World Accreditation Day - June 9, 2016
Accreditation: A global tool to support Public Policy
Standards, accreditation and conformity assessment are market-based tools that can be used by Government policy makers to deliver better regulation, environmental protection, public safety, fraud prevention, fair markets and public trust. These tools are not as widely known and understood, or used, as they should be. However, there are many instances around the world where the public sector has embraced accredited conformity assessment as a means of delivering public policy objectives. This brochure therefore contains an overview for policy makers, regulators and public sector officials explaining why and how these tools could be used in their areas of activity, using case studies which demonstrate how:
--> Government can help improve the performance of business by encouraging the use of conformity assessment
--> Government can rely on accreditation bodies to minimise risks and promote trade
--> Accredited conformity assessment can help government deliver and enforce its policies
--> Private sector uses accreditation in order to deliver confidence in the market place
--> Accredited conformity assessment helps regulators regulate
--> Government can improve its own performance by using conformity assessment in its own departments.
By showcasing the policy areas where conformity assessment is used, such as economic development, public sector, healthcare and environmental protection, the intention is to provide insight so that accredited conformity assessment can serve as a tool to support public policy.
What is the relationship between standards and accreditation?
Standards are an agreed way of doing something; they are documents that capture current good practice through trusted and transparent processes involving all relevant stakeholders in the drafting process.
Accreditation determines the technical competence and integrity of organisations offering conformity assessment services such as testing, certification, inspection and calibration based on international standards. Accreditation can thus be used to verify compliance with a standard. Accreditation is an impartial and objective process carried-out by third-parties; it offers the least duplicative, the most transparent and the most widely accepted route for the provision of credible and trustworthy conformity assessment results.
Accreditation bodies are established in most countries to ensure that conformity assessment bodies are subject to oversight by a competent body. Internationally recognised accreditation bodies, which have been evaluated by peers as competent, sign international arrangements that enhance the acceptance of products and services across borders, thereby creating a global infrastructure to support trade regulatory approval processes, and confidence in the marketplace.
These arrangements are managed by IAF, in the fields covering accreditation of certification bodies and verification/validation bodies, and ILAC, in the areas of laboratory and inspection body accreditation. This system helps to make work carried out by accreditation bodies consistent across the globe, and maintains international standards from one accreditation body to others. As a result, products and services tested, inspected or certified once under the IAF and ILAC umbrella can be accepted everywhere with equal confidence.