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1. How can I know if a company/organisation is accredited?

To check if a company/organisation is accredited by the NAB-MALTA you need to check the list of accredited organisations available from this website. It is not enough to check that the company/organisation is accredited. It is very important to check the scope of accreditation to ensure that the company/organisation is accredited for the specific activities you are looking for.

The list also provides contact details and location of the accredited conformity assessment bodies.

2. If a company/organisation is listed on the register, does it mean all of its services are accredited?

No, a company/organisation is accredited for specific activities (e.g. specific test methods, specific calibration methods, specific inspection activities) as defined in the accreditation scope available here. The accreditation process specifically checks and assesses these activities; however it does not check or assess the technical competence of the company/organisation in other activities which the same company/organisation may perform and which are not subject to accreditation.

3(A). How can I check if an accredited company/organisation is accredited for the scope ofactivity I need? What is the scope of accreditation?

The scope of accreditation is an official list issued by the accreditation body which defines the particular activities (e.g. particular tests) for which the company/organisation is fulfilling the requirements of the relevant accreditation standard (e.g. EN ISO/IEC 17025).  The organisation is only assessed by the accreditation body for that scope of accreditation and not for any other activities the organisation/company may be performing.

Log onto the NAB-MALTA website, and search the list of Accredited Organisations. To review the scope of activities that the company/organisation is accredited for, click on the PDF of its “Scope of Accreditation”.

3(B). I cannot find the expiry date of the accreditation certificate. How will I know that  accreditation is still valid?

The NAB-MALTA accreditation certificates do not have expiry dates. Question 1 in this list explains how to check whether a company or organisation is still accredited. If the organisation is not on the list of accredited CABs, then its accreditation is either suspended or it has been withdrawn.

4. Is there a difference between accreditation and certification?

There are important and critical differences between these two seemingly similar terms.

Accreditation is the formal recognition of competence and integrity to perform testing, calibration, inspection and certification services (these are collectively known as “conformity assessment activities”). Accreditation covers both the management system and the technical capabilities of a company/organisation.

Certification involves ensuring conformity with a given standard, e.g. a management system or a product. It does not cover technical competence.

5. Is it correct to say that a company/organisation is accredited to ISO 9001?

No, a company cannot be accredited to ISO 9001.

ISO 9001 is the result of a certification activity. A company can claim that it has been certified to ISO 9001. ISO 9001 does not contain the element of technical competence and therefore, a company cannot be accredited against the standard but can be certified against it.

Users of ISO 9001 certified companies should make sure that certification has been granted by a certification body which has been accredited by a recognised national accreditation body.

6. Does it make a difference if a laboratory has ISO 9001 certification or EN ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation?

Yes, there is a significant difference.

If a laboratory is ISO 9001 certified, then this only means that the laboratory has a management system in place for that scope.

On the other hand, if the laboratory is EN ISO/IEC 17025 accredited for a particular scope then the laboratory does not only have a controlled quality management system but, more importantly, its technical competence for that particular scope has also been checked and assessed.

7. What if we are requested to have ISO 9001?

Companies/Organisations which are accredited to an ISO 17### standard for a particular scope, are also using a management system for that same scope which is in line with the principles of ISO 9001.

The ISO, ILAC and IAF have issued a communication to clarify this as follows for laboratories

A laboratory’s fulfillment of the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025 means the laboratory meets both the technical competence requirements and management system requirements that are necessary for it to consistently deliver technically valid test results and calibrations. The management system requirements in ISO/IEC 17025 are written in language relevant to laboratory operations and operate generally in accordance with the principles of ISO 9001.

A same communication has been issued for inspection bodies:

An inspection body’s fulfilment of the requirements of ISO/IEC 17020:2012 means the Inspection body meets both the technical competence requirements and management system requirements that are necessary for it to consistently deliver technically valid inspection results. The management system requirements in ISO/IEC 17020:2012 (Section 8) are written in language relevant to inspection body operations and are aligned with the pertinent requirements of ISO 9001.

8. How can my company/organisation be accredited?

It is first recommended to hold a meeting with the NAB-MALTA during which we explain the accreditation process requirements and guide you to the documents that need to be followed.

9. What are the fees involved to become accredited?

Fees are presently calculated on a case-by-case basis, depending on the nature of the scope of accreditation.

The fees incurred will be based on the assessment effort i.e. depending on the complexity of scope of accreditation being sought. This will reflect on the number of assessors and time on site. These fees include not just the time the assessment team spent on-site, but also office time and costs of travel.

Until the NAB-MALTA receives the application for accreditation which details the size of your operation, it is very difficult to provide you with an accurate estimate of the cost to become accredited.

10. How long does it take to become accredited?

The accreditation process can take up to 18 months from receipt of application to award of accreditation. This depends on various factors including the level of preparedness of the applicant company/organisation and its responsiveness to any findings and improvement actions raised.

11. What documents and forms do I need to fill in to become accredited?

All applicants are required to fill in the relevant application form and submit the requested documents. Regulations, guidance, policy and mandatory documents should be read as part of the application process. All documents and forms are available on the NAB-MALTA Website.

12. If I am a one man company/organisation, can the company/organisation still be
accredited? Or does there have to be a minimum amount of employees?

Accreditation is awarded to a company/organisation based on its ability to demonstrate that it is competent and impartial and that it complies with the criteria in the relevant international and European standards and other normative documents. There is no minimum requirement.

Accreditation may only be granted to registered companies. Self-employed persons and individuals cannot be accredited.

13. My company/organisation is registered in Malta. Can I become accredited with an
accreditation body other than the NAB-MALTA?

Under the European Regulation Regulation (EU) No 765/2008 which came into effect on 1st January 2010, you may only apply for accreditation with the national accreditation body of the Member State. In the case of Malta, this is the NAB-MALTA.

14. If a company/organisation has resigned/withdrawn its accreditation with the NAB-MALTA does that mean the certificate is not valid or recognised, even though it was issued when
they were accredited?

Accredited test or calibration or inspection certificates/reports issued by a laboratory or inspection body are valid if the laboratory or inspection body is accredited at the time of the testing/calibration/inspection.

Accredited certificates issued by a certification body are only valid within 3 months of the date of withdrawal of the certification body from the NAB-MALTA programme.

15. What if an organisation is not accredited by the NAB-MALTA, but by another Accreditation Body?

The NAB-MALTA is the national signatory, along with other nationally recognised accreditation bodies world-wide, to multilateral agreements for the purposes of mutual recognition through the European Co-operation for Accreditation (EA). Those bodies that are signatory to these agreements are deemed to be equivalent having undergone stringent peer evaluations.

The EA website gives information about the organisations and details of the accreditation bodies that are signatories to their Multilateral / Mutual Recognition agreements.

If your certificate is from a body that is a signatory to one of the above multi-lateral agreements, then the certificate you have is deemed equivalent to one issued by an NAB-MALTA-accredited body, and the certificate should be recognised in those countries whose national accreditation bodies are signatory to the EA multilateral agreements or ILAC/IAF mutual recognition agreements.

16. How can I know whether a company/organisation has applied for accreditation?

The NAB-MALTA is unable to provide information regarding applicants due to reasons of commercial confidentiality. You should speak to the company/organisation to determine whether they are in the process as some companies/organisations using such statements as “working towards becoming accredited” are not always actively pursuing an application.

If you believe any such claims are not true than you should report this to the Consumers Office of the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority.

17. What if a laboratory claims that it is “EN ISO/IEC 17025 compliant”?

Such a statement is simply a self-declaration.

As long as the laboratory cannot demonstrate a certificate of accreditation, then this laboratory is not accredited.

18. If I have concerns about the activities of the NAB-MALTA or of an NAB-MALTA accredited
organisation, how can I register a complaint with the NAB-MALTA?

We are committed to providing a world class, value adding accreditation service and aim to maintain the highest standards in all our dealings with our customers, third parties and stakeholders. However, we recognise that on occasion it may be necessary for our customers, or those using accredited services to raise a complaint with us. If you are a third party who has concerns about the activities of an NAB-MALTA accredited company/organisation, or you are a direct customer of the NAB-MALTA who is unhappy with our service, then we want to hear about it. Please contact us either by email at info@nabmalta.org.mt or by telephone +35623952510.

19. How can I lodge an appeal with the NAB-MALTA?

An applicant or accredited conformity assessment body may lodge an appeal for reconsideration of any adverse accreditation decision taken in relation to its desired accreditation status. An accreditation decision means a decision on granting, maintaining, extending, reducing, suspending and withdrawing accreditation. To lodge an appeal, this must be submitted in writing within two weeks of the date of the decision to: The Director, NAB-MALTA, Mizzi House, 1st Floor, National Road, Blata l-Bajda, HMR9010 Malta.

20. Can the NAB-MALTA recommend accredited companies/organisations?

As Malta’s national accreditation body, the NAB-MALTA has to be impartial and therefore unfortunately we cannot recommend one accredited company/organisation over another. All NAB-MALTA accredited companies/organisations are subject to rigorous and regular assessments  for compliance with the relevant International standard for which they are accredited and the technical scope included on their scope of accreditation. Their scope of accreditation will only appear on the NAB-MALTA website if they continue to meet the requirements of the international standard to which they are accredited.
The presence of the companies/organisations’ scope of accreditation on our website provides assurance and confidence to procurers. The absence of a scope of accreditation on the NAB-MALTA website indicates that the accreditation is no longer in force.

21. Which companies are Notified Bodies?

The NAB-MALTA is not responsible for the notification process. This is the responsibility of the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority. The European Commission has a website known as the  NANDO website which confirms all notified organisations across Europe.