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ACCREDITATION SCHEMES

Accreditation is the formal recognition of a body’s competence to conduct a specific activity such as testing, inspection or certification. This recognition is based on compliance with international and ICAS standards. Compliance with these standards requires organisations to demonstrate competence, impartiality and integrity. It is often difficult for customers to distinguish between the quality of products or services available in the marketplace.

Certificates of conformance or test reports are normally used to make that distinction.  These certificates or reports are only useful or reliable if the organisation or individual conducting the assessment or test is competent and qualified. The accreditation of the organisation, for a defined scope, is the mechanism that provides the customer with this confidence.

The international nature of the standards means that a company or product in National & International markets can be assessed or tested to the same standards as a company in International market, providing confidence in the comparability of certificates and reports across national/International borders.

A) LABORATORY ACCREDITATION

General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories Laboratory Accreditation granted by the International Conformity for Accreditation Services (ICAS) is a scheme, which is open to any laboratory performing testing and/or calibration.

i. Testing Calibration

ICAS offers laboratories accreditation to the international standard ISO/IEC 17025:2005 .The Standard is applicable to all laboratories regardless of the number of personnel or the extent of the scope of testing and/or calibration activities. It requires laboratories to establish and maintain a quality system to manage aspects such as document control, complaint handling, contract review, purchasing, audits and investigation into non-conforming testing/calibrations.

In addition, the laboratory is required to have policies and procedures to describe training, test/calibration methods, quality assurance, reporting and measurement traceability. “General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories”. This standard contains requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories and is used by laboratories in developing a management system for quality, administrative and technical operations.

Laboratories are accredited in compliance with ISO 17025 for a defined range of activities and these are detailed in a scope of accreditation which is annexed to the organisation’s accreditation certificate. Laboratories accredited by ICAS cover testing in areas such as: chemical: biological; mechanical: heat and temperature; metrology; electrical; and construction materials.

A directory of these scopes of accreditation is maintained by ICAS and is available from the ICAS website.

Once the Laboratory has all of the organisational and technical measures in place, and has been operating a laboratory service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up, and to be able to demonstrate that the operation is stable, it can apply to ICAS for accreditation.

ICAS (International Conformity for Accreditation Services) will keep the policies & active adaptations as per International Organization for Standards regularly.

The process for the accreditation of laboratories is fully described in ICAS Publication P1, also available from the ICAS website.

ii. Medical testing

ICAS provides laboratory accreditation for medical laboratories to ISO 15189:2007 “Medical Laboratories – Particular requirements for quality and competence”. The standard is closely based on the general laboratory accreditation standard ISO 17025, but incorporates essential elements for medical laboratories.

In particular, the standard emphasizes patient needs and focuses on clinical personnel roles, responsibilities and needs. It addresses issues particular to a medical laboratory which include the provision of advisory services to clinicians, collection of patient samples, provision of testing in a medical emergency and the contribution of medical laboratory service to patient care.

The standard is applicable to private laboratories, and those laboratories based in both public and private hospitals.

For the medical laboratory programme ICAS uses a combination of technical experts and medically qualified assessors from International Accreditation Bodies who have significant experience in medical laboratory accreditation.

ICAS applicant and accredited Laboratories are required to implement in full the requirements of ISO 15189 and associated ILAC and ICAS mandatory documents, which can be accessed from the ICAS website at www.icasab.com.

ICAS (International Conformity for Accreditation Services) will keep the policies & active adaptations as per International Organization for Standards regularly.

Once the Laboratory has all of the organisational and technical measures in place, and has been operating a laboratory service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up, and to be able to demonstrate that the operation is stable, it can apply to ICAS for accreditation.

B) Accreditation for Certification Bodies

The International Conformity for Accreditation Services accredits certification bodies operating management systems, product and personnel certification. Accreditation involves the assessment of the competence of the certification body and its management system. Assessment visits to the certification body and sub offices are performed in order to evaluate how its functions are performed in practice. Part of the assessment includes ICAS witnessing the certification body performing audits.

i) Management system certification

Choosing an accredited management system certification helps assure clients will get the business benefits and value they pay for. When using an International Conformity for Accreditation Services(ICAS) member with internationally recognized standards, customers, clients and stakeholders benefit from a highly robust and tested system of assurance. Once certified, management systems benefits include risk mitigation and improved operational efficiency, which leads to better performance, less waste, lower costs, and ultimately, greater profitability. A recent survey conducted by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) reported that not only is accredited certification being used as a tool to deliver internal business improvement and to meet regulatory compliance, but businesses confirm to have experienced a positive effect on revenue.

a) Quality management system (QMS-ISO 9001)

Quality Management Systems certification is provided by certification bodies to organisations whose management system meets the requirements of the ISO 9000 series of international standards.

ISO 9001:2008 is an international standard that sets out an organisation’s quality management system. Its objective is to provide a set of requirements that are effectively implemented to provide confidence that goods and services supplied by the organisation consistently meet customer needs and expectations and comply with applicable regulations.

ISO 9001:2008 requirements cover a wide range of business aspects including top management commitment to quality, purchasing, process control, equipment calibration, customer complaint handling and continual improvement.ISO 9001:2000 does not specify requirements for the products/services provided; that is up to the customer. A management systems certification body must be able to demonstrate its competence to assess and certify a management system that conforms to specific requirements. An accredited certification body must comply with ISO 17021 and any associated guidance published by the International Accreditation Forum, IAF.

ICAS publishes a Schedule of Accreditation for each accredited certification body which specifies industry sector codes within which the body has demonstrated its competence. ISO 17021 has a number of requirements for organisational structure; quality management system elements, competence of personnel, confidentiality, etc. and the certification body must be able to demonstrate compliance with all of these requirements.

ICAS (International Conformity for Accreditation Services) will keep the policies & active adaptations as per International Organization for Standards regularly.

Once the certification body has all of the organisational and technical measures in place and has been operating a certification service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up to demonstrate consistent operation, it can apply to ICAS for accreditation in www.icasab.com.

b) Environment management system (EMS-ISO 14001)

Environmental Management Systems certification is provided by certification bodies to organisations whose management systems meet the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard.

ISO 14001 specifies the elements of an environmental management system that an organisation must have in place in order to become certified to the standard. In order to achieve this standard a company must have an environmental policy in place that is communicated to all employees. It must define its “environmental aspects” and set objectives and targets to improve its environmental impact and performance. These objectives and targets should be measurable and monitored closely by the organisation. A company must also ensure it is compliant with any applicable environmental legislation.

A Management Systems certification body must be able to demonstrate its competence to assess and certify a management system that conforms to specific requirements.

ICAS accredits certification bodies to the international standard, ISO 1702,1on demonstration of its competence to carry out management system conformity assessment related to products, processes, systems or people. ICAS publishes a Schedule of Accreditation for each accredited certification body which specifies industry sector codes within which the body has demonstrated its competence.

The certification body must comply with ISO 17021and its associated guidelines published by the International Accreditation Forum, IAF. The guidance document, IAF clarifies requirements for the certification body, and enables accreditation bodies to harmonise their application of the standard. It is available from the IAF website at http://www.iaf.nu.

ISO 17021 has a number of requirements for organisational structure; quality management system elements, competence of personnel, confidentiality, etc. and the certification nobody must be able to demonstrate compliance with all of these requirements.

ICAS (International Conformity for Accreditation Services) will keep the policies & active adaptations as per International Organization for Standards regularly.

Once the certification body has all of the organisational and technical measures in place, has been operating a certification service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up, and has enabled demonstration of consistent operation can apply to ICAS for accreditation, www.icasab.com

c) Food safety management system (FSMS-ISO 22000)

FSMS food safety management system describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent food borne illness & to ensure that there is no intermediateness in the food chain supply for the consumers and to maintain the safety between industry and the market and then between the market and the consumer. In considering market to consumer practices, the usual thought is that food ought to be safe in the market and the concern is safe delivery and preparation of the food for the consumer.

ISO 22000 of International Organizations for Standards has regulated standards to have an effective food safety management system to be well organized, demonstration of their abilities to control food hazards and have customer satisfaction by the effective control of food safety hazards as per the stipulated regulations, such regulations applies to all types of organizations having the management systems concerning foods manufacturers, packers, cleaning agents, additive ingredients, transporters, storage operators and the other internal & external subcontractors considering industry to market practices and food safety considerations.

ISO 22000 gives confidence to organizations for maintaining the food standards internationally without any hazard.

ICAS (International Conformity for Accreditation Services) will keep the policies & active adaptations as per International Organization for Standards regularly.

Once the certification body has all of the organisational and technical measures in place, has been operating a certification service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up, and has enabled demonstration of consistent operation can apply to ICAS for accreditation, www.icasab.com.

d) Occupational health & safety management system (OHSAS 18001)

OHSAS is an International Occupational Health & Safety Management System which is the world’s most recognized occupational health and safety management system exclusively designed system for the world to recognize the need to control and improve health and safety performance of an organization & the environment.

OHSAS specifies the requirements for a management system to enable an organization to develop & implement a policy & objectives which take into account of legal requirements, performance & information about the organizational risks and such standards applies to all types & sizes of organization in-order to maintain the geographical, cultural & social conditions as per the international standards.

The safety & health of employees & people working in an organization are the key stone for the sustaICASility goals i.e. to achieve the high levels of pro-active health & safety standards which finally give an output of customer satisfaction keeping the quality & safety standards of the environment by following the international safety standards of OHSAS (Occupational Health & Safety Management System).

OHSAS 18001 has been developed to be compatible with ISO 9001:2008 & ISO 14001:2001 in order to facilitate the integration of quality, environmental & occupational health & safety management systems by organizations.

ICAS (International Conformity for Accreditation Services) will keep the policies & active adaptations as per International Organization for Standards regularly.

Once the certification body has all of the organisational and technical measures in place, has been operating a certification service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up, and has enabled demonstration of consistent operation can apply to ICAS for accreditation, www.icasab.com.

e) Medical devices quality management system (MDQMS –ISO 13485)

A medical device is an instrument or an apparatus that is used to diagnose, prevent, or treat disease or other conditions; Medical devices vary greatly in complexity and application in use without any chemicals added to it. Keeping the quality & consumer’s satisfaction medical devices are meant to comply the standards internationally or as per ISO 13485.

ISO 13485 represents the requirements for a comprehensive quality management system for the design, manufacture, development, production, installation & servicing of medical devices tailored to the industry's quality system, which could be utilized by the internal & external bodies to assess the organization’s ability to meet customer’s expectations and regulatory requirements of the certifying body.

ISO 13485 is generally harmonized with ISO 9001, requires the organization to demonstrate a relentless improvement, whereas ISO 13485 requires only that the certified organization demonstrate the quality system is effectively implemented and maintained under the adoption of a quality management system having an strategy in their quality management system which could get identified internationally by following the standards published by International Organization for Standards

ICAS (International Conformity for Accreditation Services) will keep the policies & active adaptations as per International Organization for Standards regularly. Once the certification body has all of the organisational and technical measures in place, has been operating a certification service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up, and has enabled demonstration of consistent operation can apply to ICAS for accreditation, www.icasab.com.

f) Information security Management System (ISMS-ISO 27001)

ISO 27001 is an Information security Management System that requires organizations to implement security controls to accomplish certain objectives. The standard should be used as a model to build an Information Security Management System; it is part of an organization's system that manages networks and systems. It aims to “establish, implement, operate, monitor, review, maintain, and improve information security” commensurate with the perceived security risks to the business of the organization.

ISO 27001 is a generic standard designed for all sizes and types of organizations including governmental, non-governmental, and non-profit organizations. It requires the managing body of an organization to plan, implement, maintain, and improve an International Standard for information security; such organizations implement security controls to save their written or printed papers, stored electronic documents, confidential e-mails, audio conversations whish might be shared or stored through wireless networks and devices to help comply with the requirements of ISO 27001, an international industry standard for security.

International Standard Organizations under the publication standard ISO 27001 will make the organization to ensure that it is always protected matching to international standards

Once the certification body has all of the organisational and technical measures in place, has been operating a certification service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up, and has enabled demonstration of consistent operation can apply to ICAS for accreditation, www.icasab.com.

g) International standards for IT service management system (ITSMS-20000)

ISO/IEC 20000 is an international IT standard that allows companies to demonstrate excellence and prove best practice in IT management. The standard ensures companies can achieve evidence-based benchmarks to continuously improve their delivery of IT services. ISO/IEC 20000 was released in 2005.

The adoption of ISO/IEC 20000 has grown quite rapidly in the international arena of IT service providers and it has become a competitive differentiator for delivery of IT services.

ICAS (International Conformity for Accreditation Services) will keep the policies & active adaptations as per International Organization for Standards regularly.

Once the certification body has all of the organisational and technical measures in place, has been operating a certification service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up, and has enabled demonstration of consistent operation can apply to ICAS for accreditation, www.icasab.com.

h) Security management system for supply chain (SMSSC-ISO 28000)

Security Management System for Supply Chain refers to enhance the security of the supply chain, the transport and logistics system for the world's cargo. It combines traditional practices of supply chain management with the security requirements driven by threats such as terrorism, piracy and theft, and theft.

ISO 28000 has been developed in response to demands from industry for a standard concerning security and to improve the security of supply chains. It guides with the framework for organizations to assess the security environment in which it operates and to determine confirming the security measures are in place and other regulatory requirements are incorporated in the organizations management systems and the overall security of supply chains. It is suitable to for all sizes and types of organization.

It will increase the ability of organization in the supply chain to effectively implement mechanism that address security vulnerabilities at strategic and operational level, as well as to establish preventive action plans which can be applied by the organizations of all sizes involved in manufacturing, services, storage or transportation at any stages of production or supply chain.

ICAS (International Conformity for Accreditation Services) will keep the policies & active adaptations as per International Organization for Standards regularly.

Once the certification body has all of the organisational and technical measures in place, has been operating a certification service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up, and has enabled demonstration of consistent operation can apply to ICAS for accreditation, www.icasab.com

ii) Product certifications

In the area of product certification, ICAS accredits certification bodies who certify the quality of a product. The word “product” is used in its widest sense, and includes processes and services. The certification of such a product is a means of providing assurance that the product in question conforms to standards and/or other normative documents. Certification bodies providing product certification issue product certificates or licences to organisations, which entitles them to display a mark of conformity on their product or to issue a certificate indicating the product's conformity with specified requirements. In this way the consumer is assured that the product they are purchasing has reached a set standard. Product certification can offer the customer formal documentation that the product they have purchased has been tested by qualified personnel to the applicable codes and/or standards. Those seeking certification for their products must demonstrate that they have adequate quality control systems in place to maintain conformity of their products with the standards. How to become an Accredited Product Certification Body? A product certification body must be able to demonstrate its competence to assess and certify the products presented to it. In the case of products, the certification body must comply (originally published as ISO/IEC Guide 65; standard is still current), and its associated guideline published by IAF (International Accreditation Forum), IAF GD 5. GD 5 clarifies requirements for the certification body, and enables accreditation bodies to harmonise their application of the standard. It is available from the IAF website at http://www.iaf.nu . Once the product certification body has all of the organisational and technical measures in place, and has been operating a certification service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up, and can demonstrate that the operation is stable (typically three months minimum), it can apply to ICAS for accreditation. Further information is available at www.icasab.com. For specific queries, contact ICAS using the contact details.

iii) Personnel certification

In many areas, particularly those which are safety critical, purchaser, user and public confidence in the competence of individuals is extremely important. Personnel certification confirms the competence of named individuals to perform specified services or duties. This is achieved through the issuing of a certificate of competence.

What is Personnel Certification?

Possible examples of personnel who could be certified are:

Gas/oil fitters, welders, electricians/electrical inspectors, timber grading inspectors, emissions inspectors etc.

How to become an accredited Personnel Certification Body?

As with management system or product certification bodies, a personnel certification body must be able to demonstrate its competence to assess and certify its clients.

In this case, the personnel certification body must comply with ISO/IEC 17024, and its associated guidelines published by IAF (International Accreditation Forum), IAF GD 24. GD 24 clarifies requirements for the certification body, and enables accreditation bodies to harmonise their application of the standard. It is available from the IAF website at http://www.iaf.nu.

IS EN ISO/IEC 17024 has a number of requirements for organisational structure, quality management system elements, competence of personnel, confidentiality etc. The personnel certification body must be able to demonstrate compliance with all of these requirements.

Once the personnel certification body has all of the organisational and technical measures in place, and has been operating a certification service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up, and can demonstrate that the operation is stable (typically three months minimum), it can apply to ICAS for accreditation.

Further information is available at www.icasab.com. For specific queries, contact ICAS using the contact details.

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Sunday the 17th. INTERNATIONAL CONFORMITY ACCREDITATION SERVICES