ISO 17025 has supposedly been delivering quality for years. 26% of people surveyed about it cared so much that they replied. The quality has been so impressive, or not, that the cartel want the standard to be revised again. Urgently. Will the new quality be any better quality than the vintage quality? Will it simply have generated much more worthless work? Will any customer notice?
At the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) General Assembly in October 2013 the Laboratory Committee (which is composed of stakeholder representatives of accredited testing and calibration) recommended that ILAC request that ISO/CASCO establish a new work item to comprehensively revise ISO/IEC 17025:2005 as soon as practicable.
The General Assembly agreed an ILAC Resolution to allow accreditation bodies to hold a consultation period with their accredited laboratories until the end of January 2014. In response to this UKAS undertook a simple online survey of all of its 1,500 accredited laboratories. At its close the survey had achieved a response rate of 26%, with 68% of those in favour of bringing forward a revision, 22% against, and 10% abstaining.
In line with the outcome of the survey, UKAS responded to ILAC in favour of bringing the revision forward. The UK response was mirrored by the majority of other economies, with 84% of ILAC voting members submitting a ‘yes vote’ and therefore exceeding the 75% threshold for ballot approval. The ILAC Executive Committee has now commenced work on the preparation of a New Work Item Proposal (NWIP) to revise ISO/IEC 17025, for submission to ISO/CASCO. If successful, this NWIP will bring the revision of ISO/IEC 17025 forward by up to two years, with a projected publication date of 2017.