Inspection bodies covered by the relevant International Standards for inspection bodies, ISO/IEC 17020, can be owned and operated by government, or industry bodies, or be separate organisations. The standard identifies three types of inspection body:
Type A Inspection Bodies – these bodies provide third-party services and are expected to be independent of the other parties involved;
Type B Inspection Bodies – provide first-party services to their parent body only; and
Type C Inspection Bodies – first-party inspection bodies which may also provide inspection services to other organizations.
The requirements contained in the standard apply to all types of inspection body, except for special requirements in an Annex that related to the specific type of inspection body being referred to. The general requirements include:
- general requirements, including impartiality and independence and confidentiality;
- structural requirements, including administrative requirements and organizational management;
- resource requirements, including personnel, facilities and equipment, subcontracting;
- process requirements, including inspection methods and procedures, handling inspection items and samples, inspection records, inspection reports and inspection certificates, complaints and appeals; and
- management system requirements.
ISO/IEC 17020:2012, Conformity assessment – Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection.