Accreditation is the formal recognition by an independent body that an organisation is competent to perform conformity assessments. 

Such recognition is based on the conformity assessment body (or certification body) being able to demonstrate its competence, consistency and impartiality, according to the relevant international standards, in assessing organisations’ ability to meet the requirements of recognised standards.  

Although accreditation is not mandatory, and a conformity assessment body not being accredited does not mean necessarily mean that it is not a reputable organisation, non-accredited conformity assessment bodies are not subject to the scrutiny of accreditation as conducted by an independent authority. Therefore, a non-accredited conformity assessment body cannot demonstrate that it has the competence, capability and impartiality required to conduct conformity assessments. 

The Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) upholds that only the use of conformity assessment bodies accredited by a national accreditation body (e.g., UKAS in the UK) can provide an organisation and it’s interested parties with the necessary assurance of an organisation’s ability to meet the needs and expectations of interested parties.  

Consequently, the CQI advises that organisations which require conformity assessment should use the services only of conformity assessment bodies which are accredited by an appropriate accreditation body.