What is accreditation?

Consumers want to have confidence in the goods and services they buy and use. Accreditation exists to give that confidence.

How is this possible?

Products are manufactured and food is supplied in conformity with specific quality, security or safety requirements.

Laboratories or certifiers check and confirm that conformity.

Reports and certificates that go with products or services can be trusted readily when they are issued by accredited laboratories or certifiers.

Accreditation is indeed the proof that the laboratory or certifier is:

  • impartial and independent from the manufacturer or supplier;
  • competent, to do its job in a sustainable manner.

Confidence in the products and services, irrespective of where they come from, is based on accreditation thanks to the existing multilateral agreements signed by National Accreditation Bodies (NAB) in Europe and at worldwide level.

When signatories recognize that the accreditation they deliver can be trusted equally, it means that products do not need to be re-tested or re-certified on every new market: tested once, certified once by an accredited lab or certifier means acceptable everywhere!

Through accreditation and harmonized application of standards, consumers can therefore have confidence in the products and services they purchase on the European market.

Benefits and value

Here are a few examples to illustrate how accreditation positively impacts your day-to-day life:

Ensuring the effective use of CCTV (remote surveillance) through accredited certification

The UK Government has introduced a surveillance camera code of practice that contains 12 guiding principles to ensure and demonstrate to communities that cameras are only ever used proportionately, transparently and effectively by the relevant authorities (police, police crime commissioners, local authorities and non-regular police forces). Accredited third-party certification enables organizations to clearly demonstrate that they comply with the surveillance camera code of practice. Certification indicates best practice and compliance with the code.

Residential Care Home inspection

Accredited inspection for residential care homes raises standards, resulting in improved social care, and provides independent affirmation that the care provider is compliant with the rigorous standards used by the accredited inspection body.

Inspection bodies are assessed against the internationally recognized inspection standard EN ISO/IEC 17020 to carry out inspections of social care providers.

The inspections focus on competence, impartiality and performance capability to assure patients and their families of the high quality of care provided by residential care homes.

Microgeneration for the home

Consumers seeking reassurance on the suitability of renewable energy products and installers can take confidence from accreditation. Products such as wind turbines or PPV Solar panels are tested in an accredited laboratory to measure performance, durability, safety and environmentally friendly considerations. Installation companies gain accredited certification to demonstrate compliance.

How accreditation works?

National Accreditation Bodies (NAB) perform assessments of laboratories and certification, verification or inspection bodies (the generic term for these bodies is Conformity Assessment Bodies) in order to confirm their technical competence and impartiality.


  • delivers the objective proof that conformity assessment activities are provided by competent services suppliers;
  • helps to ensure that products and services marketed in Europe meet relevant standards of quality and safety.

Accreditation increases the range of safe goods and services available on the market.


Here you will find some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).  If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please contact us.

If you detect that a product does not have the quality characteristics claimed and marketed, you should complain to the manufacturer first. You may also contact the certification body or laboratory that certified or tested the product. Their name will appear on the product or its packaging or on the manufacturer’s website.

For other issues related to application of law and a breach of law, you should contact the relevant ministry or governmental body in charge in your country.

Further information is available on the European Commission’s website:

About Accreditation of Conformity Assessment Bodies : https://ec.europa.eu/growth/single-market/goods/building-blocks/accreditation_en

About Notified Bodies : https://ec.europa.eu/growth/single-market/goods/building-blocks/notified-bodies_en

About Harmonized Standards : https://ec.europa.eu/growth/single-market/european-standards/harmonised-standards_en

Presumption of proof that a product complies with regulatory requirements
A harmonized standard is a European standard developed by a recognized European Standards Organization: CEN, CENELEC, or ETSI. It is created following a request from the European Commission to one of these organizations. Manufacturers, other economic operators, or Conformity Assessment Bodies can use harmonized standards to demonstrate that products, services, or processes comply with relevant EU legislation.

The references of harmonized standards must be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The purpose of this website is to provide access to the latest lists of references of harmonized standards and other European standards published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).