An authoritative body that performs accreditation.”
– AS ISO/IEC 17000-2005 Conformity assessment—Vocabulary and general principles
Accreditation is a third-party attestation related to a conformity assessment body (CAB) or person (facility) conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks as described in a published scope of accreditation. There is no legal obligation for CABs to be accredited, however conformity assessment by an accredited laboratory, inspector or certifier increases confidence that a product conforms to the specified requirements. The authority of an accreditation body is generally derived from government.
The Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand
JAS-ANZ is the Government appointed accreditation body for Australia and New Zealand responsible for providing accreditation of CABs that undertake management system, personnel and product certification, and inspections.
The criteria for bodies seeking JAS-ANZ accreditation for inspection are based on ISO/IEC 17020 – Conformity assessment – Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection, SA HB 18.23-1991 (R2016) Guidelines for third-party certification and accreditation – Guide 23 – Methods of indicating conformity with Standards for third-party certification systems, SA HB 18.27-1991 (R2016) Guidelines for corrective action to be taken by a certification body in the event of either misapplication of its mark of conformity to a product, products which bear the mark of the certification body being found to subject persons or property to risk).
At the international level, JAS-ANZ is a signatory to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the Pacific Accreditation Forum (PAC) Multilateral Recognition Arrangements (MLA) for quality management systems, environmental management systems and product certification; it is also a signatory to ILAC and APLAC’s Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for inspection. This means that JAS-ANZ accredited conformity assessment bodies are recognised by other signatories to the MLAs and MRA as being equally reliable or equivalent to any other conformity assessment body accredited by another signatory with the appropriate scope.
The National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA)
NATA is Australia’s national authority for accreditation of laboratories and reference material producers performing specific types of testing, inspection, calibration, and other related activities. NATA provides assessment, accreditation and training services to laboratories and technical facilities.
The criteria for determining a facility's competence are based on the relevant international standard (eg AS ISO/IEC 17025-2005 (R2016) General requirements for the competence of testing and callibration laboratories and AS/NZS ISO/IEC 17020:2013 Conformity assessment – Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection) and include: the qualifications, training and experience of staff; correct equipment that is properly calibrated and maintained; adequate quality assurance procedures; appropriate sampling practices.
At the international level, NATA is a signatory body for testing, calibration, reference material producer and inspection accreditation through APLAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) and it is also a signatory body for calibration, testing and inspection through ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA). The signatory status requires test, calibration and inspection reports produced by NATA accredited conformity assessment bodies be recognised by other signatories to the MRA.
To avoid costly re-testing, and technical and international recognition barriers, Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRA) and Multilateral Recognition Arrangements (MLA) are established between Regional Accreditation Authorities in 65 countries. Mutual recognition is decided following evaluation including standard harmonisation and peer review according to strict requirements agreed at international level. Conformity assessment bodies with accreditation from a Regional Accreditation Authority of the international accreditation cooperation are mutually recognised by all other international signatory member states to that cooperation through the relevant MRA and MLA.
Conformity assessment body accreditation and the NCPR
NATSPEC is not a conformity assessment body and the NCPR relies on conformity assessment performed by conformity assessment bodies with accreditation from the following accreditation bodies:
Akkreditierung Austria (Austria)
IANZ (New Zealand)