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FAQs

About Accreditation

1.    What is accreditation?
2.    Why accreditation?
3.    Who can get accredited?
4.    What are the benefits of accreditation?
5.    What is the difference between accreditation and certification?

ATS

1.    What are the activities performed by ATS?
2.    What are the documents used by ATS in the course of the accreditation procedure?

Accreditation Process

1.    How does my organisation become accredited?
2.    How long will it take to become ATS accredited?
3.    How much will it cost to become ATS accredited?
4.    How do I check to see if a testing laboratory is accredited?
5.    Where can I purchase adequate accreditation standard?
6.    How do I become ISO 9001 accredited?
7.    How can I check whether or not a company has ISO 9001 certification?
8.   Can certification bodies that are not accredited provide certification services - is this legal?

Assessors

1.    How do I become an ATS assessor/technical expert?

Conformity Assessment Bodies

1.  Where can an accredited testing laboratory calibrate its key equipment in Serbia with the aim of attaining traceability of measurement acceptable by ATS?
2.    Will foreign certificates be automatically recognised after the EA MLA has been signed?
3.    What if a conformity assessment body is accredited by accreditation body other than ATS?
4. I am interested in importing a product into the Republic of Serbia. How do I find out if it needs to be certified to particular standards before being imported and offered for sale?
5. I want to get my product certified for export. How do I go about this?
6. Where can I find all the answers to the queries related to the legislation governing the field of quality infrastructure (standardisation, accreditation, metrology and conformity assessment) in the Republic of Serbia?

7. How I can become notified/designated body?
 

About Accreditation

1. What is accreditation?

Accreditation is a national accreditation body attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to meet the requirements of adequate international standards.

The Accreditation Body of Serbia (ATS) is the sole accreditation body in the Republic of Serbia that was delegated the performance of the accreditation activities by means of the Law on Accreditation

2. Why accreditation?

Accreditation provides formal acknowledgement of conformity assessment body’s competence enabling the clients to identify and select a reliable service (testing/calibration/inspection/certification) that will be able to meet their expectations and needs.

Services of accredited laboratories, inspection and certification bodies can be used to confirm that products are in conformance with certain requirements - standards and generally recognised specifications since accreditation delivers trust in safety of products and services if the said products and services have been tested, validated or supervised by competent bodies meeting internationally recognised criteria. Thus the level of risk of selecting incompetent conformity assessment bodies would decrease, while accreditation contributes to the reduction of costs, decrease in the level of product defect, health risks, safeguard of the company’s reputation or observance of all legal requirements or client’s requests and provision of trust and free movement of marketed goods and services.

3. Who can get accredited?

  • Testing laboratories – testing: food, environmental parameters, electrical appliances, pressure vessels, chemical products, metals and metallic products, building materials, etc.,
     
  • Calibration laboratories – calibrating measuring and testing equipment,
     
  • Medical laboratories,
     
  • PT providers,
     
  • Certification bodies – providing certification of products in accordance with regulations and developed certification schemes; management systems (quality management system, environmental management system, food safety management system, etc.) and persons (quality management system assessors and environmental management system assessors, welders, persons performing non-destructive tests, etc.);
     
  • Inspection bodies – inspecting: lifts and cranes, pressure vessels, electrical equipment and installations, furniture quality, inspection in the field of motor vehicles and other fields.

4. What are the benefits of accreditation?

The benefits of accreditation will depend on the interested parties being granted accreditation:

  • accredited conformity assessment bodies - since accreditation provides guarantees that the quality of the set-up and technical competence of calibration and testing laboratories, inspection and certification bodies would increase.
     
  • government - since accreditation is an internationally recognised tool delivering trust in the work of institutions authorised by the government to perform conformity assessment activities (testing, calibration, inspection and certification) with the aim of protecting public interests and increasing the level of reliability when making relevant decisions. Accreditation is a means to establish trust on the market of products and services and is an element of the quality infrastructure in a country that, together with the European and international community, ensures recognition, acceptance and acknowledgement of conformity assessment of product requirements across national borders.
     
  • producers - since accreditation ensures reliability of testing and measurement, increases reliability of decision-making on the basis of the said testing and measurement, reduces costs, product defects and helps with risk identification and assessment. Products certified by accredited certification bodies increase the level of trust of consumers, product users and market competitiveness level. Management systems certified by accredited certification bodies increase the level of trust in the business operations of an organisation, competitiveness level and facilitate access to new markets. Given that during the accreditation procedure, assessment and confirmation of competence is performed by third parties, i.e. independent accreditation bodies, the level of trust will be increased, and time and money saved.
     
  • trade organisations and consumers - since accreditation delivers trust in safety of products and services if these have been tested, validated or under surveillance of competent organisations meeting internationally recognised criteria. Nowadays users want good quality products so producers and suppliers try to meet specific requerements. That often means that products are sent to accredited laboratories, inspection or certification bodies to confirm and check product characteristics in relation to a standard or relevant specification. The selection of a competent conformity assessment body reduces the risk of producing or selling unsafe products.  

5. What is the difference between accreditation and certification?

Definitions of these terms are laid down in ISO/IEC 17000:2004,

Paragraph 5.6 - Accreditation is the third party attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks.

Paragraph 5.5 – Certification is a third-party attestation related to products, processes, systems or persons.

Accreditation is used to prove competence to perform certain tests, calibrations, inspection or certification activities.

Certification proves that quality management systems, products or persons are in conformance with requirements of specific technical regulations, standards or specifications.

ATS

1.    What are the activities performed by ATS?

To check the ATS scope of work please go to ATS Scope of Work.

2. What are the documents used by ATS in the course of the accreditation procedure?

ATS performs the accreditation procedure on the basis of the following criteria.

Accreditation process

1. How does my organisation become accredited?

If you want to get accredited for a certain type of conformity assessment activities, you should inform the Accreditation Body of Serbia that you intend to get accredited by submitting an accreditation application (.doc format) for a certain type of testing, calibration, inspection or certification activity. You will find detailed information about accreditation under Accreditation Procedure.

2. How long will it take to become ATS accredited?

The time between the official submission of the accreditation application and granting of accreditation depends on the following elements:

  • complexity of requested scope of accreditation,
  • conformity level of an applicant’s work activities in relation to certain requirements;
  • applicant’s understanding of the nature of nonconformities identified during the assessment, and how swift and efficient an applicant is at eliminating the said nonconformities.

ATS defined general deadlines for each of the phases in the accreditation procedure which, together with the level of readiness of the organisation, may lead to a conclusion that the duration of the accreditation procedure for different schemes of accreditation could be up to 12 months.

3. How much will it cost to become ATS accredited?

Accreditation costs have to be borne by applicants for accreditation and accredited conformity assessment bodies. Assessment costs depend on the complexity of the requested scope of accreditation and number of organisational units and locations where conformity assessment activities will be performed. They cover costs related to the submission of documentation in order to submit an application to ATS, performance of preparatory activities, pre-assessment visits, assessments (costs related to documentary reviews and audit costs), registration and use of accreditation. Travel costs are also included in the accreditation fee structure.

Accreditation costs to be borne by applicants for accreditation and accredited conformity assessment bodies are provided in the Charging Policy Document.

4. How do I check to see if a testing laboratory is accredited?

The list of all ATS accredited conformity assessment bodies can be found on the ATS internet portal under Directory of Accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies that can be searched by searched by the field of accreditation / accreditation number / name or address of the CAB / any word from the scope of accreditation.

Only these accredited bodies can be allowed to use the accreditation symbol.

The accreditation symbol may be used by accredited conformity assessment bodies (certification bodies, inspection bodies and laboratories) in their reports, certificates and other documents in accordance with the Rules for the Use of the Accreditation Symbol, Reference to Accreditation and ATS Status as a Signatory to the ЕА MLA, ILAC MRA and IAF MLA.

In addition to a graphic symbol (the ATS logo) each accreditation symbol must contain the text including accreditation number of the accredited CAB (accredited CAB number from the Directory of Accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies) and the field of accreditation, i.e. standard according to which it was accredited.

5. Where can I purchase adequate accreditation standard?

Standards describing the requirements for certain fields of accreditation can be bought at the Institute for Standardization of Serbia, Stevana Brakusa 2, (Banovo Brdo), 11030 Beograd, or ordered online.

Phone numbers at the ISS Information Centre are +381 11 7541 421, +381 11 3409 301, е-mail: infocentar@iss.rs.

 6. How do I become ISO 9001 accredited?

ISO 9001:2008 is a certification standard, rather than an accreditation standard, and ATS does not carry out assessments to this standard itself, but assesses and accredits certification bodies (for a defined scope of accreditation, i.e. relating to specific areas of industry) so that they may then certify organisations to ISO 9001.

The Directory of Accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies, that is posted on the ATS internet portal and is regularly updated, contains a list of accredited certification bodies.

7. How can I check whether or not a company has ISO 9001 certification?

ATS does not keep a directory of certified companies, but it is the obligation of accredited certification bodies in accordance with cl. 4.5.1 of ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015, "to provide public access to, or disclosure of, appropriate and timely information about its audit process and certification process, and about the certification status (i.e. the granting, extending, maintaining, renewing, suspending, reducing the scope of, or withdrawing of certification) of any organization, in order to gain confidence in the integrity and credibility of certification."

Furthermore, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (SCC) keeps the Directory of Certified Companies, and a request to obtain the data from the Directory includes provision of information on companies that have certified their management systems as per relevant international standards (ISO, HACCP, OHSAS, etc.).

The data to be entered into the Directory are provided by certification bodies on a voluntary basis. The Serbian Chamber of Commerce receives the data on CB clients, whereas the Directory can be searched by various criteria to enable interested parties to obtain information related to the set-up, size and number of companies in the Republic of Serbia.

8. Can certification bodies that are not accredited provide certification services - is this legal?

ATS is aware of the existence of unaccredited certification bodies offering ISO 9001 certification and other management system certification. However, it is not mandatory for certification bodies providing certification of management systems (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 22000, OHSAS,...) to seek ATS accreditation – so in short; this is legal. (Please read ATS brochures).

ATS accredited CBs are required to meet internationally recognised criteria and are, therefore, not allowed to offer consultancy and certification services to the same client.

Only ATS accredited CBs and their certificated organisations are allowed to make use of the relevant ATS accreditation symbol to indicate their accreditation status.

Assessors

1. How do I become an ATS assessor/technical expert?

If you wish to express an interest in becoming an assessor or technical expert on the ATS Directory of Assessors and Experts, you will need to complete the Application for Assessors and Technical Experts form for ATS. Full details for qualification are available in the procedure entitled ATS-PR02 Selection of Assessors and Technical Experts and Performance Monitoring. For detailed information, please visit Assessors and technical experts.

Conformity assessment bodies

1. Where can an accredited testing laboratory calibrate its key equipment in Serbia with the aim of attaining traceability of measurement acceptable by ATS?

Methods to attain acceptable traceability are defined in the ATS document entitled Rules for Obtaining Acceptable Traceability of Measurement. Such traceability can be obtained in Serbia by means of calibration performed by accredited calibration laboratories (Directory of Accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies – Calibration Laboratories) that calibrate their equipment at the Directorate of Measures and Precious Metals for those areas of calibration provided in the database of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (Bureau international des poids et mesures) - BIPM (BIPM KCDB).

2. Will foreign certificates be automatically recognised after the EA MLA has been signed?

In the Republic of Serbia recognition of the validity of the certificates of conformity issued by foreign conformity assessment bodies, and conformity marks issued abroad is regulated by the Decree on the Mode of Recognition of Foreign Certificates of Conformity and Conformity Marks ("Official Gazette of the RS", No. 98/09) laying down the conditions and procedures for the recognition of the validity of foreign certificates of conformity and conformity marks in the Republic of Serbia on the basis of the Law on Technical Requirements for Products and Conformity Assessment.

WTO accession process requires Serbia to adapt its legislation to the WTO agreements, and all rules and procedures that apply in Serbia and that may have an impact on the free movement of goods need to comply with the WTO rules. However, this is also the case with the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) which, among other things, stipulates the rules and principles related to the application of technical regulations of other countries, and the validity of foreign certificates and conformity marks.

One of the objectives of the decree is to create a legal framework underpinned by the adoption of relevant technical regulations transposing “New Approach” Directives in the field of the EU technical legislation. This will enable commencement of negotiations for the conclusion of international agreements on mutual recognition of certificates issued by foreign CABs and conformity marks, especially when it comes to the conclusion of the adequate international agreement with the EU on conformity assessment and acceptance of industrial products (ACAA - Agreements on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of industrial products) which will enable certain Serbian products or groups of products accompanied by certificates and conformity marks issued by nationally designated conformity assessment bodies to be placed on the EU market without additional conformity assessments or additionally incurred costs.

The said ACAA agreement aims at facilitating the exchange of industrial products between the EU and partner countries. After signing the ACAA agreement, the products covered therein can enter the EU without additional conformity assessment activities, including the EU products to be imported into a signatory to ACAA agreement without further testing or certification activities. A partner country shall be treated as an EU Member State in terms of the products covered by the agreement.

On the 24th May 2012, ATS became a full EA member and signed the EA MLA for the following fields of accreditation: testing laboratories, medical laboratories, calibration laboratories, inspection bodies, and certification bodies providing certification of products. Moreover, ATS signed the new EA MLA on 27th May 2014 that, in addition to testing, calibration, inspection and product certification, now includes certification of management systems and certification of persons.

On 24th May 2012 ATS became a signatory to the ILAC MRA (Mutual Recognition Agreement) for testing and calibration, and on 25th October 2012 ILAC MRA agreement was signed for the field of inspection. Furthermore, on 25th October 2012 ATS became a signatory to the IAF MLA (Multilateral Recognition Agreement) in the field of product certification, on 6th October 2014 ATS signed the new IAF MLA in the field of management system certification and on 20th October 2016 ATS signed the new IAF MLA in the field of certification of persons, on the basis of the said multilateral agreement with EA.

EA MLA is an agreement signed between the EA accreditation body members to recognise the equivalence, reliability and therefore acceptance of accredited certifications, inspections, calibration certificates and test reports across Europe (EA Region).

Moreover, having in mind the abovementioned and requirements of the national legislation, we need to emphasise that respective ministries shall be in charge of the recognition of certificates of conformity issued by foreign conformity assessment bodies. Interested parties should contact the respective ministry to obtain the opinion depending on the product or certificate they are in possession of.

When it comes to the recognition of certificates of conformity issued by the nationally designated CABs or those holding foreign accreditation certificates, domestic producers or exporters will need to be fully acquainted with the (technical) legislation of the country they want to export their products to.

Ministry of Economy - Sector for quality and product safety in 2013 on its website (www.tehnis.privreda.gov.rs) issued an opinion concerning the application by the relevant ministries of certain provisions of the Decree on the Mode of Recognition of Foreign Certificates of Conformity and Conformity Marks ("Official Gazette of the RS", No. 98/09) relating to certain questions concerning the procedure and manner of recognition of foreign documents and signs of conformity, in accordance with the Law on Technical Requirements for Products and Conformity Assessment.

FAQs from the Ministry of Economy - Sector for quality and safety of products on the various issues can be found on the portal TEHNIS (www.tehnis.privreda.gov.rs).

3. What if a conformity assessment body is accredited by accreditation body other than ATS?

ATS is the national signatory, along with other nationally recognised accreditation bodies worldwide, to multilateral agreements for the purposes of mutual recognition through the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA), International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (ILAC). Those bodies that are signatories to these agreements are deemed to be equivalent having undergone the peer evaluations. EA, IAF and ILAC have websites that provide information about their organisations and details of the bodies that are signatory to their agreements.

If you have a certificate from a body which is not ATS accredited, but is accredited by another accreditation body, then you may wish to check if it is a signatory to one of the above multilateral agreements. If  your certificate is from a body that is a signatory to one of the abovementioned multilateral agreements, then the certificate you have is deemed equivalent to the one issued by an ATS-accredited body and the certificate should be recognised in those countries the national accreditation bodies of which are signatories to the EA, IAF  & ILAC multilateral agreements. Regulators (respective ministries) are in charge of the recognition of certificates and reports issued by CABs accredited by MLA signatory ABs depending on the legal requirements and signed international agreements.

4. I am interested in importing a product into the Republic of Serbia. How do I find out if it needs to be certified to particular standards before being imported and offered for sale?

Information on requirements that apply to imported products (such as whether they need to be certified as meeting particular standards) can be obtained from the Ministry of Economy at http://www.privreda.gov.rs.

5. I want to get my product certified for export. How do I go about this?

Export requirements are generally set by the country you are exporting to. ATS does not have information on export requirements. However, domestic producers or exporters will need to be fully acquainted with the (technical) legislation of the country they want to export their products to.

6. Where can I find all the answers to the queries related to the legislation governing the field of quality infrastructure (standardisation, accreditation, metrology and conformity assessment) in the Republic of Serbia?

Answers to these queries can be found on the Tehnis internet portal created and edited by the Sector for Quality Infrastructure of the Serbian Ministry of Economy.

7. How can I become notified/designated body?

Use of accreditation for the purpose designation and/or authorisation of conformity assessment bodies (CABs) or technical evaluation of products as stipulated in technical legislation (regulations transposing the New Approach Directives of the European Union or other technical regulations adopted to safeguard human safety, life and health, animal and plant safety, environmental safety, consumer safety and other users, and property safety) is laid down in the Law on Technical Requirements for Products and Conformity Assessment (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, No. 36/09). Article 19 of the said Law prescribes that in case of issuing decisions on designation/authorisation it shall be deemed that CABs that are in the possession of accreditation certificates meet the prescribed requirements as defined in the scope of accreditation. Moreover, conformity assessment procedures and products covered by accreditation will be taken into consideration.

When a technical regulation prescribes that conformity assessment shall be performed by a designated conformity assessment body, a decision on the designation thereof shall be made by a minister in charge if the conformity assessment body, that submitted the application for designation, meets the requirements of the technical regulation, whereas the minister in charge shall also take into consideration the accreditation certificate that the conformity assessment body acquired in the course of the accreditation procedure.

The Decree on the Mode of Designation and Authorisation of Conformity Assessment Bodies (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, No. 98/09)* prescribes that fulfilment of designation/authorisation requirements as per the technical regulation shall be determined by a committee that shall, in case of one or more technical regulations, be established by the minister in charge. The said committee shall be composed of at least the following members: one representative of the ministry in charge, one representative of the Accreditation Body of Serbia, that did not participate in the accreditation procedure, and one representative of the Institute for Standardization of Serbia.

Moreover, in the Republic of Serbia accreditation is required on the occasion of authorisation to perform measuring, testing, inspection or certification activities and in other fields to which technical legislation does not necessarily pertain (e.g. Law on Veterinary Matters, Law on Ethanol, Law on Food Safety, Law on Plant Health Products, GI Law, Law on Chemicals, Law on Organic Products, Law on Rakia and Other Alcoholic Beverages, Animal Husbandry Law, Law on Seeds, Law on Waste Management, Law on Waters, Law on the Protection Against Ionising Radiation and Nuclear Safety, Environmental Protection Law, Law on Air Protection, Regulation on the Quality of Raw Milk, Regulation on the Conditions to Be Met by Legal Entities Performing Testing of Radiation Levels of Non-ionising Sources Having Special Importance to the Environment, Regulation on the Conditions to be Met by Technical Organisations Performing Waste Testing, Regulation on the Conditions to be Met by Technical Organisations Performing Noise Measurement Activities,...).

Ever since the Republic of Serbia initiated the process of CAB designation/authorisation in 2010 in line with the Law on Technical Requirements for Products and Conformity Assessment, accreditation was up until now the key and practically the only element of the CAB designation/authorisation procedure when decisions on designation/authorisation were issued by the ministers in charge, although it was not the only way to determine CAB competence.

Article 9 of the Regulation on the Mode of Designation and Authorisation of Conformity Assessment Bodies (Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia No. 98/2009) prescribes that a Directory of Designated/Authorised Conformity Assessment Bodies shall be kept.

The said Directory is available at: http://www.tehnis.privreda.gov.rs. Data on accredited and authorised CABs from other fields can be found on websites of the respective ministries.

If you have a question concerning accreditation that is not covered above, please send your enquiry to office@ats.rs, where an ATS member of staff will aim to respond to you as soon as possible.