In Italy, the combination of an economic crisis and the digital age has led to the emergence of three million professionals not regulated by registers or orders. In 2013, in order to regulate various professions, the Law no. 4 “Dispositions for non-organized professions” was released. The certification issued by accredited certification bodies, among the procedures identified by Law no. 4/2013, is the basis of profound changes in the labour market.
From the entry into force of the Law, masseurs, naturopaths and kinesiologists, graphic designers, advertisers, safety managers in the workplace, experts in taxation law, translators, up to apartment block administrators and real estate appraisers, wedding planners, e-reputation managers and digital copywriters, can prove that they are qualified through: a self-assessment declaration, certification of the reference associations and certification of third party certification bodies accredited by Accredia (Italian National Accreditation Body), provided that it’s issued in compliance with UNI (Italian Standardization Body) technical standards. The accredited certification demonstrates that the assessment of the requirements is carried out following the principles of impartiality and independence by a third party body and not on the basis of a self-declaration.
“The legislation mandates these professionals to highlight, in every document and written report with the client, the reference to Law no. 4/2013, which is applicable for the protection of the consumer – explains Emanuele Riva, IAF Vice President and Director of the Certification and Inspection Department of Accredia – who will have more guarantees on the know-how, competence, quality and safety of services provided.
On the other hand it also benefits the professional themselves who will have their certification recognized on international markets, thanks to the Multilateral Agreements of EA (European co-operation for Accreditation), recognized by the European Commission (EC) as a European accreditation infrastructure.
To date there are 46 certification bodies accredited by Accredia and over 200,000 accredited professionals.
The regulation of professionals, in general, remains a voluntary decision even if to access some roles the legislation can set as mandatory the possession of certifications issued by accredited conformity assessment bodies. Especially in some professions, they are required continuous professional training, theoretical-practical verification of specialist knowledge, absence of disciplinary measures.
There are 175 professions for which it is possible to request an accredited certification, as also shown by Accredia Data Banks, 125 refer to UNI certification standards.
“There is a greater awareness of accreditation – continues Emanuele Riva. Just think that before the Law was introduced in Italy, there were 4 certification bodies, while today there are 46 certification bodies accredited for certification of professionals. The professional associations, in order to give value to their members, benefit from the opportunity offered by this Law, regulating with a UNI standard the competencies required to perform a specific profession.”
The attention for the certification of professionals and its recognition are now subjects of discussion by the EC too.
“The EC is looking for some criteria to include private professions in the EU database of qualifications (Pillar III of ESCO)", and accreditation seems to be the solution – explains Riva. To be clear, this means that those who want their private certification listed in the EC database (i.e. recognized thanks to the mutual recognition of competences in the European Union, for the mobility of people) will have to possess an accredited certification.