Accreditation & Standardisation
WHAT IS ACCREDITATION?
The official ISO/IEC definition states that accreditation is the third party attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks. The requirements for bodies performing testing, inspection or certification are specified in standards of the ISO/IEC 17000 series, which serve as basis for an according accreditation.
WHAT IS AN ACCREDITATION BODY?
Within the standardised system of ISO/IEC, an accreditation body (AB) is an authoritative body that performs accreditation and thus verifies the competence of organisations carrying out conformity assessment activities. The authority of an accreditation body is generally derived from government and the requirements for an accreditation body are laid down by ISO/IEC 17011. In the EU there is one AB per country.
WHAT IS STANDARDISATION?
Activity of establishing, with regard to actual or potential problems, provisions for common and repeated use, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context. NOTE 1 In particular, the activity consists of the process of formulating, issuing and implementing standards. NOTE 2 Important benefits of standardization are improvement of the suitability of products (including services) and processes for their intended purposes, prevention of barriers to trade and facilitation of technological cooperation. [ISO.IEC Guide 2004, definition 1.1]
WHAT ARE HARMONISED STANDARDS?
A harmonised standard is a European standard developed by a recognised European Standards Organisation: CEN, CENELEC, or ETSI. It is created following a request from the European Commission to one of these organisations. Manufacturers, other economic operators, or conformity assessment bodies can use harmonised standards to demonstrate that products, services, or processes comply with relevant EU legislation. The references of harmonised standards must be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The use of these standards remains voluntary. Manufacturers, other economic operators, or conformity assessment bodies are free to choose another technical solution to demonstrate compliance with the mandatory legal requirements.
A list of all harmonised standards can be found here.
The European Union has co-operative arrangements with international standards bodies (ISO and IEC), allowing a systematic framework to take over international standards and/or to contribute to the international standards making process. The ISO/IEC 17000 series is an example for harmonised standards.
This section will provide updates, news and events in relation to these topics.
Harmonisation of Assessors - Feedback Mailbox
To identify the most common problems encountered during the assessments of accredited laboratories by National Accreditation Bodies (NABs), we have created a feedback form.