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International Standardization Organization (ISO) has issued ISO/IEC 17021:2006 standard (Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems), this new standard replaces ISO/IEC Guide 62:1996 and ISO/IEC Guide 66:1999, specifies requirements for certification bodies in providing audit and certification services of management system. This is a compulsory requirement to all certification bodies, all certification bodies are required to be compliance with this new standard before Sept 2008.
According to the new standard requirement, there will be some significant changes to the details of operating systems of certification bodies, which also bring some impacts to the clients of certification bodies. In view of this, SGS will take corresponding actions to adjust some of our audit and certification procedures and methodologies in order to meet the new standard requirements.
The followings are changes made to our existing audit and certification system which also bring direct impacts on you.
Surveillance audit arrangement
Previously, we allow surveillance audit with ± 2 months grace period with reference to the initial certification stage 2 audit date.  Now, according to the new standard requirement, the date of the first and second surveillance audit following initial certification shall not be more than 12 and 24 months from the last day of the stage 2 audit. If it cannot be done within 12 and 24 months, the certificate shall be suspended, until the audit can be performed.
Recertification audit arrangement
Recertification audit shall be conducted with sufficient time to allow for any non-conformances raised to be appropriately addressed and confirmed and the certification decision made prior to the expiry of the current certificate. If re-certification audit cannot be conducted as above, it shall be conducted as an initial audit.
Non-conformities management
For minor non-conformities raised, the planned correction and corrective actions by the audited organization shall be submitted to SGS auditor for review within 90 days from the last audit date prior to certification decision. The effectiveness of the resulting action taken by the organization shall be verified in next audit.
For major non-conformities raised, the audited organization shall notify SGS of the action taken within 30 days and the defined actions shall be reviewed, verified and accepted by the SGS auditor within 90 days of the non-conformity being identified prior to certification decision.
We apologize for your anxiety or inconvenience caused by the change.  Please understand that we have to implement as the requirement of the international standard.  Meanwhile, we sincerely appreciate your consistent support.
Appendix
Related clauses of ISO/IEC17021:2006
9.3.2.2 Surveillance audits shall be conducted at least once a year. The date of the first surveillance audit following initial certification shall not be more than 12 months from the last day of the stage 2 audit.
9.4.2.2 When, during a recertification audit, instances of nonconformity or lack of evidence of conformity are identified, the certification body shall define time limits for correction and corrective actions to be implemented prior to the expiration of certification.
9.1.15 The certification body shall confirm, prior to making a decision, that
a) the information provided by the audit team is sufficient with respect to the certification requirements and the scope for certification;
b) it has reviewed, accepted and verified the effectiveness of correction and corrective actions, for all nonconformities that represent
1) failure to fulfil one or more requirements of the management system standard, or
2) a situation that raises significant doubt about the ability of the client's management system to achieve its intended outputs;
c) it has reviewed and accepted the client's planned correction and corrective action for any other nonconformities.
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