Two or several laboratories or inspection bodies can assess their performance and the comparability of their results with proficiency testing by comparing results received from the same sample (using the same method and under the same circumstances).
Competence assessment of laboratories and inspection bodies verifies the reliability, correctness and comparability of results. Thus, information received from proficiency testing is a key part of the competence assessment. Utilisation of proficiency testing in the assessments is explained in FINAS Assessment Principle A2.
By participating in proficiency testing, laboratories or inspection bodies can better assess their own competence and performance, assess results in the long run and observe non-conformities or problems and through that, develop their operations. In addition, proficiency testing can be used for the training and induction of personnel, validation of methods and assessment of the measurement uncertainty of results.
Providers of proficiency testing can also prove their competence with accreditation. In such a case, ISO/IEC 17043 is used as the accreditation standard. FINAS recommends taking part in the proficiency testing of accredited providers.
The global proficiency testing database, EPTIS, presents information on proficiency testing programmes and providers. Comparisons allocated at calibration laboratories have been collected on the website of the Centre for Intercomparisons.