Quality Magazine

World Accreditation Day to Support Work of Regulators

May 26, 2011

More than 60 countries are participating in World Accreditation Day on June 9th, a worldwide initiative jointly established by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). The International Accreditation Service (IAS), a recognized accreditation body and signatory member of ILAC, endorses this initiative to raise awareness of how accreditation is used to support the work of regulators.

Accreditation is a formal, independent verification that a program, institution or company meets established quality standards and is competent to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks. Accreditation has been used for more than 50 years as the definitive means of evaluating organizations and is now utilized by all the world's major economies and many developing economies.

Governments and 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 organizations to support their regulatory objectives. When they do so, they need a fair and meaningful basis for identifying qualified and competent providers. Accreditation provides this declaration of competence.

Governmental regulatory agencies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Highway Administration and building departments require accreditation to verify the technical competence of organizations such as laboratories, inspection bodies, certification agencies and fabricators.

Organizations responsible for public safety and welfare such as building departments, hospitals, schools, police and fire departments also seek accreditation to demonstrate their competence and reliability. Global acceptance of accreditation promotes harmonization of assessment requirements and processes at a worldwide level. Accreditation of conformity assessment bodies provides businesses and regulators with confidence that products entering the market conform to specifications, meet national legal and regulatory requirements and fulfill the need to protect public interests.

IAS accredits more than 500 organizations, including testing and calibration laboratories, product certification agencies, special inspection agencies, inspection programs for metal building manufacturers, fabricator inspection programs, inspection agencies, training agencies, curriculum developers, field evaluation bodies, building departments, and building department service providers. A recognized accreditation body since 1975, IAS is a nonprofit, public benefit corporation. IAS is one of the leading accreditation bodies in the United States and a signatory to several international mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs). For more information about World Accreditation Day, visit www.ilac.org/461.html. To learn more about IAS accreditation, visit www.iasonline.org/.