ANSWER: Accreditation is a means of determining the technical competence of testing, calibration and medical laboratories to perform specific types of testing, measurement and calibration. It provides formal recognition that laboratories are competent, impartial and independent, therefore providing a ready means for customers to identify and select reliable testing, measurement and calibration services that are able to meet their needs.
For additional information please read: The advantages of being Accredited (https://ilac.org/publications-and-resources/ilac-promotional-brochures/)
ANSWER: If you are considering seeking accreditation for your facility, the first thing you’ll need to do is contact the appropriate accreditation body to see whether they can accredit your range of testing, calibration or measurement services. Most accreditation bodies can provide comprehensive accreditation for:
- facilities undertaking any sort of testing, product or material evaluation, calibration or
- private or government laboratories;
- one-person operations or large multi-disciplinary organizations;
- remote field operations and temporary laboratories.
For additional information please read page 7: The advantages of being Accredited (https://ilac.org/publications-and-resources/ilac-promotional-brochures/)
ANSWER: NO – The terms “accreditation” and “certification” are sometimes used interchangeably, however, they are not synonymous.1
Accreditation is used to verify that laboratories have an appropriate quality management system and can properly perform certain tests, calibrations, or inspections according to their scopes of accreditation.1
Certification is used for verifying that personnel have adequate credentials (i.e., skill) to practice certain disciplines, as well as for verifying that processes, systems, products, or events meet certain requirements.1
The difference between the two seemingly similar definitions lies in the fact that in the first case, the formal recognition of competence is based on proven technical knowledges and therefore requires the consultation of a technical expert for the scope to be accredited, while the second case primarily involves ensuring conformity with a given norm, e.g. a management system or a product.2
Accreditation therefore relates to specific technical tasks such as those of a testing or calibration laboratory, or of a certification or inspection body, for which specific norms set out the required degree of competence.2
Many ISO standards include guidance on how to demonstrate a product, person, service or system meets the requirements contained within a standard. How the assessment of conformity is performed-and by whom-can have a significant impact on the level of confidence buyers and regulators place on the assessment results.3
In some cases, the supplier may offer a first-party statement of compliance. In others, the buyer conducts his or her own second-party assessment of conformity. Yet another option is to engage a third party that is recognized as being independent of both the provider and intended user.3
Please visit the following links for additional resources and information about these conformity assessment terms:
- (2017, January). Accreditation vs. Certification. Retrieved from https://www.nist.gov/nvlap/accreditation-vs-certification
- Directorate of Accreditation Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from http://dpa.gov.al/en/faq/what-is-difference-between-accreditation-and-certification
- Roger Muse. (2008, June). What’s in a Name: Accreditation vs. Certification?. Retrieved from https://www.qualitymag.com/articles/85483-what-s-in-a-name-accreditation-vs-certification
ANSWER: It is meant for forensic facilities and NOT for forensic practitioners
There seems to be a lot of confusion on this topic, especially in some forensic disciplines. I have read numerous articles and have been involved in several conversations, which usually revolve around someone’s opinion of “what is more important:” 1) the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) of the forensics practitioner and their ability to get their work into court; or 2) their being accredited.
For starters, forensic practitioners are NOT accredited; forensic organizations, facilities, laboratories, etc. are. Forensic practitioners are certified.
Forensic accreditation is organization based and addresses the operational and technical competency of the forensic facility and its ability to manage its administrative and technical operations in a manner that will allow it to produce consistent and reliable results.
Forensic certification is individual based and focuses on a forensic practitioners individual KSAs to perform the work itself to include ensuring its sufficiency for acceptance into court. Forensic practitioner certifications usually fall into three basic categories: 1) Networks and Computer Hardware (e.g., CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, CISSP, CCNA, etc.); 2) Vendor Neutral (e.g., CFCE, CCE, GCFE, GCFA, GNFA, etc.); and 3) Vendor Specific (e.g., EnCE, ACE, CCME, etc.)
What makes this topic interesting is that most forensic practitioners work for an organization so; you would think the organization’s reputation is just as important as the practitioner’s.
ANSWER: NO. Laboratories can have either all or part of their testing and calibration activities accredited.
For additional information please read page 8: The advantages of being Accredited (https://ilac.org/publications-and-resources/ilac-promotional-brochures/)