The World of Accreditation Bodies
“The World of Accreditation Bodies” refers to the global landscape of organizations that provide accreditation services. Accreditation bodies are independent entities responsible for assessing and verifying the competence and impartiality of conformity assessment bodies, such as testing laboratories, inspection bodies, certification bodies, and proficiency testing providers.
What is the Difference Between Accreditation and Certification?
To better understand the difference, consider that the accreditation bodies, (who all follow the same high-level standards, (ISO 17011/17020/17021, 17025 etc.), will then accredit, conformity assessment bodies for general international standards such as ISO 9001/14001/22001/27001/45001, etc.)
While each country may only have one accreditation body, they will have several conformity assessment bodies, all of which may not have any accreditation….so chose wisely.
Accreditation bodies ensure the reliability and trustworthiness of products, services, and systems. They establish and enforce standards and criteria against which conformity assessment bodies, (CABs), such as TUV Austria, Inspection and Certification PTV LTD. are evaluated. These standards are typically based on internationally recognized norms, guidelines, and regulations.
The main driver for all accreditation bodies is the International Accreditation Forum. All recognized accreditation bodies are members of this Forum through a by-lateral agreement stating that they will work to the same standards in the same way, hence “accredited once, accepted anywhere”.
The IAF’s primary function is to develop a single worldwide program of conformity assessment that reduces the risk for businesses and their customers by assuring them that accredited certificates and validation and verification statements may be relied upon
The primary purpose of accreditation bodies is to assess and accredit conformity assessment bodies to ensure they operate by specified requirements. They demonstrate that a conformity assessment body meets the necessary competence and integrity standards by granting accreditation. This process involves evaluating technical competence, independence, impartiality, quality management systems, and adherence to applicable standards.
Examples of well-known accreditation bodies include the Hellenic Accreditation System (ESYD), International Accreditation Service (IAS), Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC), the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), and the Austrian National Accreditation Body., indication
The World of Accreditation Bodies provides a framework for establishing trust, reliability, and quality assurance in various industries by accrediting and overseeing conformity assessment bodies.
Hellenic Accreditation System (ESYD)
The national accreditation body, also known as ESYD, stands for “Elliniki Symmetochi Ypiresion Dioikisis” in Greek, which translates to the Hellenic Accreditation System in English. ESYD is the national accreditation body of Greece and is responsible for assessing and accrediting conformity assessment bodies (CABs) in various fields.
ESYD operates according to international standards and guidelines, such as ISO/IEC 17011, and aims to ensure the competence, impartiality, and reliability of CABs operating within Greece. The accreditation process involves evaluating the technical competence and compliance of CABs with specific criteria and requirements in their respective fields.
Accreditation by ESYD provides recognition and assurance that a CAB’s services, such as testing laboratories, calibration laboratories, certification bodies, inspection bodies, and medical laboratories, meet international standards. ESYD’s accreditation enhances the credibility and acceptance of the CAB’s results and certificates domestically and internationally.
By accrediting CABs, ESYD plays a crucial role in supporting quality infrastructure and facilitating trade by assuring the reliability and competence of Greek conformity assessment services.
International Accreditation Service (IAS)
The International Accreditation Service (IAS) is a reputable and recognized indicator of technical competence. IAS accreditation can be used by companies or organizations to improve the quality of their services or products, thereby enhancing their marketability and reputation. Most industries consistently demand that businesses possess their certification from IAS, which is a nationally renowned accreditation body in the United States.
IAS accreditation signifies that an organization has met internationally recognized standards and demonstrates competence, impartiality, and reliability in its operations. It provides assurance to customers and stakeholders that the accredited organization operates with integrity and meets specified requirements.
Accreditation by the IAS is recognized globally and can open doors to international markets, improve the reputation of accredited organizations, and enhance customer confidence. It plays a vital role in facilitating international trade by ensuring that products and services meet established quality standards.
Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC)
The Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC) is a government agency in Pakistan responsible for the accreditation of conformity assessment bodies (CABs) operating in a wide range of fields. It was established in 1998 under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The primary purpose of PNAC is to promote and facilitate the international acceptance and recognition of Pakistani conformity assessment results. It aims to enhance the quality and competitiveness of Pakistani products and services in domestic and international markets. PNAC provides accreditation services to various conformity assessment bodies, including laboratories, inspection bodies, certification bodies, and proficient testing providers.
Accreditation by PNAC signifies that a conformity assessment body has demonstrated competence, impartiality, and reliability in performing its activities. It ensures that the accredited bodies operate according to internationally recognized standards and guidelines, such as ISO/IEC 17025 for testing and calibration laboratories and ISO/IEC 17020 for inspection bodies.
The accreditation process thoroughly assesses the conformity assessment body’s technical competence, management systems, and compliance with applicable standards.
PNAC also plays a vital role in promoting conformity assessment practices within Pakistan by organizing training programs, workshops, and seminars. It collaborates with national and international organizations to foster mutual recognition arrangements and promote the acceptance of Pakistani accreditation in global markets.
United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS)
The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the national accreditation body in the United Kingdom. The UK government recognizes it as the sole national accreditation body responsible for assessing and accrediting organizations that provide testing, inspection, calibration, and certification services. It is an independent, not-for-profit organization that operates under international standards, such as ISO/IEC 17011.
The primary role of UKAS is to ensure that accredited organizations meet defined standards of competence and impartiality. This helps to provide confidence in the services provided by these organizations and ensures that they meet the needs of customers, regulators, and other stakeholders.
Accreditation is voluntary and open to all organizations that provide testing, calibration, inspection, certification, and other related services.
Austrian National Accreditation Body
Akkreditierung Austria is the national accreditation body in Austria providing internationally recognized accreditation services to Conformity Assessment Bodies in diverse schemes. Akkreditierung Austria only accredits Conformity Assessment Bodies with Austrian legal entity status and the headquarters of the (to be) accredited services in Austria.
Accreditation by Austria demonstrates that a conformity assessment body ensures that the products or services provided comply with the harmonization regulations of the European Community.
There are around 98 accreditation bodies in the world that are approved by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). It is strongly recommended that an organization, seeking certification to one or several standards, chose a conformity assessment body that is accredited to do so from those accreditation bodies that are listed in the IAF.
This will reduce risk for businesses and their customers by assuring them that accredited certificates and validation and verification statements may be relied upon, and are recognized worldwide.