The IAF is the world association of Conformity Assessment Accreditation Bodies and other bodies interested in conformity assessment in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment. Its primary function is to develop a single worldwide program of conformity assessment which reduces risk for business and its customers by assuring them that accredited certificates may be relied upon. Accreditation assures users of the competence and impartiality of the body accredited.
Accreditation is the independent evaluation of conformity assessment bodies against recognised standards to ensure their impartiality and competence. Through the application of national and international standards, government, procurers and consumers can have confidence in the calibration and test results, inspection reports and certifications provided.
Accreditation bodies are established in many countries with the primary purpose of ensuring that conformity assessment bodies are subject to oversight by an authoritative body.
Accreditation bodies, which have been evaluated by peers as competent, sign arrangements that enhance the acceptance of products and services across national borders, thereby creating a framework to support international trade through the removal of technical barriers.
These arrangements are managed by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment, and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), in the field of laboratory and inspection accreditation.