IAF (International Accreditation Forum)
IAF is the world association of Conformity Assessment Accreditation Bodies and other bodies interested in conformity assessment in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment. Its primary function is to develop a single worldwide program of conformity assessment which reduces risk for business and its customers by assuring them that accredited certificates may be relied upon. Accreditation assures users of the competence and impartiality of the body accredited. IAF members accredit certification or registration bodies that issue certificates attesting that an organisation's management, products or personnel comply with a specified standard (called conformity assessment).
The primary purpose of IAF is two-fold. Firstly, to ensure that its accreditation body members only accredit bodies that are competent to do the work they undertake and are not subject to conflicts of interest. The second purpose of IAF is to establish mutual recognition arrangements, known as Multilateral Recognition Arrangements(MLA), between its accreditation body members which reduces risk to business and its customers by ensuring that an accredited certificate may be relied upon anywhere in the world. IAF works to find the most effective way of achieving a single system that will allow companies with an accredited conformity assessment certificate in one part of the world, to have that certificate recognized elsewhere in the world.
APAC (Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation)
Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation(APAC) is an association of accreditation bodies and other interested parties whose objective is to facilitate trade and commerce among economies in the Asia Pacific region. Its ultimate objective is the creation of a global system that grants international recognition of certification or registration of management systems, products, services, personnel and other programmes of conformity assessment.
APAC promotes the international acceptance of accreditations granted by its accreditation body members, based on the equivalence of their accreditation programmes. And it operates within the framework of International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and in cooperation with other regional groups of accreditation bodies around the world.
MLA(Multilateral Recognition Arrangement)
The mechanism by which IAF implements its objective is the IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA). Accreditation body members of IAF are admitted to the MLA only after a most stringent evaluation of their operations by a peer evaluation team which is charged to ensure that the applicant member complies fully with both the international standards and IAF requirements. Once an accreditation body is a member of the MLA it is required to recognize the certificates issued by certification/registration bodies accredited by all other members of the MLA.
IAF has granted Special Recognition to two Regional Accreditation Groups, the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) and the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC), on the basis of the acceptance of the mutual recognition arrangements established within these organizations. Membership of the IAF MLA is recognized as being satisfied by membership of either the EA MLA or the PAC MLA and IAF members who are also signatories of these regional MLAs are automatically accepted into the IAF MLA. Special Recognition was granted to the Interamerican Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC) for the Quality Management Systems (QMS) MLA at the IAF Annual Meetings held in Cancun, Mexico in November 2006.
IAF is encouraging more of its members to join the MLA, as soon as they have passed a rigorous evaluation process, to ensure that their accreditation programs are of world standard.
The consequence of joining the IAF MLA is that ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 conformity assessment certificates issued by certification/registration bodies accredited by any one of the members of the MLA will be recognized in the world wide IAF program.
Contact details of the accreditation bodies which are signatories to the MLA are listed on the IAF Members pages on the IAF website(www.iaf.nu).
|QMS, EMS, FSMS, (Person)
Use of IAF MLA Mark