experience in applying asset management principles and techniques in order to allow the organisations that they are auditing to be able to “achieve intended results”.

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