Product certification bodies, like inspection bodies, determine whether something meets the requirements. This can concern products, services or processes. A major difference is that they do not just inspect a single sample or a single batch but they also inspect the company. They therefore go a step further: their assessment also applies to the subsequent products, services or processes that are not checked by them. Does a batch of brisk meet the specified requirements for example? And can we trust that the next batch is produced in the same way? If the answer is positive the manufacturer can use the relevant mark. A product certifying body continues to provide ongoing supervision.
If laboratory tests or inspections are required certification bodies can use the services of accredited laboratories or inspection bodies. Certification bodies who undertake calibrations, tests or inspections themselves have to meet the requirements for laboratories or inspection bodies. Where applicable they also have to participate in proficiency testing. The RvA accredits product certification bodies on the basis of the ISO/IEC 17065 standard.
You can use the search engine or consult the list of accredited bodies to find details of all product certification bodies accredited by the RvA. Policy document BR010 describes the various fields of work relating to certification.
Product certification is often confused with management system certification. The question is: what is being assessed? Product certification is about assessing a product, service or process. Management system certification is about assessing and organisation’s management system. In the latter case no statement is therefore issued as to whether an organisation’s products, services or processes meet the specified requirements.