The role of Proficiency Testing Providers (PTPs) is an important part of conformity assessment and of the Quality Infrastructure. The services they provide are vital in helping laboratories and, where applicable, inspection bodies demonstrate the validity of the results that they produce. In recognition of this, accreditation bodies started to develop accreditation of PTPs over the last 1 – 2 decades, with UKAS granting its first accreditations to PTPs in 2002. As accreditation of PTPs grew, the call for international recognition of these accreditations through mutual recognition agreements also grew, resulting in the European cooperation for Accreditation (EA) launching its multilateral agreement in April 2017: UKAS being amongst the first tranche of signatories.
The International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) has also been developing its own mutual recognition agreement, which formally launched during the ILAC General Assembly in Frankfurt on 29th October 2019. UKAS was one of 33 accreditation bodies from around the world that became signatories to this agreement, which brings enhanced global recognition to the 35 PTPs that hold UKAS accreditation for this activity under ISO/IEC 17043:2010.