What is the European Accreditation Framework?
Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 establishes the European Accreditation Infrastructure. It also establishes commitment for the EU Member States and their national accreditation bodies. The European Commission has also established the European Co-Operation for Accreditation (EA) as having responsibility for operating this European accreditation infrastructure within the EU, EFTA and candidate countries according to article 14 in Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 and especially the peer evaluation system which establishes equivalence of operations amongst all its member accreditation bodies.
EA has close relations with the various directorates in the Commission, which it supports in developing regulations. EA is a non-profit association of nationally recognised accreditation bodies.
EA is an association of national accreditation bodies in Europe that are officially recognised by their national Governments to assess and verify, against international standards, organisations that carry out evaluation services such as certification, verification, inspection, testing and calibration (also known as conformity assessment services). It is the European umbrella of accreditation bodies which ensures the acceptance of accredited certificates and reports on the European and global markets.
If a supplier is accredited by one of the members in the EA network, its customers can have confidence in the competence, independence and impartiality of its conformity assessment work.
The EA MAC (Multilateral Agreements Council) is responsible for managing the peer evaluation process, for reviewing the reports issued on the accreditation bodies and for deciding whether to accept the accreditation bodies to sign and/or remain in the EA MLA (European Accreditation Multilateral Agreement) or not. The EA MLA process is a continuous one and Accreditation Bodies are kept under surveillance through peer evaluation visits by EA appointed teams.
NAB-Malta is a full member of the EA and an EA MLA signatory in testing, calibration and inspection.
- What is the EA MLA?
- What makes the MLA sound and reliable?
- What does this mean for NAB-MALTA?
- What is the value of the EA MLA for NAB-MALTA Clients?
- What is the value of the MLA for the Regulators?
- What is the value of the EA MLA for Businesses?
- What is the value of the EA MLA for the Consumers?
What is the EA MLA?
The activities performed by European accreditation bodies are recognised through their signatory status to the EA Multilateral Agreements (EA MLA).
The EA MLA is an agreement signed between EA-member accreditation bodies to recognise and accept the equivalence of their accreditation systems. Thus it provides equal reliability of the certificates and reports issued by the organisations which EA NABs accredit.
This eliminates the need for suppliers of products and services to look for accreditation certification/testing/inspection providers in each European country where they sell their products or services.
What makes the MLA sound and reliable?
Individual EA members that are signatories to the EA MLA are National accreditation bodies are granted the EA MLA signatory status after a stringent peer evaluation of their operations to check their compliance with the internationally agreed standard for accreditation bodies, EN ISO/IEC 17011, the specific requirements of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 and any other normative documents. Peer evaluations are carried out on a regular basis by experienced staff from other national accreditation bodies. The process is observed by representatives from the European Commission, national authorities and other stakeholders in the business area.
These peer evaluations ensure consistent, harmonised accreditation practices and also facilitate the exchange of information and experience between the signatories.
What does this mean for NAB-MALTA?
This in essence means that the NAB-MALTA is recognised by its European peers as having a system which meets all the requirements of the international standard for accreditation bodies, namely ISO/IEC 17011 and Regulation (EC) No 765/008.
This also means that the level of competence of the NAB-MALTA is equivalent to that of its European peers.
What is the value of the EA MLA for NAB-MALTA clients?
Test, calibration and inspection and reports and certificates issued by conformity assessment bodies accredited by the NAB-MALTA have free circulation and acceptance internationally.
What is the value of the MLA for the Regulators?
With confidence in the conformity assessment process underpinned by accreditation, standards can be used to support a lighter touch approach to regulation, which in turn means that businesses spend less time tied up with bureaucracy.
Multilateral agreements between national accreditation bodies have helped make accreditation an internationally recognised “stamp of approval” to demonstrate compliance against agreed standards and requirements. These arrangements provide governments and regulators with a credible and robust framework on which to further develop and enhance government-to-government bilateral and multilateral international trade agreements.
The services provided by accredited bodies simplifies the procurement process by ensuring confidence as a decision-making tool and as a means for qualifying suppliers of goods and services.
It may also be used as a tool to limit costs and resources by reducing the need for regulators to employ their specialised assessment personnel and by avoiding duplication of audits.
What is the value of the EA MLA for Businesses?
The MLA ensures that businesses that depend on conformity assessment results have greater confidence because they have been generated by facilities assessed as being competent to carry out these specific activities.
As accreditation is recognised internationally, it can open doors overseas equally as well as those in the domestic market. Indeed, an increasing number of organisations in both the public and private sectors in domestic markets and overseas are specifying accredited testing, calibration, inspection or certification as a precondition to tendering for contracts.
What is the value of the EA MLA for the Consumers?
International accreditation agreements help increase the choice of goods and services available on the market and help to ensure that these meet relevant standards of quality and safety, whatever their country of origin.