The European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) thoroughly evaluated Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS) from 21 to 25 January 2019. The EA team, consisting of representatives of European accreditation bodies, assessed SAS' activities at its Bern location and accompanied SAS assessment teams during assessments of conformity assessment bodies (CAB) all over Switzerland. The SAS achieved an overall good mark for its seventh international evaluations.
The SAS assesses and accredits CAB on the basis of international standards and technical specifications. The accreditation aims to increase trust in the competence and services of the accredited CAB around the world.
As a national accreditation body and members of the EA, the SAS undergoes regular peer evaluations, in other words an evaluation amongst equals. The last evaluation of this kind before this most recent one took place in 2015. This assessment is based on substantiated and transparent assessment criteria and methods and is binding for the so-called "signatory status" as part of multilateral agreements (multilateral agreements, MLA, and multilateral recognition arrangements, MRA) by the EA, International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and International Accreditation Forum (IAF).
It is checked if the national accreditation body meets the requirements of the international standard EN ISO/IEC 17011 "General requirements for accreditation services which accredit conformity assessment bodies" and the binding documents by the EA, ILAC and IAF and applies these in its own accreditation system. This specifically affects requirements for aspects such as management systems, personnel resources and their professional competences, the order-specific use of external experts, the performance of evaluations and related reporting, the coverage of all elements of a standard and technical areas of applicability, and the decision-making process regarding the accreditation process of the national accreditation body.
The SAS once again successfully completed this evaluation process in practice. Thus, the multilateral agreements in the areas of calibrations, tests, medical examinations, and the certification of products, persons and management systems remain valid.
This will ensure again the acknowledgement of national accreditation systems and resulting conformity assessment services. The reports and certificates from accredited CAB are recognised globally, which promotes trust in the quality of the respective products and services. The MLA and MRA of the EA, ILAC and IAF therefore make a major contribution to reducing technical barriers to trade. However, this requires standardised and traceable methods within the corresponding national accreditation systems and a regular certification by independent and impartial third parties as part of peer evaluations.