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IAAR Code of Practice

IAAR Code of Practice

The main purpose of the Independent Association of Accredited Registrars, Inc. (IAAR) is to facilitate the registration of companies throughout North America in a consistent manner to promote the integrity and credibility of the registration process. This will be achieved through intercommunication, education, and the promotion of the use of accredited registrars with regard to conformance with internationally recognized standards or requirements documents for quality and environmental management systems.

IAAR supports the premise that all assessments performed by its Members are conducted in accordance with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17021 or other international standard(s), as applicable, thus assuring the:

  • integrity of the registration process;
  • competence of all who perform the registration and certification service;
  • credibility of each Member Registrar

This Code of Conduct is complementary to the IAAR Bylaws and as such, by passage and acceptance, all Members agree to assure their own procedures reflect meeting or exceeding the requirements contained herein. Also it is considered to be complementary to other Codes of Practice and is to be used in association with, rather than instead of, any other Codes of Practice that apply to individual Members, (e.g. IQNET; IIOC; etc.).


2.1 Standards and requirements documents

Within this Code of Practice international recognized management standards or requirements documents are considered to be, for example:

  • ISO 9001
  • ISO 14001
  • AS9001 or
  • Similar standards

3.     GENERAL

Members shall:

a) Abide by this Code of Practice at all times.

b) Communicate its content to all their staff.

c) Assure their procedures address the relevant accreditation standard (i.e. ISO/IEC 17021) and all other relevant Codes of Conduct/Practice relevant to their business.

d) Contribute by giving feedback for its improvement.


Members shall assure that:

a) All employed staff or subcontracted resource used throughout the Registration and Certification Process are competent to perform their respective duties and deliver the service to contract requirements.

b) Competence of staff and subcontracted resource is maintained through a process of awareness, education and training.

c) Everyone observes, as a minimum, the criteria applicable to the registration process as defined and documented by the Member, Accreditation Body(ies) or other bodies to which the Member subscribes.


Members shall take all necessary actions to:

a) Prevent improper disclosure of information obtained from clients while undertaking registration services.

b) Implement effective procedures for employed staff, subcontracted or other external resource, and utilized by the Member, that assures all reasonable actions are taken to protect client confidentiality.

c) Assure the confidentiality of all information that is discussed and obtained at all closed meetings (general meetings; committee meetings and working party meetings) of the IAAR, is shared only as directed.


It is essential that the registration and certification process is established on a basis of high moral conduct and honor.

Members shall:

a)    Base their ethics and honor on this Code of Conduct and others that are applicable to their business.

b)    Respect all other Members.

c)    Be honorable in their dealings with clients of other Members.

d)    Undertake only work that they, their employed staff or subcontracted resource are competent to perform.

e)    Accept responsibility for all work done under their authority, supervision or direction.

f)      Take reasonable care such that work undertaken by their staff or subcontracted resource does not cause a danger to life or property.

g)    Provide adequate insurance cover against the risk of liability for any claims that relate to their registration and certification services.

h)    Avoid any public statements that detract from the high regard of independent accredited registration and certification.

i)       Promote fairness and integrity towards other Members at all times.


The registration and certification environment involves a number of activities which, in the absence of clear guidelines, can easily result in conflict of interest, (e.g. consultancy and training). It is incumbent on all Members to eliminate all conflict of interest situations in the interests of maintaining integrity in the Registration and Certification process.

Members shall abide by the requirements of ISO/IEC 17021and any interpretations or guidance published by the respective accreditation body(ies) or IAF.


When undertaking these activities Members shall:

a)    Advise their clients as to the correct methods of using their certificates, licenses, logos and marks.

b)    Take suitable action whenever inaccurate or misleading references to the items listed in a) above appear in advertisements, catalogues, other publications or media.

c)    Not make false or misleading claims in their own advertising that cannot be substantiated.

d)    Not promote their active participation in standards development and/or other committee work directly relevant to our industry that is funded by, or due to, their participation as a representative of IAAR.


Members shall:

a)    Conduct periodic reviews of their compliance with provisions of this and other applicable codes of practice, IAAR Bylaws and all applicable standards (e.g. ISO/IEC 17021).

b)    Assure that renewal of annual membership is an affirmation that they are continuing to comply with this Code of Conduct.

c)    Accept that all allegations or complaints, supported by objective evidence, of a failure to comply with this Code of Conduct shall be impartially investigated by the Board of Directors or by a specially appointed committee.

- Prior to answering specific allegations or complaints, the Member shall be advised of the supporting evidence.

- Before any judgment the Member shall be given a full and fair opportunity of stating their case, including calling of witnesses and cross-examining other witnesses.

- If the allegation or complaint is substantiated, the Board of Directors or specially appointed committee will advise a closed General Member Meeting of the facts. Providing a 2/3rds vote of the membership is obtained, at a meeting or by postal ballot, then one of the following courses of action can be implemented:

  • Terminate membership of IAAR or
  • Order a formal reprimand or admonition or
  • Request and verify suitable corrective action.


  1. ISO/IEC 17021
  2. Association of British Certification Bodies (ABCB)
  3. IIOC Code of Practice on Conflict of Interest


IAAR Supports IAF Code of Conduct

In December 2010, IAAR became a signatory of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Code of Conduct, committing to abide by the code as an association member of IAF and reinforcing its committment to integrity in quality systems certification/registration.  IAF just voted this Fall to include association members as possible signatories to the code.  To view the code, click here.