The accreditation process consists of various steps. We make a distinction between the application for a new accreditation, the maintenance of an existing accreditation and extending the scope of an existing accreditation.
The following describes the accreditation process from the application to decision:
Application for accreditation is made on an application form that is sent to EAF along with other documents requested in the form.
In the application, the customer areas is set, industries or methods that you want to be accredited for.
EAF confirms that the application has been received and checks that it is complete. Based on the scope of accreditation, EAF provides information regarding the fee and makes suggestions for an assessment leader, assessment team and a rough plan for the assignment. EAF´s aim is to send a cost estimate within 4 weeks after complete documentation for the application are received. The customer accepts the fee and any external assessment leader.
EAF plans the accreditation assignment in consultation with the customer and engages any experts.
On-site assessment is performed by a lead assessor, sometimes along with additional internal or external assessors. The assessment includes the client’s organisational management, equipment and competence of the management and staff.
For accreditation of laboratories and certain inspection bodies, the assessment is completed with proficiency testing and calibrations.
In some forms of accreditation, EAF participates as an observer while the accredited body work with its customers.
EAF´s aim is to carry out on-site assessment within 12 weeks after the customer has accepted the fee and complete documentation is available.
The assessment concludes with EAF representatives describing how EAF looks at the activity and describes any deviations from the requirements. The assessment is documented in a report.
Any deviations from the requirements should be remedied by the customer within 4 months. EAF takes a position as to whether the measures can be accepted. In the event of serious or extensive shortcomings, a return visit may be necessary. When all the deviations have been corrected, the assessment leader recommends accreditation.
Decisions on accreditation shall be notified within two months of the submission of necessary documentation to EAF. It also mentions what is meant by necessary documentation. The processing time can be extended by up to one month on no more than one occasion, if necessary due to investigation of the accreditation case.
The decision on accreditation is taken by a competent head of department. Accreditation is not limited in time but applies continuously, provided that the requirements are met.
The decision is sent to the organisation together with an accreditation certificate.
About six months after accreditation was granted an additional inspection visit takes place to check that the accredited activities have started according to plan.
An accreditation decision is always followed up by regular visits, initially once a year. The aim is to determine whether the activity continues to meet the requirements. The cost for surveillance is charged in the form of an annual fee.
A comprehensive evaluation is made every four years, called a reassessment. After the first reassessment, the surveillance range is extended for most areas of accreditation to 16 months, providing that everything is working fine.
At surveillance/reassessment, any deviations from the requirements shall be resolved by the customer within two months.