Accredia / Accreditation / The path to accreditation

The path to accreditation

The process of accreditation

From the application to the granting of accreditation, CABs must fulfill the requirements for conformity assessment of products and services.

CABs making the application are followed by Accredia in all the phases as far as the issue of the certificate of accreditation.

Accredia ensures that the applicant fulfills the necessary requirements of the voluntary and mandatory reference standards by means of assessments conducted both before the granting or extension of accreditation and also during the phases of surveillance and renewal.

The certificate has a validity of four years.

The steps of the process

The application

The application must be made in the original form, clearly and fully, according to the specific activities required by the CAB. It must include also all the documents requested and be signed by an authorised representative of the CAB. It is examined by the Technical Officer of the relevant Accredia department for compliance with all the above requirements.

If the outcome of this phase is positive Accredia informs the CAB and sends a cost estimate. The costs of Accredia’s services for these are publicly available on Accredia’s website.

Document review

The analysis of the documents presented together with the application is carried out by a team tasked by the department director. The aim is to assess the conformity of the activities of CABs with the applicable requirements, as well as those prescribed by the contract drawn up by Accredia. If any further documents are needed or if the application is incorrectly completed, this shall be done by the applicant CAB.

When the process has been successfully completed an on-site assessment is performed at the applicant CAB and, if necessary Accredia plans witness visits at the CAB’s clients’ location.

On-site assessments

These are conducted by a team consisting of selected qualified assessors and experts from Accredia. The intention is to ascertain that the applicant’s modalities are in line with the requirements and technical regulations, as well as those of all the applicable standards and procedures defined by the applicant. This is all formalized in the management system documentation – manual, regulations, procedures, instructions, control lists, staff qualifications etc.

A report is written at the end of each assessment. If it contains only simple observations, the process continues but if there are any criticalities further assessments are carried out and if there are any nonconformities the accreditation process may be stopped.

If the outcome is positive, the document summarizing the assessments is submitted for analysis by the Sector Accreditation Committee.

Witness assessments

For the accreditation of certification, inspection and verification bodies, after the on-site visit, a witness visit takes place at the client organization.

The clients may be either public or private organizations holding management system and product certification (licensed holders of certification marks) as well as companies using inspections and verifications of declarations of atmospheric emissions and certified professionals. The results of these witness visits follow the same procedures as those for on-site assessments.

If the outcome is positive the summary of the assessments is submitted for analysis by the Sector Accreditation Committee.

Decision for accreditation

The Sector Accreditation Committee evaluates the case and takes a decision. The granting of accreditation is formalized in an agreement signed by Accredia and the accredited body and the certificate issued bearing the Accredia mark.

Accreditation and the certificate have a validity period of four years.

The decisions and the name of the body are then published on the databanks of Accredia’s website.

Periodic surveillance

Over the four-year accreditation cycle Accredia undertakes periodic surveillance assessments of the activities of the accredited CAB in order to check maintenance of the competence requirements, the independence and impartiality, conformity with the standards and other applicable documents.

Extension of accreditation

Over the four-year accreditation cycle the CAB may apply for extension to new activities and operative locations. Extension does not prolong the validity of the accreditation period and does not involve the signing of a new agreement unless accredited locations are added.

Accreditation may be extended to new certification schemes or sectors within the existing scheme. A test laboratory may increase its range of accredited tests. A calibration laboratory may cover new metrological sectors and reference materials, diversify the measurement fields and/or reduce measurement uncertainties.

Renewal of accreditation

Before expiry of the accreditation the renewal process can start according to the same modalities as for initial accreditation.

Who can apply for accreditation

For every type of conformity assessment activity for which the CAB seeks accreditation, there are forms indicating the normative references and main applicable documents.

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