Management System Accreditation, as ISO/IEC 17011 2004 defines "is third party attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carryout specific conformity assessment tasks" and the vast majority of these services are render by a price and continuing fees. We clarify that accreditation is acquired by a price and continuing fees based on the business activities of the CB, a quid-pro-quo basis. Accreditation bodies are not-for-profit businesses (as this is defined differently by countries) as determined by their respective national laws.

We hope to shed "light" on the issues of certification and accreditation such that provides objective information (by not adding conjectures or opinions) on certification bodies and accreditation service providers. Competent certification bodies should not consult or implement management system that they are to certify, however, this may be authorize by an accreditation entity..

First most, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a European based confederation, an independent NGO, carries the role to identify, develop and publish technical specifications to help in the marketplace. This "ISO" confederation does NOT engage in the business activities of accreditation or certification or to recommend accreditation or certification bodies.

    The basic definition to accredit and the act to accredit (accreditation) according to Merriam - Webster dictionary - 1: to give official authorization to or approval of: a; to provide with credentials; especially : to send (an envoy) with letters of authorization b : to recognize or vouch for as conforming with a standard c : to recognize (an educational institution) as maintaining technical specifications / management systems that qualify the graduates for admission to higher or more specialized institutions or for professional practice. Approve or even recognition are consider synonymous, among others terms in lieu of accreditation.

      Note on Laboratory Accreditation: As defined, a laboratory is a place equipped for experimental study in a science or for testing and analysis... as this suffices to include in this brief dissertation. An accredited laboratory as per ISO/IEC 17025 A2.5 states that needs defining the scope of competence of the laboratory prior to engaging into the accreditation protocol, and equivalent for medical laboratories ISO 15189.

In the realm of management systems and laboratories we enter, as ISO/IEC 17000 (Conformity Assessment - Vocabulary and General Principles) expresses that accreditation is "Third-party attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks" and we must reiterate that these services are for a price and continuing fees . In ISO/IEC 17011 (Conformity Assessment - General Requirements for Accreditation Bodies Accrediting Conformity Assessment Bodies) expresses that accreditation is defined at the beginning of this page (as "third-party attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks" for a price and fee). ISO/IEC 17011 defines accreditation body as "authoritative body that perform accreditation" and defines Conformity Assessment Body (CAB, some refer to CB or CEB) as "body that performs conformity assessment services and that can be the object of accreditation".

Where does the concept derives from? From the disciplines of education and herein our reference is ADVANCED Worldwide where it states that the concept of accreditation derives from more than 100 years ago by American universities and schools as a simply states that is a "voluntary method of quality assurance". And this concept engages a framework of technical specifications / management system, implementation, continuous improvement and peer support through internal and external reviews, which provides for recognition (extending national, international or sector specific).

Based on the facts as current ISO/IEC 17011 and current ISO/IEC 17000 expresses, accreditation may come from a multitude of sources. From the sources cited in this brief dissertation some of the key words that we reference providing accreditation benefits: framework, quality, international specifications, national standards, improvement, professional development, best practices (as in laboratories the term - concept GLP rises for ISO/IEC 17025 or ISO 15189), and support from peers. Minimum expectations when engaging in an accreditation protocol encompass:

  • Fulfilling and adhering to a given specification(s),
  • Engage in a continuous process of update and improvement, and
  • Demonstration of quality assurance through internal and external reviewing or monitoring to assure competence and impartiality.

Both accreditation and certification are voluntary commercial arrangements; certification bodies (CB) are free to choose or not to choose an accreditation protocol whether as a complete international platform or a local body (AB) [some refer to recognition], same as the organizations - companies are free to select or not to select a certification body or a subsidiary / franchise.

    "Recognition" is mot often refer to technical management system specifications for example, automotive (TS 16949), aerospace (AS9100), telecommunications (TL 9000) and others.

Then, the basics to select a certification body? Your client(s) provide determining factors, since the objective to certify is not to merely have a piece of paper but that provides adding - value to services and products. Thereof, some of the parameters to consider in a given formula are ethics, integrity and value - adding. For this the accreditation protocols may help at different degrees (or not help) in this formula . The competence, innovation, approach and simplicity within the boundaries of internationally acceptable specifications of some accreditation bodies is vital to the formula; and the truly proactive accreditation bodies add to the formula assurance of competence and impartiality.

    However, if your organization is given one or a handful choice of certification bodies, then there is nothing to analyze, study and decide. The organization has been given on single choice or handful of choices.

Last but not least, many claim credibility; credibility is defined as the quality or power of inspiring belief. Worthiness to believe (not to deceive) with moral certainty. To this effect consider factual recognition | accreditation and backing with legal implications and moral values with valuable purpose to the marketplace.

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Page update
11/03/17


Accreditation and Certification