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Accreditation and Certification in assuring the quality of individuals and services

An explanation about the differences between accreditation and certification in assuring the quality of individuals and services

 

Accreditation is the formal recognition of the impartiality and competence of an organisation to perform specific tasks, via assessment of all the technical factors that affect the reliability of results and data, as well as the implementation of an appropriate management system.  Certification of a quality management system is a means of providing assurance that an organisation has implemented a system for the management of its activities, in line with its policy.

Accreditation provides recognition that an organisation has demonstrated:

  • Technical competency of staff.
  • Validity and appropriateness of methods.
  • Traceability of measurements and calibrations to national standards.
  • Appropriate application of measurement uncertainty.
  • Suitability, calibration and maintenance of equipment.
  • The facilities and environment.
  • Sampling, handling and transportation.
  • Quality assurance of results and data

Certification of a management system provides independent demonstration that the management system of an organisation

  1. conforms to specified requirements,
  2. is capable of consistently achieving its stated policy and objectives, and
  3. is effectively implemented.

So, for example, holding accredited certification to ISO 9001 does not, on its own, represent evidence that a organisation is able to provide accurate and reliable data.

 

Many thanks to UKAS (the UK Accreditation Service www.ukas.com) for providing these technical definitions.

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