The European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) is the Association of the national accreditation bodies that provide accreditation of the following conformity assessment activities:
- Laboratories - Testing and Medical examinations (ISO/IEC 17025, ISO 15189)
- Laboratories – Calibration (ISO/IEC 17025)
- Certification Bodies - Product certification (ISO/IEC 17065)
- Certification Bodies - Certification of persons (ISO/IEC 17024)
- Certification Bodies - Management systems certification (ISO/IEC 17021)
- Inspection (ISO/IEC 17020)
- Verification (ISO 14065)
UKAS is a full member of EA, along with other European accreditation bodies of the member states, or the candidate countries of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries. All members have to be able to demonstrate that they operate an accreditation system compatible with the applicable international standards.
The members agree common policies with regard to accreditation and work towards the mutual recognition that is achieved through membership of the EA Multilateral Recognition Agreement. They are advised by a formally constituted Advisory Board (EAAB) which is representative of the stakeholders of accreditation at the European level.
The European Accreditation Regulations
EA is formally tasked as the body responsible for the European accreditation infrastructure as set out in Regulation (EC) No 765/2008, and operates under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Commission of the European Communities and EFTA.
The Regulation provides a legal framework for the provision of accreditation services across Europe in both voluntary and regulated sectors, and places an obligation on EU Member States to accept results issued by the conformity assessment bodies accredited by any of the EA Multilateral Agreement (MLA) signatories.
Included in the legislation are requirements regarding the assessment of conformity assessment bodies applying for notification. A Notified Body, in the European Union, is a conformity assessment body that has been formally appointed by a national authority to assess whether a product, its design or its manufacture meet certain standards—usually those relating to specific European regulations or directives.