An accreditation body is an authoritative body that performs accreditation. In some instances, its authority is derived from government.
Its primary function is to assess, against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services (collectively known as conformity assessment bodies). Accreditation demonstrates the competence, impartiality and performance capability of these organisations.
Accreditation bodies normally operate as non-profit distributing organisations.
The IAF operates in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment, while laboratory and inspection accreditation is managed at the global level by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).