The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and its Accreditation Body (AB) members invest significant effort and resources to maintain the integrity and consistency of the IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) through a peer evaluation process. This report sets out the detailed activities that are carried out as part of the peer evaluation process to ensure that regulators, specifiers, and businesses can have confidence in the MLA. The focus of this document is to report on the activities undertaken by IAF, in collaboration with ILAC, and the evaluation activities undertaken by these organizations or the Regional Accreditation Groups (RAGs). This report also outlines the activities of the IAF MLA Committee (MLAC) and the IAF MLA Management Committee (MLA MC) in collaboration with ILAC under the Joint Management Committee (JMC).
The IAF MLA
The purpose of the IAF MLA is to provide users in countries with Accreditation Bodies that are IAF MLA signatories with the assurance that equivalent Certification Bodies (CBs) and Validation/Verification Bodies (VVBs) in other economies operate to the same standards as those in their own economies for certificates and statements in the fields of:
- Management Systems Certification
- Product Certification (including processes and services)
- Certification of Persons
- Validation and Verification
Accreditations granted by IAF MLA AB signatories are recognised worldwide based on their equivalent accreditation programmes, therefore reducing costs and adding value to industry and consumers.
The MLA contributes to the facilitation of world trade by eliminating technical barriers. IAF works to find the most effective way of achieving a single system to meet the objective of “Accredited once, accepted everywhere”.
The IAF MLA Mark
The IAF MLA Mark can be used by ABs to demonstrate their status as a signatory to the IAF MLA. If approved by the AB, accredited certification bodies and validation/verification bodies can also use the IAF MLA Mark in combination with the accreditation symbol on their certificates or statements, provided that the certificates or statements are issued under a granted IAF MLA scope.
The IAF MLA Mark demonstrates that the certificate or statement has been issued by a CB or VVB that is accredited by an IAF MLA signatory and is thus traceable to the highest authority. It is an assurance that the certificate or statement and the issuing body are of a high standard of competence and may be trusted, as they are recognised as complying with the same set of standards at the global level.