By ILAC Chair, Daniel Pierre and IAF Chair, Thomas Facklam
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 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.