As you probably already know, ISO 9001:2008 was superseded late last year by the new version of the standard, ISO 9001:2015. What this means is that the requirements of ISO 9001 Quality Management System have changed, and as such, if organisations wish to maintain their certifications, they must transition their systems to comply with the new requirements, and complete a third-party transition audit.
ISO has put in place a three-year transition period for organisations to amend their systems to comply with the new standard, and complete their transition audit. The transition period ends in September 2018.
Transitions to ISO 9001:2015 (including audit) must occur prior to September 2018 if continuous certification is to be maintained. So, if you don’t want your certificate to expire and have to be certified again from scratch start thinking ‘transition’. Transitions must occur earlier in some instances – details below.
Transition audits can organised to align with your normal third-party audit schedule, you don’t necessarily have to complete an “extra” audit – instead, you can organise with your certification body to complete the transition audit in place of your next surveillance or recertification audit. But you’ll need to be prepared in order to not be caught out and have to do (and pay for) an extra audit.
Your organisation is certified to ISO 9001:2008, and you want to stay certified
You’ll need to transition your system to comply with the requirements of ISO 9001:2015, and complete a transition audit. When to complete your transition audit depends a little bit on the progress of your third-party audit schedule.
My system is due for Re-certification in 2017
You’d best get transitioning ASAP. Check with your certification body, but many certification bodies that we deal with have already ceased issuing certificates to the old standard – meaning that if you’re due for recertification soon, your certification body may not be able to re-certify your organisation to ISO 9001:2008. In short, if your re-certification audit comes up, but you haven’t transitioned the system yet, you could be in trouble, as your system may not be permitted to be re-certified to ISO 9001:2008, but likely won’t comply with the requirements of ISO 9001:2015. As such, if you’re in this group, we’d recommend you start preparing for your transition ASAP, in preparation for a transition audit in place of your recertification audit. Short on time? Contact us – we can help. And be sure to let your certification body know that you plan to transition at the next audit.
My system is due for recertification in 2018, prior to September
This depends on exactly when your recertification is due. If it’s due in early 2018 you have the option to do your transition audit then, or earlier, such as at your 2017 surveillance audit. However, if recertification is due in, say, July 2018, you can do your transition audit then, but it may be cutting it a little fine in relation to certification body availability, and if certification to the new standard is not immediately recommended, for example, if non-conformities arise at the transition audit and need to be resolved prior to the transition period deadline. So we’d recommend you transition earlier (e.g. at your next surveillance audit) to be on the safe side.
My system is due for recertification in September 2018 or later
Basically means that you can transition any time prior to September 2018, but as above, don’t leave it too late. Work out when your last audit before the end of the transition period will be, and aim to transition at that audit or earlier, or else you will have to organise and pay for an extra audit. Be realistic: if your last audit before the end of the transition period falls in, say, August 2018, it might be wise to not leave it this late, as certification bodies may have limited availability, and non-conformities might arise that will need to be resolved prior to the end of the transition period. And your last audit prior to the transition period deadline might be sooner than you think: it could be as early as September 2017.
OK, it is a little complicated. So if you’re still unclear as to the best plan of attack, please contact us or your certification body for more information. And if you need help transitioning your system to comply with the new requirements, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.