ILAC, EA, IAF Accreditation

Accreditation bodies

In order for accreditation bodies to recognize each other's accreditations, the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) worked to establish methods of evaluating accreditation bodies against another ISO/CASCO standard. Around the world, geo-political regions such as the European Community, and Asia-Pacific, the Americas and others, established regional cooperations to manage the work needed for such mutual recognition. These regional bodies (all working within the ILAC umbrella) include European Accreditation Cooperation (EA), the Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC), Southern Africa Accreditation Cooperation (SADCA) and the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC).

The first laboratory accreditation bodies to be established were NATA in Australia (1947) and TELARC in New Zealand (1973). Most other bodies are based on the NATA/TELARC model and include UKAS in the UK, FINAS in Finland and DANAK in Denmark to name a few. In India, the National Accreditation Board for Testing & Calibration Laboratories (NABL) exists under the Ministry of Department of Science & Technology, with the Government of India providing accreditation

ILAC

ILACThe International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation or ILAC started as a conference in 1977 with the aim of developing international cooperation for facilitating trade by promotion of the acceptance of accredited test and calibration results. In 1996, ILAC became a formal cooperation with a charter to establish a network of mutual recognition agreements among accreditation bodies that would fulfil this aim.

The ultimate aim of the ILAC is increased use and acceptance by industry as well as government of the results from accredited laboratories, including results from laboratories in other countries. In this way, the free-trade goal of a 'product tested once and accepted everywhere' can be realised.

EA

EAEuropean cooperation for Accreditation (EA) exists to coordinate and lead the European accreditation infrastructure to allow the results of conformity assesment services in one country to be accepted by Regulators and the market place in another country without further examintation, for the benefit of the European community and the global economy

 The EA is a not-for-profit association set up in November 1997 and registered in the Netherlands in June 2000.

The EA’s mission consists of:

  • Defining, harmonising and building consistency in accreditation in Europe, by ensuring common interpretation and application of the standards used by its members;
  • Ensuring transparency of the operations (including assessments) performed and results provided by its members;
  • Maintaining a multilateral agreement on mutual recognition between accreditation activities and reciprocal acceptance of accredited conformity assessment services and results;
  • Managing a peer evaluation system consistent with international practices - EA as a recognised region in ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation) and IAF (International Accreditation Forum) and a signatory to their mutual arrangements;
  • Acting as a technical resource on matters related to the implementation and operation of the European policies on accreditation.

IAF

IAFThe International Accreditation Forum (IAF) is the world association of Conformity Assessment Accreditation Bodies and other bodies interested in conformity assessment in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment. Its primary function is to develop a single worldwide program of conformity assessment which reduces risk for business and its customers by assuring them that accredited certificates may be relied upon. Accreditation assures users of the competence and impartiality of the body accredited.

Role of IAF 

The primary purpose of IAF is two-fold. Firstly, to ensure that its accreditation body members only accredit bodies that are competent to do the work they undertake and are not subject to conflicts of interest. The second purpose of the IAF is to establish mutual recognition arrangements, known as Multilateral Recognition Arrangements (MLA), between its accreditation body members which reduces risk to business and its customers by ensuring that an accredited certificate may be relied upon anywhere in the world.

The MLA contributes to the freedom of world trade by eliminating technical barriers to trade. IAF works to find the most effective way of achieving a single system that will allow companies with an accredited conformity assessment certificate in one part of the world, to have that certificate recognised else where in the world. The objective of the MLA is that it will cover all accreditation bodies in all countries in the world, thus eliminating the need for suppliers of products or services to be certified in each country where they sell their products or services. Certified once - accepted everywhere.

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