Accreditation is the independent evaluation of conformity assessment bodies against recognised standards to ensure their impartiality and competence. Through the application of national and international standards, government, procurers and consumers can have confidence in the calibration and test results, inspection reports and certifications provided. Accreditation bodies are established in many countries with the primary purpose of ensuring that conformity assessment bodies are subject to oversight by an authoritative body. Accreditation bodies, which have been evaluated by peers as competent, sign arrangements that enhance the acceptance of products and services across national borders, thereby creating a framework to support international trade through the removal of technical barriers. These arrangements are managed by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment, and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), in the field of laboratory and inspection accreditation.
Accreditation Body Membership of IAF is open to bodies that conduct and administer programmes by which they accredit bodies for certification/registration of quality systems, products, services, personnel, environmental management systems as well as other programmes of conformity assessment. Accreditation body members must declare their common intention to join the IAF Multilateral Recognition Agreement (MLA) recognising the equivalence of other members’ accreditations to their own.
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