It has been three years in May 2015 since the Accreditation Body of Serbia (ATS) signed the multilateral agreement with the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA MLA).
Before acquiring the full EA membership status ATS had to build its capacities and hence the new Law on Accreditation was being amended in the period between 2009 and 2012 as it had to be harmonised with Regulation (EC) No. 765/2008. On the other hand, the accreditation process was upgraded by means of the adoption of the new issues of and amendments to the management system documents allowing a modern accreditation system to be put in place, including the new efficient and fast procedures that made the work of the ATS employees easier.
In March 2010, the Accreditation Body of Serbia was pre-evaluated when ATS was assessed by the EA team as a competent and reliable partner.
Positive results of the pre-evaluation visit created a basis for the first peer assessment of ATS that was carried out in the period between 27th June and 1st July 2011 by the EA team of peer evaluators that had to evaluate whether the established accreditation system was in accordance with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17011, relevant requirements of the EU legislation (Regulation (EC) No 765/2008), and with guides and guidelines of international organisations for accreditation. It was concluded that a required legal basis for the operation of the national accreditation body in Serbia was put in place and that ATS used adequate procedures that were being constantly upgraded, whereas the competence of assessors and experts was confirmed.
The next peer evaluation was carried out in September 2013 following which the scope of the EA MLA was extended in order to include, in addition to testing laboratories, medical laboratories, calibration laboratories, inspection bodies and certification bodies providing certification of products, certification bodies providing certification of management systems and certification of persons.
The signed EA MLA also enabled global recognitition of ATS so in October 2012 ATS signed the MLA with the International Accreditation Forum in the field of product certification, whereas on 6th October 2014 ATS signed the new IAF MLA in the field of management system certification. Moreover, ATS became a signatory to the ILAC MRA for testing and calibration, and in October 2012 the ILAC MRA was signed for the field of inspection.
Signing of these international agreements enabled conformance of products, processes and services with the requirements of regulations, standards and technical specifications to become a prerequisite for the attainment of competitiveness on the EU and world markets. Hence observance of regulations and standards ensured safety of products and free movement on the market, protection of human health, consumer protection, environmental protection and other fields of public importance. Networking of the Serbian accreditation system with those of the EU and world confirmed the reliability of conformity assessment results (reports and certificates) issued by conformity assessment bodies (CABs) accredited by the MLA signatories.
At the end of 2009, there were 373 ATS-accredited CABs, whereas now there are 526 ATS-accredited CABs and this allowed ATS to become an accreditation body with the greatest number of accredited CABs in the region.
In addition to international agreements ATS concluded agreements on bilateral cooperation in the field of accreditation with the bodies from the following countries in the region - Hungary, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, FYR of Macedonia, Croatia, Romania, Slovak Republic and Slovenia, whereby a long-term cooperation between ATS and those regional accreditation bodies was formally recognised.