Testing the assessment bodies

Accreditation provides a means to test and assess the level of expertise of conformity assessment bodies. In order to become accredited, a conformity assessment body needs confirmation from a third party that it possesses the specialist expertise to carry out specific conformity assessment activities.

Since the entry into force of EU Regulation 765/2008 (PDF, 160 KB), the accreditation of conformity assessment bodies is a sovereign task to be conducted by a single national accreditation agency in the respective member state. In Germany, this is the Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS).

The Accreditation Advisory Board, set up by the Economic Affairs Ministry in line with the Accreditation Body Act, supports and advises the Federal Government and the national accreditation body in all matters relating to accreditation.
The Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing hosts the Coordinating Office of the Accreditation Advisory Board: www.akb.bam.de .

Accreditation enables comparability and creates trust

Accreditation makes it possible to compare conformity assessment certificates and to establish confidence in these assessments among businesses and within the public administration. It is the foundation upon which the consumer is able to reliably establish the quality of a given product or service. Accreditation precludes the need for expensive duplicate testing by enabling certificates and test reports to be mutually recognised. In this way, accreditation plays a part in reducing technical barriers to trade, thereby facilitating trade.

Accreditation may be required by law for conformity assessment bodies operating in sensitive areas, such as consumer protection, healthcare, occupational health-and-safety, and environmental protection. Where this is not the case (voluntary, non-regulated areas), conformity assessment bodies use accreditation as a means to demonstrate to the market and to the customer that they possess the necessary expertise to conduct their activities.

Mutual assessment ("assessment among equals") ensures that the national accreditation bodies in Europe have the necessary level of expertise. The relevant tests are conducted by the European Cooperation for Accreditation (EA).