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Pioneering new certification body engagement with ISO/IEC 42001

Blog post by

Tim McGarr

Sector Lead (Digital), BSI

In December 2022 BSI, in conjunction with United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), ran a series of activities with certification bodies (CBs) during the public commenting period for ISO/IEC 42001.

  • The aim of the activities was to capture views on where the standard meets the practical needs of certification customers and CBs,
  • increase the CBs’ understanding of the importance of the standard, and
  • share CBs’ feedback with ART/1, BSI’s AI committee. ART/1 brings together a diverse range of stakeholders to feed UK views into the international work programme developed through ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 42 Artificial Intelligence, the international AI Committee.

Traditionally, certification bodies would look to build certification schemes for standards that have already been widely adopted, once certification against them becomes expected. In this case, in contrast, BSI created an opportunity to convene CBs at an early stage, allowing them to feed into the development of the standard and to consider the development of the requirements for a certification scheme much earlier in the process than would typically be the case.

Workshop summary

The workshop began with an introduction on the broader context and considerable work completed in the leadup to developing the draft of ISO/IEC 42001. The presentation highlighted that the standard was designed to be usable by any organization wishing to responsibly develop or deploy AI, recognizing the wide diversity among such organisations. It was also noted how the draft uses “shall” and “should” statements in Annexes A and B, respectively, as these differentiate controlling guidance from recommendations.

During the workshop, representatives worked through the comments and discussion points they had submitted in advance of the event. Many sought clarification on the use or meaning of specific terminology, and were able to gain a better contextual understanding through discussion with other CB representatives and committee members.

The workshop also presented an opportunity for attendees to develop a better understanding of the interplay between ISO/IEC 42001 and other existing standards, including AI-related standards still in early stages of development, such as ISO/IEC 42006 – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of artificial intelligence management systems.

As part of the positive feedback received following the workshop, certification body representatives noted how useful it was to be actively engaged so early in the process. Within the time left ahead of the comment closing date, members of the group were able to take points away and reconvene for further discussion, as well as look for further clarification from other stakeholders who did not attend.

Next steps in the standards development process

Following the workshop, the resolved comments on ISO/IEC 42001 were submitted to the ART/1 committee for consideration in finalising the standard. While the workshop helped achieve consensus on many of the individual comments submitted by CBs, it was by no means a restriction on the overall commenting process, as CBs were still able to comment independently through the standards development portal.

ISO/IEC 42001 is due to be published in late 2023. You can or learn more about the process of making standards in the “Standards at a Glance” section.





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