Accreditation is a procedure by which a national accreditation body verifies and assesses whether a system certification body meets the requirements to carry out certification of management systems within the declared scope.
The requirements for certification bodies are defined by international standards, regulations and guidelines, and generally speaking, are reduced to requirements for the organization and resources of the bodies and their ability to carry out a competent, objective and impartial certification process.
The introduction and certification of management systems are, by design, voluntary activities. Accreditation of management system certification bodies is also a voluntary activity, unless a normative act or technical convention explicitly requires accredited certification.
This means that unaccredited certification can also be performed. But accredited certification, as a strictly regulated activity, inspires more trust and security and has wider recognition.
Due to differences in approaches and accreditation systems, ie. and at the level of rigor, there is a need to establish a comprehensive and uniform framework of rules and principles for accreditation in the countries of the European Union. In this spirit is Regulation (EC) (765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 09.07.2008, which lays down requirements for accreditation and market surveillance.
In order to avoid competition between national accreditation bodies, which could lead to the commercialization of their activities and incompatibility with their role as the last level of control in the conformity assessment chain, the Regulation aims to ensure that an accreditation certificate is available in the EU and valid for its entire territory. This prevents multiple accreditation, which leads to additional costs and does not add value.
In order to ensure an equivalent level of competence of conformity assessment bodies, to facilitate mutual recognition and to promote the universal acceptance of accreditation certificates and conformity assessment results issued by accredited bodies, national accreditation bodies shall maintain strict and transparent peer evaluation system organized by EA (European Accreditation Organization). The national accreditation body must be a member of the EA.
Regulation 765/2008 recognizes EA as the only organization at European level in terms of its specific functions in the field of accreditation and sets out its main mission as follows:
- to support the development of a transparent, quality-oriented system for assessing the competence of conformity assessment bodies across Europe;
- to manage a peer evaluation system among the national accreditation bodies of the Member States and other European countries.
- The general communication of the IAF (International Accreditation Forum) and ISO (International Standard Organization) sets out the expected results of the accredited certification according to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, applicable to other standardized management systems, such as ISO 22000, ISO 45001 and many more others