Accreditation provides the attestation that accredited bodies offering testing, examination, calibration, certification, inspection and verification services (collectively known as conformity assessment) have the technical competence and impartiality to check the conformity of products and services with the relevant national and international standards.

In the European Union, accreditation is performed by national accreditation bodies (NABs) appointed by governments as required by Regulation (EC) 765/2008.

- In the regulated area, the law requires accreditation for those bodies that qualify certain categories of products and services (e.g. products with the CE marking such as toys, lifts, food products with protected or guaranteed origin, etc.) which can be put onto the market only after undergoing conformity assessment against the applicable standards. This is notification.

- In the voluntary area, where there is no specific legislation, companies seek accreditation to provide the market with an impartial attestation of their competence in guaranteeing products’ and services' quality, safety, security, etc.

Together, conformity assessment and accreditation are important parts of a quality infrastructure, along with metrology and standardization. They build confidence that goods and services, processes, management systems and the work of individuals comply with national and international standards and regulations. They also assist in the risk-management and decision-making of manufacturers and regulators.

Accredited bodies performing conformity assessment services assure that they meet all required standards, as well as regulatory requirements and sector criteria, in terms of:

- technical competence, professionalism and integrity;

- risk management;

- adequate human and equipment resources;

- mechanism for measuring improvement of product and service quality;

- complaint and appeal system;

- capacity to compete on an international scale under the EA MLA.

When referring to accreditation, it is important to recognise or specify the appropriate requirements for the services or bodies providing them, according to the type of guarantees required.

When selecting an accredited body, it is essential to identify the scope of activities for which the accredited body is granted accreditation; this is detailed on the accreditation certificate (scope).

Last updated: 21-02-2023