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What is accreditation?

Accreditation means the formal recognition of the technical and organisational competence of a certification body to perform a specific service described in the scope of accreditation. Accreditation is a confidence-building measure that allows authorities, industry and society to assess whether a certification body can perform certain tasks with the required high level of reliability.

Organisation of the accreditation bodies

There is one accreditation body per country. The accreditation body is part of an authority in each case. The accreditation bodies are organised worldwide in the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). Their main task is to develop a single global conformity assessment programme that reduces the risks for companies and their customers by giving them the certainty that accredited certificates and validation and verification statements can be relied upon.

Accreditation bodies and regional accreditation groups that are members of the IAF are only included in the IAF MLA after a rigorous assessment of their activities by a peer evaluation team to ensure that the applicant fully complies with both the international standards and the IAF requirements. Once an accreditation body has signed the IAF MLA, it is obliged to recognise certificates and validation and verification statements issued by conformity assessment bodies accredited by all other signatories to the IAF MLA, with the appropriate scope.

The IAF MLA relies heavily on the MLAs of the recognised regional accreditation groups, in Europe this is the European Accreditation (EA).

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