Organizations around the world started to work remotely amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those organizations are accreditation bodies that have chosen to replace a significant part of on-site assessments by remote assessments. With the need for social distancing and travel restrictions still in place, there is a clear indication that the use of remote assessment is here to stay.

A joint survey by International Accreditation Forum (IAF), International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) concluded in August 2021 looked at views on the benefits of using remote activities during the pandemic.

The survey garnered 4,350 complete responses including from those who were both subject to, and deliver remote audits, assessments and evaluations. The survey aimed to obtain the views of a diverse range of stakeholders on the use of remote techniques.

Eighty percent (80%) agreed that remote assessments give the same confidence as on-site audits while 79% said that they would like to see blended (remote and on-site) remote activities in the future.

More than 90% felt that a substantial increase in remote techniques will stimulate the use of new processes and almost all (97.5%) agreed to some extent that technologies and alternative techniques should be used. Benefits of working remotely were also cited and these include reduced travel time and costs, efficient use of time during assessment and a reduced carbon footprint.

The survey indicates a huge level of support for remote techniques, a clear understanding of the benefits and a desire to see these methods adopted more widely. Enthusiasm for new means of delivering audits, assessments and evaluations is clear and we will work hard to continue to evolve the support for all those who use and benefit from certification, accreditation and standards,” said Xiao Jianhua, IAF chair.

If there are no further pandemic restrictions, 60% would prefer blended audits, assessments or evaluations; 19% preferred fully remote and 21% wanted to continue on-site.

While the survey showed positive views, slightly more than half (53%) of the respondents felt that the preparation could be more difficult and time-consuming with remote. A total of 37% said current rules including international standards, IAF and ILAC procedures should be modified to better accommodate remote techniques.

Hundreds of suggestions, ideas and proposals were put forward by users, auditors, assessors and people who have been involved with remote audits, assessments and evaluations.

It just shows that it is essential that the confidence accreditation provides to conformity assessment bodies (CABs) and their clients and other stakeholders should not be diminished at this time and through remote assessments, Accreditation Bodies (ABs), can further provide confidence and continue maintaining accreditation remotely.

To continue to provide this confidence, the national accreditation body of the Philippines – Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) accelerated the implementation of its project on remote assessments and began to deliver collaborative approach to assessments. To help CABs prepare for remote assessments, PAB has produced a guidance document that is available to view/download on the PAB website at

For the next steps, IAF, ILAC, and ISO reassured that they would analyze the results and consider the steps necessary to incorporate findings in documents and processes.

For more information about the survey, please visit their website that can be accessed through these links:

International Accreditation Forum (IAF):

International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC): International Organization for Standardization (ISO):

Release Date: 03 November 2021