Accreditation brings more reliability and competitiveness
Competence, quality of service and reliability of results – you can ensure these things with accreditation. The FINAS accreditation service accredits laboratories, certification organisations, inspection bodies, providers of proficiency testing and for example environmental and greenhouse gas verifiers.
What is FINAS?
In accordance with European legislation, each EU country has a national accreditation organisation; in Finland, this organisation is FINAS. FINAS is an acronym for the Finnish Accreditation Service.
FINAS is a part of the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), where FINAS has an independent and autonomous position. The Accreditation Board, named by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, directs FINAS's operations. FINAS is also an independent operator with regard to its clients and other interest groups.
FINAS employs 23 people; most of them are lead assessors, while others work as coordinators to assist them. The technical expertise required for assessments is acquired from experts in various fields outside FINAS. At the moment, there are approximately 230 active technical assessors. FINAS trains and instructs them in their work. The technical assessors represent different professions, such as chemists, microbiologists, engineers and doctors.
What is accreditation and what kind of things are accredited?
Accreditation is the verification of competence. It is a procedure that impartially and independently demonstrates the competence of an operator according to international criteria.
FINAS accredits organisations operating in different fields. The clients include laboratories, certification organisations, inspection bodies, providers of proficiency testing and environmental and greenhouse gas verifiers. The clients include representatives of both public administration and the private sector.
Clients can apply to FINAS for accreditation of their desired the scope of accreditation. This means that not all of the client’s activities are necessarily within the scope of accreditation; instead, the scope indicates to which activities the accreditation applies. FINAS maintains up-to-date lists of the scope of accreditation of its clients on its website.
The clients receive a unique accreditation number. Such numbers can be seen in very mundane places, such as staff canteens (if the certification organisation that granted the system certification for the canteen operator was accredited by FINAS), at public swimming pools (if the pool water was tested in a laboratory accredited by FINAS) or in a lift (if the inspection body that inspected the lift was accredited by FINAS).
What are the benefits of accreditation?
– For the clients, accreditation is a sign of competent operations, credibility and reliability.
– Accreditation can help operators access the market.
– Accreditation can be used to fulfil the competence requirements set up by authorities or described in legislation and thus enable operations in the market in question.
– Accreditation promotes the operations of the European Internal Market by verifying that the quality of the services an accredited operator produces can be internationally trusted.
– Consumers can rely on the quality of service produced by an accredited operator.
What kind of international cooperation do accreditation organisations participate in?
Each EU country has a national accreditation organisation. The accreditation organisations cooperate with each other both at the European level in various working groups as well as international umbrella organisations. The international cooperation ensures that the accreditation operations are uniform in different countries.
FINAS is involved in all European and international organisations' accreditation recognition agreements (EA, ILAC, IAF). The accreditations granted by the accreditation organisations of different countries based on these agreements are internationally approved.
EA European co-operation for Accreditation
ILAC International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation
IAF International Accreditation Forum, Inc.
Text: Paula Kuusio