Accredia / Accreditation

Accreditation

A guarantee giving confidence

Accreditation ensures that certification, inspection, verification bodies, testing and calibration laboratories fulfill all the requirements of the standards to undertake conformity assessment activities.

Accreditation is the declaration by an unbiased body of the competence, independence and impartiality of certification, inspection and verification bodies, and testing and calibration laboratories.

Bodies and laboratories verify products, services, management systems or professional figures, and certify their compliance with the voluntary and mandatory standards, through certification and inspection, testing and calibration activities.

The accreditation of CABs gives to certificates of conformity and of calibration, to test and inspection reports issued on the market, a high level of reliability in terms of the quality and safety of verified goods and services and it ensures recognition in the international market place.

accreditation is carried out in compliance with the international standard ISO/IEC 17011. In the EU, Regulation EC 765/2008 requires every member state to nominate a national Accreditation Body and it has granted, for the first time, a legal status to this activity, recognizing it as an expression of public authority.

In Italy the sole Accreditation Body appointed by the Government is Accredia.

The objectives

Created in response to the growing demand for quality and safety, accreditation engenders trust in the market on the part of institutions, businesses and consumers and it favours the free movement of goods and services which have been submitted to verification by accredited CABs.

By guaranteeing the competence, independence and impartiality of CABs attesting conformity with the standards for products placed on the market, accreditation gives value and reliability to certifications, inspections, tests and calibrations, offering a high degree of quality and safety guarantee for goods and services.

Accreditation stimulates the development of the entire economic and social system, supporting business competitiveness on an international level. It’s a socially important activity, working for the public good, safeguarding fundamental values such as the health of consumers and environmental protection.

The principles

The assessments for the accreditation of CABs are undertaken by Accredia in accordance with fundamental principles which give value to accredited services.

Impartiality and Independence

Accredia checks and oversees the impartiality in particular of certification and inspection bodies, guaranteeing the objectivity and fairness of their assessments.

Absence of conflicts of interest

The personnel of the CAB must prove absence of conflicts of interest with respect to the product supplier to be tested or the instrument to be calibrated.

Competence

Accredia appraises the experience and technical knowledge of the CAB’s staff according to the specific operative sectors.

Responsibility

CABs are responsible for the assessment of objective evidence on which their decisions are based regarding the conformity of an organization or of a tested product.

Confidentiality

CABs cannot divulge any confidential information obtained during a conformity assessment.

Handling of complaints

CABs must deal quickly and accurately with complaints from clients or from the market.

Accreditation and certification

Accreditation and certification are both conformity assessment activities but distinguishable by the different responsibilities of the operators, the areas of competence and the applicable standards.

Accreditation

Accreditation is conducted by Bodies operating in compliance with the international standard ISO/IEC 17011 and the other applicable rules. It is a guarantee of competence, independence and impartiality of accredited CABs and it does not directly regard the certified goods and services, the tested or inspected products, or calibrated instruments.

Accredited CABs are submitted to regular planned audits, also after the certificate has been issued, to make sure that the conformity requirements, with attested accreditation, remain fulfilled.

Especially for laboratories, accreditation proves that the CAB meets both the technical requirements and those concerning the management system, necessary for providing accurate data and results which are also technically valid for specific activities of testing, analysis and calibration.

Certification

Certification ensures the quality of products, services and management systems, attesting their conformity with the requirements of the specific technical standards (e.g. ISO 9001 for quality or ISO 14001 for the environment) and any obligatory provisions. Unlike accreditation, it attests conformity to the standards without guaranteeing respect for ethical principles.ici.

Accredited certification means recourse made by institutions, businesses and consumers to services performed by CABs operating on the market after attaining accreditation.

A certified laboratory satisfies the requirements related to a management system, but it cannot demonstrate the technical competence of its staff and the availability of all its technical resources in such a way as to guarantee the accuracy of test, analysis and calibration results.

Voluntary and mandatory accreditation

Accreditation is voluntary except if the CAB performs conformity assessments in certain sectors which are regulated by EU directives or regulations or by national legal requirements concerning health, safety or the environment.

A voluntary choice

Accreditation is requested voluntarily by CABs wishing to obtain an authoritative attestation of their competence and operational accuracy.

Formal recognition of their competence, independence and impartiality makes accredited CABs seen to be dependable, giving them greater commercial competitiveness than those without accreditation.

The voluntary area is subject to the general standards regarding economic activity, but not to specific regulations.

The mandatory sector

Accreditation is mandatory for CABs which assess the conformity of specific categories of processes, systems, persons, products and services (such as the biological sector or agrifood products or those bearing the CE marking) which can only be placed on the market after a conformity assessment conducted against the reference standards, directives or regulations.

In many areas accreditation is a pre-requisite for obtaining both ministerial authorization and notification at the European Commission on the part of the Ministry of Economic Development to perform conformity assessment activities.