Accreditation is a formal, independent verification that a program or institution meets established quality standards and is competent to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks. Conformity assessment tasks may include, but are not limited to, testing, inspection, or certification.
Typically, governmental regulatory agencies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) require accreditation to verify the technical competence of organizations like laboratories, inspection bodies, and certification agencies.
Organizations responsible for public safety and welfare such as building departments, hospitals, schools, and police and fire departments also seek accreditation to demonstrate their competence and reliability.
Accreditation has been used for over 50 years as the definitive means of evaluating organizations and is now utilized by all the world’s major economies and many developing economies.
Webster defines accreditation as “to give trust or confidence to: to vouch for; to recommend; to furnish with credentials, as an envoy or ambassador”
According to ISO17011:2004 Accreditation means: Third–party attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific assessment tasks.
International Accreditation System (IAS) accreditation of the Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) and Further Training / Educational Institutions convey formal demonstration to carry out specific certification, inspection, registration verification/validation, assessment, testing, and calibration and Training/Educational activities. This independent assessment and recognition of Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) and Further Training / Educational Institutions may permit the accredited organizations tests, examination reports and certificates to be recognized as equivalent to organizations in other countries