Accreditation is a third party attestation, related to a conformity assessment body (CAB) conveying a covering a formal demonstration of its competence, to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks (definition 5.6 from ISO/ IEC 17000).
Accreditation involves regular management system, assessment and technical competence assessment of a body or a person, including a relevant number of performed witness audits. Accreditation is designed to be a transparent process in which all interested parties should be aware of precisely described rules, underlying the accreditation system.
- Help Lebanon build a comprehensive and efficient quality infrastructure so that it is fully functional, compatible and integrated with international norms,
- Help COLIBAC become operational as the Lebanese Accreditation Body,
- Help COLIBAC become a recognised international partner and signatory to the relevant MRA/MLA so that CAB’s results are accepted in EU / worldwide,
- Support developments related to the ACAA priority sectors,
- Support the export potential of the Lebanese industry products and services.
- Raise awareness / enhance confidence in market, quality, safety, protection of Lebanese goods and Lebanese consumers, health and environment.
The Lebanese Accreditation Council (COLIBAC), which was established by the Law No. 572 dated 11 December 2004 “The Establishment of the Lebanese Accreditation Council of 11 February 2004, is presently a non-operational entity, and unable to fulfil the role that accreditation bodies in Europe and worldwide fulfil in conformity assessment. It is also unable to fulfil its tasks under the relevant Lebanese laws relating to the activities of national accreditation body or conformity assessment bodies. This is mainly due to the delay in appointment of a Director General and staff of COLIBAC.
Accreditation in Lebanon is accordingly provided by foreign accreditation bodies signatories to the relevant ILAC-MRA, IAF-MLA or EA-MLA agreement (which partly solve the situation with acceptance of the results provided by accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies (CAB’s) abroad).
Regardless of the costs / difficulties associated with such an approach, this situation cannot substitute for the irreplaceable role of nationally and internationally recognized national accreditation body signatory to the relevant MRA/MLA, especially in a regulated area which is closely monitored by the EU and similar structures in other developed countries.
In previous projects, much time and effort was devoted to the elaboration of general management system elements, preparation and promulgation of three internal bylaws/decrees, training of assessors, and documentation for COLIBAC. However, the international situation in the field of accreditation has evolved considerably ever since in terms of new accreditation standards and documents (for instance, new or updated standards ISO/IEC 1743:2010, ISO/IEC 17021:2011, ISO/IEC 17020:2012, ISO/IEC 17024:2012, ISO/IEC 17065:2012, policies and procedures of ILAC/IAF and EA in the following fields, such as cooperation with regulators, peer evaluation, training of assessors, defining the accreditation scopes, participation in proficiency testing, assuring traceability, cross-frontier accreditation, etc.).
COLIBAC documentation (including Quality manual and internal regulations) as well as assessors’ skills (via training) accordingly needs to be updated before COLIBAC can officially commence the process of assessment of conformity assessment bodies.
To check the Lebanese law of accreditation No. 572 dated 11 December 2004 concerning COLIBAC, please download the version you want,
Accreditation uses specific developed criteria and procedures to determine technical competence of relevant bodies. Accreditation is concerned with the assessment of CABs (laboratories, certification bodies, inspection bodies) and some other clearly specified bodies linked with conformity assessment (e.g. PT scheme providers, producers of certified materials and so on).
Accreditation is the relevant tool which is able to ensure public confidence in the reliability of activities and have real impact on health, welfare, security and environment .It is very often used by governmental bodies for the identification of relevant competent authority assessment bodies.
Accreditation is for manufacturers- or better said for industry- the basic tool in the field of decision making and risk management, it can provide a relevant competitive advantage as a result of its system of mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) and /or multilateral agreements (MLAs). Accreditation guarantees that the relevant calibrations, tests and conformity assessment procedures are performed in compliance with best practice, limiting all serious non-conformities and control of manufacturing costs.
Short description of the Accreditation process
The AB shall require an authorized representative of the applicant to make a formal application that includes all relevant information stated in ISO/IEC 17011 .This is the start of the accreditation process. The most technically important part of this application is the scope of accreditation. On the basis of this scope and on the basis of other relevant information the AB can review its ability to perform the assessment of the applicant, in terms of its own policy, its competence and the availability of suitable assessors and experts. The AB shall ensure itself that the required assessment is possible. The review can include a preliminary visit with the agreement of the applicant. When the application is acceptable, the AB shall register it and shall start with finalizing the assessment contract. The AB shall start with establishment of the assessment team.
The assessment team shall conduct the on-site assessment at the premises of the applicant from which one or more key activities are performed and when relevant, shall perform site inspections at other selected locations, to gather objective evidence that the applicable scope is competent and conforms to the relevant standard (s) and other requirements for accreditation. The assessment team shall perform a relevant number of witness audits and shall analyze all relevant information and evidence gathered during the on-site assessment. This work shall be summarized in the appropriate assessment reports and records on non conformities.
Reassessment is similar to an initial assessment except that experience gained during previous assessments shall be taken into consideration.
AB shall have procedures for the suspension, withdrawal or reduction of the scope of accreditation which means that AB shall be able to make decisions to reduce the scope of accreditation of the accredited body to exclude those parts where the accredited body failed to meet the requirements and criteria for accreditation.