It’s December 22 of 2009 when Accredia, born from the merger of Sinal (testing laboratories accreditation) and Sincert (certification and inspection bodies accreditation), obtains the Government recognition. Later, in 2010, Sit itself will put its competencies together for the accreditation of calibration laboratories.
Italy finally has its National Accreditation Body as required by Regulation EC 765 of 2008 that establishes that each EU Member State has a sole body performing accreditation activities, the only one appointed to attest that certification, inspection, verification bodies, and testing and calibration laboratories have the competence to assess the conformity of products, procedures and systems in compliance with the reference standards.
Accredia has been operating for 10 years under the vigilance of the Ministry of Economic Development, performing a service of public interest and becoming an effective tool for certifying products and services placed on the market.
How did the need for accreditation arise? It is necessary to go back to the 80s to hear about accreditation, certification and quality in Italy. Having Europe increasingly focused on facilitating the movement of goods and services, there is a strong need to create trust in the service provided by certification and inspection bodies and testing and calibration laboratories in certifying products and services and in the international mutual recognition of this activity.
The three Italian accreditation bodies, Sinal for testing laboratories, Sincert for certification and inspection bodies, and Sit for calibration laboratories are born on this thrust. The road that led to the merger of these Bodies was long and not without difficulties, with a business system aware of this need to which Europe has provided a decisive boost.
10 years have passed since that recognition in December 2009. Ten years of constant growth and changes. The number of accredited bodies and laboratories reached almost 1,800 units, with an increase in accredited CABs of over 40% in the period 2010-2018. Many Agreements have been signed with Public Administrations that recognize in Accredia’s competence the adequate tool to realize the principle of subsidiarity between public and private.
A remarkable work has also been done in the communication of the Accreditation Body, towards – especially in recent years – the “non-professionals”. A new website, on-line since October 2017, with Databanks where to search for accredited CABs and, in addition, for certified organizations. Absolutely new, the Accredited Services section, addressed to all those who want to know about the activities of CABs in order to understand how to use the services performed by bodies and laboratories in business activities and in daily life.
Furthermore, a new logo celebrating 10 years of activity. And an on-line historical archive, soon to be published, in which all the most important documents of these years of accreditation’s history will be available for consultation. Contributions from people who wrote a page of this story. Anecdotes, documents, quotations of the most noteworthy moments and the most relevant personalities.
The latest recognition in the world of accreditation comes once again from the European Union. Last December 13, in fact, the Commission renewed the co-operation agreement with EA (European co-operation for Accreditation) for a four-year period. This is an agreement to actively promote the development of the European policy for the free movement of goods. Operational and economic support to increase the use of accredited conformity assessments as a tool for the distribution of safe and qualified products and services. An important signal for the role of Accredia that is celebrating its first 10 years of life, looking to the future to increase its activity in new sectors and its communication towards the “insiders”, and even more towards the consumers, businesses and the Public Administration.