Scope of Accreditation: Insights from ILAC-G18:01/2024 in Product Testing Type/Pattern Approval.


The accreditation plays a pivotal role in ensuring the competency and reliability of Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs). Guiding this process is the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), with its comprehensive guideline ILAC-G18:01/2024.

This article focuses on the guideline’s application to product testing and type/pattern approval within the Scope of Accreditation, as outlined in ISO/IEC 17011. The process of having accreditation is a foundation for ensuring the competence and reliability of Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) and building trust among the end users of products.

Defining Scopes of Accreditation

The Scope of Accreditation plays a pivotal role in defining the specific activities for which a Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) is accredited. The comprehensive guideline ILAC-G18:01/2024 guides this process, which intricately details the nuances of Scopes of Accreditation, ensuring transparency and competency in conformity assessment activities.

The Scope of Accreditation is the formal statement issued by an Accreditation Body (AB), outlining the conformity assessment activities for which a CAB is accredited and deemed competent. This formal declaration, as detailed in ISO/IEC 17011 Sub-clause 7.8.3, acts as a roadmap, clearly demarcating the boundaries of the CAB’s capabilities.

Scopes of accreditation are thoughtfully specific, leaving no room for ambiguity. They precisely define the conformity assessment activities that a CAB is accredited to perform. Any deviation or modification in these activities requires the CAB to inform the AB and undergo a subsequent level of assessment. This stringent approach ensures the integrity and reliability of the accreditation process.

When a CAB seeks an extension to its scope of accreditation, the assessment approach depends on whether the scope is flexible or not, in alignment with the AB’s procedures. Flexible scopes of accreditation are designed to accommodate changes in methodologies or other scope parameters, subject to the procedures defined by the AB.

Flexible scopes of accreditation provide a dynamic framework that allows a CAB to claim accreditation for modified methodologies or other scope parameters. This adaptability is facilitated through the defined procedures set forth by the AB. The flexibility in scopes acknowledges the evolving nature of conformity assessment activities and permits CABs to align with industry advancements without compromising the accreditation process’s robustness.

In conclusion, the definition and management of Scopes of Accreditation are central to the accreditation process. ILAC-G18:01/2024 provides a comprehensive guide, ensuring clarity, specificity, and adaptability where needed. As conformity assessment activities evolve, the flexibility in scopes allows CABs to stay abreast of industry changes while upholding the highest standards of competence and reliability. In this landscape, Scopes of Accreditation serve not only as a formal statement but as a commitment to excellence in conformity assessment.