For the assessment, FINAS assembles an assessment team with sufficient expertise to cover the scope of accreditation proposed by the applicant. The team is led by a lead assessor, who also assesses the management system. Besides the FINAS lead assessor, the team generally includes one or more technical assessors or technical experts trained for assessment tasks.
When the assessment team is assembled, the following factors are considered:
- the members of the assessment team are competent and impartial
- the client approves the technical assessors or experts
- all members of the team have signed a non-disclosure agreement
The Finnish Accreditation Service’s (FINAS) lead assessors are public officials with a liability for acts in office. Public officials are subject to certain requirements that ensure independence and impartiality in activities. The Act on Public Officials in Central Government (750/1994) defines that public officials cannot request, approve or accept any financial or other benefits if they may reduce trust in public officials or the authorities. In addition, other activities, including secondary occupations or association memberships, cannot be in conflict with official duties. Furthermore, secondary occupations cannot endanger trust in equality when carrying out official duties or be competing activities that may damage the employer.
Public officials are also subject to various principles of good governance as laid down in the Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003). Technical assessors (experts) have entered into agreements in which they are also committed to complying with these same principles. As part of the principles of good governance, the main assessor or technical assessor (expert) cannot participate in assessments in which they are disqualified. An assessor is disqualified if they are related to a member of the entity being assessed, or if impartiality is otherwise at risk for a specific reason. Such reasons include specific advantages or disadvantages in situations such as competition or a close partnership. Before the assessment, the operator will be requested to provide information about any disqualification factors regarding assessors. FINAS ensures the competence, knowledge and skills of assessors so that assessments can be conducted in accordance with the principles applied by FINAS, while addressing the Administrative Procedure Act. Based on the information obtained, FINAS will decide on the suitability of assessors.
FINAS also complies with the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), which lays down provisions on the confidentiality obligation of the authorities. The publicity of activities is also defined in the agreement between FINAS and each assessor. Under this agreement, the assessor commits to keeping all information obtained from bodies during assessments confidential. In addition to keeping information confidential, no information obtained can be used for personal gain. The obligations above are also in effect after the validity of this general agreement. The assessment report prepared by an assessor for a body and other similar reports are the property of FINAS. FINAS decides on the disclosure of information.