This page describes how UKAS interacts with other national accreditation bodies, to ensure that the certificates and reports of UKAS accredited organisations are widely accepted. Details are given of the agreements that UKAS has: within Europe through European cooperation for Accreditation (EA), internationally through International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and International Accreditation Forum (IAF).
It is UKAS policy to negotiate agreements with other national accreditation bodies through the international and regional accreditation networks. These agreements recognise the equivalence of the accreditation granted in the countries concerned and are referred to as Multilateral Agreements or Arrangements. Each signatory promises to:
The result of this recognition is that parties such as purchasers, regulators and insurers who might have insisted on results accredited by their own national accreditation system, are influenced to accept results from other accredited sources. This facilitates the international acceptance of goods traded across borders and supports intergovernmental trade agreements. It also enables accredited bodies to accept results from bodies accredited by any signatory member. For example, when evidence of competence and traceability of calibration or testing is required by an accreditation body, the laboratory may rely on accredited certificates from laboratories accredited by any of the signatories.
The Agreements have been reached as a result of a formal detailed evaluation of each of the accreditation body's policies and procedures, the criteria used and observation of assessment and surveillance visits. These evaluations are performed by a team of experts in the relevant area of accreditation.
Mutual recognition agreements between countries that are not members of the EA and the EA MLA, also operate on a bilateral basis. Each country is required to sign a contract of cooperation with EA and is evaluated in the manner as is the EA signatories.
For up to date information on MLA Signatories, please visit the following websites:
Laboratories that are accredited by an Accreditation Body which is a signatory of the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement, or a regional Multilateral Recognition agreement in the field of testing or calibration, may state this on certificates and reports in the appropriate language.
The suggested wording for UKAS laboratories is: The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is one of the signatories to the International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (ILAC) Arrangement for the mutual recognition of [test reports] [calibration certificates].
As a signatory to the IAF MLA, UKAS is permitted by IAF to authorise the certification bodies it accredits to include reference to UKAS's membership of the IAF MLA, along with the UKAS accreditation mark for quality management systems certification.
The reference must take the form of one or other of the following statements and may only be used in conjunction with the UKAS accreditation mark, where the certification body is allowed to use this according to the conditions for the use of the UKAS marks:
Either - Accredited by Member of the International Accreditation Forum Multilateral Recognition Arrangement for Quality Management Systems
Or - Accredited by Member of the IAF MLA for QMS.