EA FAQs2019-03-27T11:49:27+00:00

General FAQ

EA, the European cooperation for Accreditation is a not-for-profit association, registered in the Netherlands. It is formally appointed by the European Commission in Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 to develop and maintain a multilateral agreement of mutual recognition, the EA MLA, based on a harmonized accreditation infrastructure.

The EA MLA exists to facilitate fair trade, ensure product and service quality and reduce technical barriers to trade.

EA currently has 50 Members. The EA Members are National Accreditation Bodies in Europe that are officially recognized by their national governments to assess and verify – against international standards – organizations that carry out conformity assessment activities such as certification, verification, inspection, testing and calibration.

Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 and the standards of the ISO/IEC 17000 series provide the set of rules to be used by EA and its National Accreditation Bodies.

To get more information, visit the “About EA” and “Mutual Recognition” pages.

There is one Accreditation Body per Member State according to Regulation (EC) No 765/2008. As an authoritative body appointed by its national authorities, the Accreditation Body performs accreditation by assessing Conformity Assessment Bodies against international standards. The accreditation process determines the technical competence and integrity of organizations that offer testing, examination, validation and verification, inspection, calibration, certification and proficiency testing provision services (collectively known as conformity assessment). Accreditation operates in the public interest across all market sectors, providing a transparent and impartial assessment of these services against internationally recognized standards and other national or sectoral requirements.

Conformity Assessment Bodies carry out certification, testing, inspection, verification and calibration services, collectively known as conformity assessment activities.

An accredited body is a body that has successfully undergone accreditation. It means it has been assessed and a positive decision has been taken to grant accreditation for an agreed scope. The accredited body is entitled to use the Accreditation Body mark for the scope(s) for which it has been accredited.

Whereas there is only one AB per Member State, there may be plenty of accredited CABs in the same Member State. The EA NAB maintains a list of accredited bodies on their website. The list is also available on the EA website, “Directory of EA Members and MLA signatories” page.

Together, conformity assessment and accreditation are important parts of a nation’s quality infrastructure, along with metrology and standardization. They build confidence that goods and services, processes, management systems and the work of individuals comply with national and international standards and regulations. They also assist in the risk-management and decision-making of manufacturers and regulators.

To get more information, visit the “Accreditation” page

The EA Accreditation Body Members provide accreditation of:

  • Laboratories
    • Testing (EN ISO/IEC 17025), Medical examinations (EN ISO 15189)
    • Calibration (EN ISO/IEC 17025)
  • Inspection bodies (EN ISO/IEC 17020)
  • Certification bodies:
    • Certification of Persons (EN ISO/IEC 17024)
    • Management Systems Certification (EN ISO/IEC 17021) (quality, environment)
    • Products/Services Certification (EN ISO/IEC 17065)
  • Proficiency Testing Providers (EN ISO/IEC 17043)
  • Validation and Verification Bodies (EN ISO14065) for GHG emissions
  • Reference Materials Producers (EN ISO 17034)

These are the standards used for accreditation by the EA Members.

The official definition of conformity assessment is: “Demonstration that specified requirements relating to a product, process, system, person or body are fulfilled” (definition in EN ISO/IEC 17000:2004 Conformity assessment – Vocabulary and general principles).

Due to the ever-increasing technical complexity of industry and business, it is becoming more and more important to be able to demonstrate that what is being supplied actually meets the requirements specified or claimed. Such a demonstration is called conformity assessment. Conformity assessment can be applied to a product (including, for these purposes, a service), a process, a system, a body or persons, and includes activities such as testing, inspection and certification.

3rd-party assessment

Third-party assessment is the assessment of an organization performed by an independent body. The organization carrying out the assessment shall be independent of both supplier and customer organizations and deliver an impartial assessment.

Impartiality

In the field of accreditation, the impartiality rule requires that the Accreditation Body be impartial in making a decision on accreditation. It means that the AB shall not have any conflict of interest with the body applying for accreditation, and that the AB shall not be subject to any other pressure of a commercial or financial nature.

This is provided for in Article 8 of the European Commission’s Regulation (EC) 765/2008 relating to the “Requirements for NABs” which states “that a NAB shall be organized in such a manner as to make it independent of the CABs it assesses and of commercial pressures, and to ensure that no conflicts of interest with CABs occur.”

In practice, impartiality also means that the accreditation decision shall be made by persons different from those that conducted the assessment.

Non-profit-making principle

EA and its Accreditation Body Members shall be non-profit-making and -distributing organizations in order to meet their formal obligation to act in the public interest.

As such, accreditation must be operated under the following conditions:

  • at national level, with a recognized mandate from the government
  • with complete independence and impartiality
  • with full accountability towards all interested parties, with no single interest or group of interests predominating
  • as a non-profit-distributing service activity
  • without any competition

Cross-frontier accreditation

Cross-frontier accreditation refers to the principles for cooperation between EA Members in the accreditation process when accreditation is granted by a foreign Accreditation Body i.e. by an Accreditation Body that is not the local Accreditation Body.

According to Regulation 765/2008 and the EA Cross-Border Accreditation Policy and Procedure for Cross-Border Cooperation between EA Members (EA-2/13), each Accreditation Body should primarily provide services to its local market. However, in exceptional cases, an Accreditation Body may provide accreditation in a country or economy of another Accreditation Body. In such cases, the principle of the policy is to encourage cooperation between the foreign Accreditation Bodies and the local Accreditation Bodies, and to support local accreditation by offering the local Accreditation Bodies the opportunity to sub-contract, participate in a joint assessment or observe the assessment.

This lies in Article 7.1 of Regulation (EC) 765/2008 providing that Conformity Assessment Bodies, whether third-party or first-party/in-house bodies, are required to request accreditation by the National Accreditation Body of the Member State in which they are established.

This general rule allows for exceptions. The option for a Conformity Assessment Body to request accreditation with a National Accreditation Body in another Member State is limited to cases where:

  • there is no National Accreditation Body in its own Member State [Art. 7.1(a)]
  • the National Accreditation Body does not offer the requested accreditation service [Art. 7.1(b)]
  • the National Accreditation Body has not received a positive outcome in the peer evaluation in relation to the conformity assessment activity for which accreditation is requested [Article 7.1(c)]

Art. 7.1 Regulation (EC) 765/2008 is a logical consequence of the non-competition principle embodied in Article 6 of the same Regulation. It is important to prevent Conformity Assessment Bodies from shopping around for accreditation certificates, thus creating a “market for accreditation” leading to the commercialization of accreditation which jeopardizes the added value and role of accreditation as a public authority activity and last level of control in the conformity assessment chain.

Information on the categories of membership of EA (Full vs Associate Members) and the associated criteria to be fulfilled is available on the “Criteria for membership/EA Members” page. Only National Accreditation Bodies appointed in their economy or country by the national authorities are entitled to apply for EA membership.

The Application procedure is set out in EA-0/07 Procedure for application for EA membership and application form.

To find further information about EA’s membership, read EA-1/17 S1 EA Rules of procedure and visit the “Criteria for membership” / EA Member” page

To become an EA MLA signatory, you need first to be an EA Member.

The complete list of criteria is available in EA-1/06 EA Multilateral Agreement – Criteria for signing – Policy and procedure for development.

How to apply for EA MLA signatory status is spelled out in EA-2/02 Procedure for the evaluation of a National Accreditation Body. Section 2 of the document describes the Requirements to be fulfilled by a National Accreditation Body.

To find further information about EA’s membership, visit the “Criteria for membership / EA MLA Signatory” page

The mark of an EA MLA signatory on certificates and reports issued by accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies acts as a “passport to trade”. The confidence this accreditation brings eliminates the need for suppliers to be certified in each country in which they sell their products or services, and therefore provides the framework for goods and services to cross borders in Europe and throughout the world.

Five steps to check the reliability of a certificate or a report:

  1. Check that there is an accreditation mark on the report or certificate.
  2. Check that the accreditation mark is of an Accreditation Body signatory to the EA, ILAC or IAF MLA.
  3. Check that your supplier is accredited for the competence, the tests and the results you need.
  4. Check that the tests have been carried out against international standards. Alternatively, check that the standards and methods used can be accepted in the country of destination.
  5. In case of problems, contact the National Accreditation Body.

It is possible to ascertain whether the National Accreditation Body is a signatory for the scope by checking the Directory of EA MLA signatories.

EA does not accredit. It is an organization of Accreditation Bodies involved in the accreditation of laboratories and certification and inspection bodies. It is these Accreditation Bodies that accredit. EA assesses it Accreditation Body Members for them to become or remain a signatory to the EA MLA.

You should contact your National Accreditation Body to apply for accreditation.

To find the Accreditation Body in your country, visit the “Directory of EA Members and MLA Signatories” page

EA itself does not undertake any calibration, testing, certification, inspection or verification activities and therefore does not issue any reports.

Testing, calibration, certification, inspection and verification are conformity assessment services performed by Conformity Assessment Bodies, laboratories or inspection, verification or certification bodies.

To find an accredited CAB, visit the “Directory of EA Members and MLA Signatories” page and search for the National Accreditation Body and the scope you are interested in.

EA is not an Accreditation Body.

To find the Accreditation Body in your country, visit the “Directory of EA Members and MLA Signatories” page

There is no centralized database to find an accredited laboratory or inspection /certification / verification body.

However, to get further information, visit the EA website, “Directory of EA Members and MLA Signatories” page and:

  • Select the country or the National Accreditation Body related to your assessment;
  • Look for the Activities sub-section and then for the scope you are interested in;
  • Click on the scope and you will be redirected to the NAB online CAB directory.

To confirm the validity of reports from Conformity Assessment Bodies, you should refer in the first instance to the Body that issued the report.

The certificate shall bear the accreditation mark of the Accreditation Body that accredited the Conformity Assessment Body.

Then you must check that the Accreditation Body is a signatory to the EA MLA for the activity you are interested in. For instance, if you need a test report covered by accreditation and the EA MLA, you should check that the report contains a reference to accreditation, an accreditation mark, and an accreditation number; you should also check that the Accreditation Body that granted accreditation is a signatory to the EA MLA for testing.

To find the Accreditation Body, visit the “Directory of EA Members and MLA Signatories” page

If the certificate is issued under the organization’s scope of accreditation then the certificate should be recognized in those countries whose National Accreditation Bodies are signatory to the EAIAF & ILAC multilateral agreement. Details of these agreements on “The EA MLA” page.

The mark of an EA MLA signatory on certificates and reports issued by accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies acts as a “passport to trade”. The confidence this accreditation brings eliminates the need for suppliers to be certified in each country in which they sell their products or services, and therefore provides the framework for goods and services to cross borders in Europe and throughout the world.

Five steps to check the reliability of a certificate or a report:

  1. Check that there is an accreditation mark on the report or certificate.
  2. Check that the accreditation mark is of an Accreditation Body signatory to the EA, ILAC or IAF MLA.
  3. Check that your supplier is accredited for the competence, the tests and the results you need.
  4. Check that the tests have been carried out against international standards. Alternatively, check that the standards and methods used can be accepted in the country of destination.
  5. In case of problems, contact the National Accreditation Body.

It is possible to ascertain whether the National Accreditation Body is a signatory for the scope by checking the directory of EA MLA signatories.

To find the Accreditation Body in the country you want to export to, visit the “Directory of EA Members and MLA Signatories” page

Yes but under specific conditions.

According to Regulation (EC) 765/2008 and EA-2/13 EA Cross-Border Accreditation Policy and Procedure for Cross-Border Cooperation between EA Members, each Accreditation Body should primarily provide services to its local market. However, in exceptional cases, an Accreditation Body may provide accreditation in a country or economy of another Accreditation Body. In such cases, the principle of the policy is to encourage cooperation between the foreign Accreditation Body and the local Accreditation Body, and to support local accreditation by offering the local Accreditation Body the opportunity to sub-contract, participate in a joint assessment or observe the assessment.

This lies in Article 7.1 of Regulation (EC) 765/2008 providing that Conformity Assessment Bodies, whether third-party or first-party/in-house bodies, are required to request accreditation by the National Accreditation Body of the Member State in which they are established.

This general rule allows for exceptions. The option for a Conformity Assessment Body to request accreditation with a NAB in another Member State is limited to cases where:

  • there is no NAB in its own Member State [Art. 7.1(a)]
  • the NAB does not offer the requested accreditation service [Art. 7.1(b)]
  • the NAB has not received a positive outcome in the peer evaluation in relation to the conformity assessment activity for which accreditation is requested [Article 7.1(c)]

Art. 7.1 Regulation (EC) 765/2008 is a consequence of the non-competition principle embodied in Article 6 of the same Regulation. It is important to prevent Conformity Assessment Bodies from shopping around for accreditation certificates, thus creating a “market for accreditation” leading to the commercialization of accreditation which jeopardizes the added value and role of accreditation as a public authority activity and last level of control in the conformity assessment chain.

Complaints shall first be lodged with the Accreditation Body that accredited the Conformity Assessment Body in question.

It is only when the complaint process at NAB level has been exhausted that EA will consider a complaint at EA level.

Complaints and appeals received may concern decisions and activities of EA or EA Members, or Conformity Assessment Bodies accredited by EA Members.

All complaints must be addressed in writing in English to the EA Secretariat by email (secretariat@european-accreditation.org) or ground mail (European co-operation for Accreditation -75 avenue Parmentier 75011 Paris – France).

EA considers all complaints and appeals as a possible opportunity to improve its services and implement corrective and preventive action measures.

For further information, read EA-1/17 S3 A: 2018 EA Procedure For the investigation and Resolution of Complaints and Appeals

Complaints and appeals received may concern decisions and activities of EA or EA Members, or Conformity Assessment Bodies accredited by EA Members.

All complaints must be addressed in writing in English to the EA Secretariat by email (secretariat@european-accreditation.org) or ground mail (European co-operation for Accreditation – 75 avenue Parmentier 75011 Paris – France).

EA considers all complaints and appeals as a possible opportunity to improve its services and implement corrective and preventive action measures.

For further information, read EA-1/17 S3 A: 2018 EA Procedure For the investigation and Resolution of Complaints and Appeals

You can find consolidated results on the “Activity” page (Mutual recognition / peer-evaluation section) of the EA website.

Detailed results for each EA NAB Member will be made public starting in early 2019.

Please contact your National Accreditation Body for more information; visit the “Directory of EA Members and MLA Signatories” page

For further details, contact Amandine Combe – Marketing & Communications Manager (amandine.combe@european-accreditation.org)

EA’s logo is not a registered trademark and cannot be used on reports or certificates.

Its use is restricted to EA itself, EA Accreditation Body Members and Recognized Stakeholder Members under specific conditions.

Rules for use of the EA logo are set out in EA-1/19 Rules for use of EA logo and Graphic specifications. If misuse is detected, EA is entitled to and will take appropriate action up to and including legal action.

For further information, read EA-1/19 Rules for use of EA logo and Graphic specifications

Use of EA logo is restricted. The following bodies may use the logo without prior authorization; the logo shall be used in connection with official EA activities:

  • The EA Secretariat
  • Members of the EA Executive Committee
  • Secretaries of official EA committees and working groups (a list of these is maintained by the EA Secretariat)

All other potential users of the EA logo including EA Members must seek and gain permission from the EA Secretariat before using the EA logo. They shall make a request in writing to the Secretariat briefly setting out the details of the proposed use and providing a template showing the intended use.

Any suspension or termination of EA membership revokes this permission.

If misuse is detected, EA is entitled to and will take appropriate action up to and including legal action.

For further information, read EA-1/19 Rules for use of EA logo and Graphic specifications

EA encourages the use of its publications and communications materials.

EA’s publications and brochures may be printed or distributed in full without need for formal permission from EA.

Organizations seeking permission to translate EA publications must contact the EA Secretariat. The request for permission should clearly detail:

  • the EA publication, or part thereof, for which permission is sought;
  • where the translated material will appear and what it will be used for;
  • any other background information that may assist EA in granting permission.

The translated document must contain a statement acknowledging EA’s ownership and copyright.

For further details, contact Amandine Combe – Marketing & Communications Manager (amandine.combe@european-accreditation.org)

EA offers training courses for its Members only.

EA Accreditation Body Members develop training programs. You can contact them directly or consult their websites.

To find the relevant Accreditation Body, visit the “Directory of EA Members and MLA Signatories” page

Accreditation is a decision made by the Accreditation Body.
Notification is a decision made by the national authorities in the Member States.

Accreditation is the technical basis used by national authorities to notify a Conformity Assessment Body.

The European Commission maintains the NANDO website which lists all notified organizations across Europe.