The Italian system of conformity assessment, which operates under ACCREDIA’s authority, took on a new dimension in 2011: accreditation, which had traditionally been in the voluntary sector, was extended to mandatory, or cogent, sectors, in order to implement the Directives of the EU’s “New Approach” and the regulations this entails.
On January 1, 2010, the legislative package was introduced which ushered in these changes: Regulation 765/2008/CE covers accreditation and market surveillance concerning the marketing of products; Decision 768/2008/EC regarding a common framework for the marketing of products, and Regulation 764/2008/EC, which sets out procedures for the application of national technical regulations for products which are legally marketed in another Member State.
In 2010 ACCREDIA completed its set-up phase, strengthening its structure and expanding its role to include the activities of all four accreditation departments: Certification and Inspection Bodies, Testing Laboratories, Testing Laboratories for Food Safety and Calibration Laboratories.
By means of a number of agreements and protocols, in 2011 ACCREDIA undertook new responsibilities granted by government ministries covering the implementation of European Community regulations, Directives and standards in the relevant areas of competence.
In accordance with Regulation 765/2008, ACCREDIA, rather than the government authorities as was previously the case, can now perform accreditation activities in such cases where it can demonstrate that it has the competence to do so.
In this way the Governmental Authorities have entrusted ACCREDIA with preliminary verification activities as well as the notification to the European Commission of Bodies operating in conformity with the New Approach and with European regulations.
The transfer of ministerial conformity assessment activities to ACCREDIA took place in conditions which offer a complete guarantee concerning the activities in question, and full transparency for the market, for economic operators, consumers, and workers; it is the result of the full participation of ACCREDIA in an institutional dialogue whch was to take the form of specific relations with the ministries involved.
In June, 2011, the agreement was signed with the Ministry of Economic Development entrusting ACCREDIA with the accreditation of CABs operating under 6 Directives: Safety of Toys (2009/48/CE), Measuring Instruments Directives (2004/22/CE), Hot-water boilers (1992/42/CE), Pressure Equipment (1997/23/CE), Equipment and protective systems for use in potentially explosible atmospheres (1994/09/CE), Electromagnetic compatibility (2004/108/CE).
Accreditation is an obligatory requirement for the issue of authorisation and the subsequent notification of Bodies to the European Commission by the Ministry of Economic Development.
ACCREDIA has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport on the European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) and a tripartite agreement with the Ministry of Work and the Ministry of Economic Development for the use of marks on Lifts (1995/16/CE), Machinery (2006/42/CE), Low voltage directive (2006/95/CE), and Personal Protective Equipment (1989/686/CEE).
The accreditation of nofified Bodies for Transportable Pressure Equipment has begun, in accordance with Directive 2010/35/CE, consistent with the official communication of the Ministyry of Infrastructure and Transport.
In November, following another agreement, the Ministry of Agriculture entrusted ACCREDIA with the accreditation of the activities of Bodies performing assessment activities in the environmental sector, in accordance with the Directive Noise Emission (2000/14/CE), Greenhoiuse gas emissions (2003/87/CE), Biofuels (2009/30/EC), Renewable energy sources (2009/28/EC), Fluorinated Greenhouse gases (842/2006), and EMAS, (Eco-management & audit scheme) (1221/2009).
The last agreement signed in 2011 regards the accord with the Ministry of Economic Development for activities covered by by the Directive Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (1999/05/CE).
The notification system is essential for authorised Bodies and for companies, in order for them to be able to place the CE mark on their products, ensuring free movement on the European market. The inclusion of the Bodies in the NANDO database makes the ministerial authorisation valid throughout the EU.
Accreditation is an added value for Bodies, providing operative benefits deriving from notification and the guarantee of impartial and independent assessments, without significant additional costs. ACCREDIA’s pricelist operates in collaboration with, and under the surveillance of, the Inter-ministerial Commission and also the Ministry of Economic Development.
ACCREDIA’s new role in the mandatory sector is aimed at increasing the trust of consumers in products carrying the EC brand - from consumers to partners in BtoB relations - under certification by Bodies which have the authorisation of the ministry and notification at the European Commission for registration in the NANDO database.
The agreements involve hundreds of thousands of Italian companies, and collaboration between ACCREDIA and the ministries helps to rationalise activities, in keeping with the principles of quality, safety, health, environmental protection and consumer protection.
Another area in which ACCREDIA ‘s role is increasing is in that of the regulation of professions which do not come within the cogent sector, where it is possible to choose accreditation and certification for the attestation of competences.
The Ministry of Economic Development has opened a round of discussions with the participation of ACCREDIA, UNI (the Italian unification Body), CAN, Assoprofessioni, Colap and CNCU in order to find a common way forward – including ficsal matters, welfare and credit – so as to define all relevant questions in a legal context.
“Certified professions” constitute a fundamental item in the politics of employment, especially in a system in which the social and economic networks carry strategic importance in terms of policy and of national growth.
ACCREDIA’s intention is to extend the existing system of personal certification schemes to cover processes of assessment of the competence of Bodies for the certification of new categories of professional persons with requirements which reflect changes in this sector.
In the context of these changes and improvements in the system of conformity assessment, the relationship between ACCREDIA and UNI is of ever-increasing importance with regard to technical standardisation and accreditation and collaboration with the Public Administrative Authorities, for the development of the national economy.