All member states of the European Union have the possibility of appointing a national accreditation body. This is laid down in European Regulation 765/2008. The RvA has been appointed by the Dutch government in order to fulfil this role.
Once every four years national accreditation bodies subject each other to intensive assessments, known as peer reviews. A peer review is undertaken by colleagues from other European accreditation bodies. They check whether the body to be assessed meets the specified criteria and use international standard ISO/IEC 17011 and European Regulation 765/2008 as guidelines during that process.
The peer reviews act as a guarantee for the expertise, impartiality and independence of national accreditation bodies. Each year the RvA is involved in various peer reviews in other European member states. The RvA itself was assessed at the beginning of 2014. Download the full report of that assessment.
All European accreditation bodies are members of the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA). The EA’s task is to organise the peer reviews and to promote harmonisation between the members. The RvA actively participates in various EA committees and the EA board.
Because of this worldwide recognition all statements of conformity issued under European accreditation have the same status. An accreditation issued in our country is therefore accepted in all other European member states. This promotes free trade. For example, it means that suppliers of products and services do not need to apply for a certificate in each member state.
The RvA is a member of the EA (European co-operation for Accreditation).
On an international level there are two coordinating organisations that promote harmonisation between countries and regions:
A national accreditation body can be a member of both coordinating organisations. The RvA is a co-signatory to the ILAC and IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangements. Statements of conformity issued by bodies accredited by the RvA are therefore accepted worldwide. This international recognition is exceptionally important, certainly for major trading and distribution countries such as the Netherlands.
The RvA is co-signatory to the ILAC-MRA (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation).
The RvA is a co-signatory to the IAF-MLA (International Accreditation Forum).