Difference between Conformance and Compliance

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A short post to clarify the difference between conformance and compliance – words which are often interchanged, but should they be? Here’s just a few lines to explain the difference between them and also why they tend to become confused.


Choosing to do something in a recognised way (following standards such as ISO 9001 or recognised methods such as agreed test methods for ring tests under ISO 17025).



Doing what you are told (i.e. abiding by the law, meeting legislative requirements).

Justification for the confusion

If someone mandates you meet the requirements of a standard or test method then conformance becomes compliance (i.e. your conformity is required in order for you to comply).


A word from the Managing Director: “We aim to establish long term, mutually beneficial working relationships, helping organisations grow and avoid the pitfalls that many fall into. Too many organisations feel their certification is a burden. We want to help organisations realise the benefits of effective management systems and certification”