Accreditation is a third-party attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks (definition according to EN ISO/IEC 17000).
Accreditation provides confidence in the value and credibility of the various types of conformity assessment and represents the last level of control of the validity of conformity assessment services in both voluntary and regulated areas.
The European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) is the network of the national accreditation bodies in Europe.
The EC Regulation N. 765/2008 on accreditation and market surveillance of 9 July 2008 establishes a new legal framework for accreditation, which will apply from 1 January 2010. It also recognizes EA as the official European accreditation infrastructure.
Accreditation is not an obligation for a conformity assessment body to be eligible for notification, but it is the preferred way.
EA works closely together with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).