What Is Inspection Accreditation?
Inspection accreditation is formal recognition of the competence of an inspection body and its inspectors. With accreditation, inspection services capable of performing defined inspections are publicly listed. This allows customers to readily identify organisations able to meet their inspection needs.
Inspection Accreditation allows an inspection body to benchmark its work practices against world's best practice. Manufacturers may also use it to offer clients assurance of their own in-house inspection practices.
ISO/IEC 17020 - General criteria for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection is the internationally recognised inspection accreditation standard. It is this document that is used by NATA to accredit inspection bodies.
Can My Business Get Accredited?
From one-person operations to in-house manufacturing inspection services and wholly independent inspection bodies, inspection accreditation is offered to all inspection services. If your business conducts any type of inspection, NATA Inspection Accreditation provides credible and independent recognition of your expertise.
What Are The Benefits Of Inspection Accreditation?
During the assessment process your staff will gain professional interaction and industry specific information intended to assist your operations run more effectively. The technically-focussed assessment reviews the skills of the inspectors, the technical support they receive and the management systems essential to conducting meaningful and technically valid inspections.
NATA-accredited inspection bodies may apply NATA's internationally recognised logo to their inspection reports and certificates, offering their customers assurance regarding the reliability and technical validity of the inspection data and results.
How Are Inspection Bodies Accredited?
Organisations can have some or all of their inspection activities accredited by NATA. Preparatory visits by NATA staff assist in understanding the accreditation process and provide an opportunity for your staff to ask any questions they may have. A team of technical assessors is organised in consultation with your organisation and a mutually convenient time is arranged for the assessment visit.
The accreditation process includes a thorough assessment of all the documentation and activities of an inspection body against the accreditation standard, ISO/IEC 17020. All elements contributing to the production of accurate and reliable inspection results are reviewed including staffing, training, supervision, equipment, records and reports. Most importantly, your inspectors are observed in the field conducting inspections and individually evaluated for their technical competence.
This process can take one to several days, at the end of which a detailed report on the evaluation is presented to the inspection body management. Areas requiring attention are discussed and the whole assessment process is undertaken in a helpful, constructive manner that assists organisations to achieve compliance with the criteria in a way that helps their business.
Periodical reassessments are conducted once accreditation is achieved to ensure continued compliance with ISO/IEC 17020 and NATA's inspection accreditation requirements.
Why Should I Seek Inspection Accreditation with NATA?
NATA brings over 50 years accreditation experience to the recognition of technical competence. We have systems that balance the needs for transparency with those of confidentiality. NATA provides impartial and technically-focussed evaluation of competence. In addition, NATA is the world's largest association of accredited facilities with more than 2,500 accredited members and draws on the services of some 3,000 volunteer technical experts.
As an independent private company, NATA's operations are monitored by its members, industry, government and professional bodies whose representatives make up NATA's Council.
A Memorandum of Understanding with the Commonwealth Government recognises NATA's role in Australia's technical infrastructure as a peak authority for inspection accreditation. NATA's competence as an accreditation provider is regularly evaluated by bodies in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region, thus ensuring its operations are consistent with international practices.
NATA's accreditation programs use internationally-recognised standards. Technically focussed criteria include evaluation of technical competence, an aspect not provided by certification processes such as ISO 9000 certification. This specific technical evaluation, combined with NATA's international recognition by its overseas counterparts, offers NATA accredited organisations world-wide recognition of their technical expertise. NATA is also active in, and represents its members at, national and international forums and conferences relating to accreditation standards and practice.
How Can I Get Further Information?
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact your nearest NATA office.