Accreditation involves test and
calibration laboratories, inspection bodies, certifying organisations
and verifiers. Accreditation is used to indicate the validity of that
which is being accredited. The quality of services provided by an
accredited operator can be trusted. Accreditation is based on
international criteria. It is a harmonised procedure that is recognised
globally through multilateral recognition agreements. It is also a
FINAS carries out accreditation assessments in
Finland. Accreditation bodies are already active in more than 100
countries. Their number is still growing in countries such as Africa.
number of organisations providing accreditation in Europe is limited to
one per EU Member State. Although there is no similar constraint in the
rest of the world, each state usually only has one accreditation
organisation. There are also some exceptions such as the United States,
where there are several accreditation providers.
Scope of accreditation
accreditation decision is always associated with a certain scope of
accreditation. This indicates which methods are subject to
accreditation. Accreditation does not necessarily cover all the testing
methods used by an institution such as a testing laboratory.
if an operator has been accredited, this may refer only to
accreditation in the context of the reporting of results for methods
within the scope of accreditation.
It is worth referring to accreditation
reporting results, reference to accreditation is not obligatory, as it
is in the case of accredited certification. In the future, there may be
an international agreement to make referencing mandatory in other
sub-areas, such as testing and inspection.
consist of using an item's accreditation mark or a verbal reference.
Reference to accreditation is recommended and important in sectors other
than certification. Only by reference to accreditation can various
parties be sure that the method in question has been accredited.
Greater recognition worldwide
assessments have been conducted for many years worldwide and FINAS has
been active for almost 30 years. A term corresponding to ‘accreditation’
can be recognised in the name of almost all accreditation
organisations. This is enhancing recognition of the term.
The global marketing of accreditation is very important to ensuring greater use of accreditation as proof of due qualification. The European co operation for accreditation website includes material aimed at increasing the recognition of accreditation. The websites of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and ILAC also have a large amount of similar material.
Powered by examples
Examples of the use of accreditation around the world can be found on the Public Sector Assurance website.
The site is a collaborative project involving organisations such as the
IAF, ILAC and the standardisation organisations ISO and IEC. The site
currently has over 300 examples from various sectors including health
care, construction, environmental protection, the energy industry and
The aim of the site is to increase knowledge of
targets of accreditation among public authorities and legislators, for
example. The site has been well received around the world and more
examples are being sought for posting there. No examples have been
provided by Finland, but I am sure that this situation will change.
There are many industries in Finland that require accreditation.
Examples include statutory inspection activities. FINAS is disseminating
information about the existence of the site and will ask stakeholders
to provide examples.