June 9th 2009 will mark International Accreditation Day, a global initiative jointly established by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation-related activities.
Building on the success of the inaugural international accreditation day in 2008, which saw the hosting of major national events, seminars, and press campaigns in over 50 countries, an even greater level of activity will take place this year to communicate the value of accreditation to Regulators, businesses and the general public.
The theme of the day this year is ‘competence'. Accreditation provides an independent and authoritative attestation of the competence, impartiality and integrity of conformity assessment bodies (CABs). Accreditation that is internationally accepted and meets international standards, thereby providing confidence in the accuracy and reliability of testing, inspection and certification.
Standards and accreditation play an increasingly important role in improving the operations of the marketplace and promoting growth and trade. Many factors have contributed to this such as mass production, a growing demand for interchangeable parts, globalization, manufacturers' concerns about litigation, demand for cheaper and cheaper goods, public demand for product safety and concerns about technical compatibility between products.
In such a complex and highly competitive market, a level of confidence is required when procuring products or services. Such reassurance is underpinned by accreditation. Specifiers, like Government regulators, have come to appreciate the importance of credible accreditation programs that are based on internationally-recognized standards. With restricted budgets, many Regulators can no longer do it all themselves and increasingly, they must rely on third-party organisations to support their regulatory efforts. When they do so, they need a fair and meaningful basis for identifying qualified and competent providers. Accreditation provides this declaration of competence.
Joint message from Daniel Pierre and Thomas Facklam, ILAC and IAF Chairs
We are delighted to announce that the second International Accreditation Day will take place on June 9th 2009. This year’s theme is ‘competence’ -a core principle of what accreditation delivers. Technical and operational competence, as it relates to an organisation’s ability to provide the market with its products and services, is determined by accreditation. The concept of competence is associated with an organisation’s ability to demonstrate its integrity and understanding of its procedures and capability to plan, to be proactive, and to ensure that its technical and management systems are effective in meeting the organisation’s objectives and vision. In this way, industry and governments can have greater confidence in the products and services delivered by accredited organizations and their clients.
This year’s activities will mirror the success of International Accreditation Day 2008, which saw major promotional events, seminars for Industry and Regulatory officials, and press campaigns in over 50 countries worldwide. ILAC and IAF are grateful to the major international specifiers, Regulatory bodies and stakeholders for their continued support of International Accreditation Day, that has added greater value to the activities organised by national accreditation bodies and the conformity assessment body community.
These events have contributed to a greater recognition of accreditation, in particular from national Regulators, who are adopting accreditation as a mechanism to deliver credible solutions that can support or act as an alternative to Legislation. This has been borne out by a recent survey of National Accreditation Bodies which reported 68% acceptance levels of accredited services, an increase of 27% since 2002.
There is growing recognition of both the value of accreditation and the ILAC and IAF multilateral agreements which now operate throughout many economies. For example, a new Regulation in Europe provides a legal framework for the provision of accreditation services within the Community. EA has been tasked to act as the coordinating organisation. In the Asia-Pacific region, APEC has endorsed accreditation, with APLAC and PAC recognised as an APEC specialised regional bodies. Accreditation is now used to underpin the conformity assessment component of the APEC agreements. ASEAN, with its ten member states, has included accreditation in the ASEAN sectoral MRA for electrical and electronic equipment as a means of meeting the mandatory requirements of each member and to facilitate the implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area. In the Americas, the IAAC has successfully communicated the value of accreditation to Regulators and government entities to ensure that they are increasingly relying on results from accredited laboratories to meet their mandatory requirements in areas as diverse as food safety, environmental protection, toy safety, and the quality of concrete, steel, electrical products and a variety of other products and services.
Testimonials & Messages of support
International Standards Organization
Standards and accreditation provide a framework of trust for marketing and purchasing goods and services. In competitive and open markets, both government and business rely on trust to ensure a fair exchange of safe goods and services. The essential aspect of accreditation is that it underpins this confidence because it is a valid means of verifying claims about quality, performance, and competence. With the globalization not only of trade, but of many other issues such as climate change and environmental protection, security and health, trust must be achieved globally. The use of ISO International Standards as the reference criteria for accreditation and the development of the ILAC and IAF MLAs are therefore key to building trust across borders and promoting best practices in conformity assessment worldwide.
Those having requirements for the assessment of compliance of products and services, whether in the regulated areas or for private transactions, have come to recognise the importance of credible accreditation programs that are based on internationally recognised standards and subject to mutual recognition. With restricted budgets, many government agencies can no longer do it all themselves; increasingly, they must rely on accredited conformity assessment to support their regulatory policies. Accreditation based on ISO standards and ILAC and IAF MLAs provides that and assists in meeting the commitments taken in the context of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.
- Alan Bryden, ISO Secretary-General
World Health Organization
Quality and safety of blood are critical for patient care. Accreditation of blood banks using national standards is a step forward to ensure availability of safe blood.
WHO recognizes that accreditation plays an important part in the health, safety and well-being of the public. Critical decisions reliant on accurate tests are made hundreds of time each day throughout the world. Assurance that the test reports are reliable, that it conforms to the requirements of the specific test, is supported by accreditation. WHO fully supports standards and accreditation as providing a framework for quality assurance and patient safety. WHO works with the national and international accreditation community to promote blood safety and reliability of laboratory tests.
World Anti-Doping Agency
Accreditation plays a pivotal role in supporting The World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) mandate to monitor compliance to the WADA International Standard for Laboratories (ISL) in the fight against doping in sport.
Laboratories that wish to perform anti-doping analyses of sport samples under the World Anti-Doping Code must achieve and maintain accreditation from WADA. Collaboration between WADA and ILAC ensure that assessment of laboratories can be carried out to the WADA ISL standard and ISO/IEC 17025 concurrently. This ensures that stakeholders, including athletes, sport organizations, governments and the general public can trust the results from accredited laboratories.
Dr. Olivier Rabin, Director
As laid down in the Statute of the Accreditation Board 28th June is the Accreditation Day in the Republic of Serbia since that was the date when the first accreditation was granted.