The Route to Accreditation

The route to accreditation should be a logical and Standards-based process, without bias or agenda.

ALAB strictly adheres to the protocols defined in ISO/IEC 17011 and has developed an approach that is based on our experience and feedback from laboratories.

Initial Application
Document Review
On-Site Assessment
Assessment Report
Responding to Findings
Review and Decision

Our accreditation process follows the rules model reviewed and approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The Rules Governing the Use of the ALAB Accreditation Symbol are published on the ACCC website or you may download a copy here.

Initial Application for Accreditation

Once we receive your completed and signed application form together with the application fee we will assign  an Assessment Manager who will be your point of contact throughout the application process.

 

The Assessment Manager will contact you to arrange for the following documentation to be provided to ALAB:

  • Intended accreditation scope - testing

  • Intended accreditation scope - calibration

  • List of authorised signatories

  • Test methods to be included within the proposed scope of accreditation

  • Uncertainty calculations spreadsheet

  • List of test and calibration equipment relevant to the scope

  • Evidence of traceability

  • Details of in-house calibration (if performed)

  • Details of proficiency testing / measurement audits / comparison tests performed

  • Sample reports issued by the facility

  • Quality system policies and procedures

Good to know:

Additions to the proposed accreditation scope received during the initial application process may involve additional assessment resources or assessment time and so may require a modified fee proposal.

In the event of withdrawal of application the application fee may be refunded less an amount reflecting the work we have already performed.

Document Review

The document review is conducted off-site by an ALAB Assessor assisted where necessary by an ALAB Technical Expert.

 

The document review is intended to determine whether the laboratory's management system and procedures support the proposed accreditation scope and are in compliance with ISO/IEC 17025.

 

We will report the findings from the document review to you. Any actionable findings raised during the document review phase will need to be addressed before we can proceed to the On-Site Assessment.

Good to know:

The document review or 'desk-top review' enables ALAB to form a clear understanding of your laboratory systems, how your organization is structured and, of course, who's who in the lab.

 

Try to present your system in a concise form - for example, your quality manual accompanied by your procedures manual would be helpful.

On-Site Assessment

This is your opportunity to show us how you shine! Once you are ready, we will visit your facility and perform an implementation assessment using your procedures and the Standard as reference.

 

The duration of the initial assessment will be in accordance with the proposal, provided that no variations to duration are recommended as a result of application and document reviews.

 

The initial assessment will be conducted by an ALAB Assessor assisted by an ALAB Technical Expert. The ALAB Assessor will concentrate on the laboratory management systems and the ALAB Technical Expert will concentrate on the technical competence of the facility, including precision and measurement uncertainty as applicable. 

The scope of the initial assessment will cover your proposed scope as defined in the application.

The ALAB assessment team will prepare a list of findings during the assessment and present the findings and recommendation to Management during the closing meeting.

Following the assessment, your ALAB Assessment Manager will prepare a report which will address all relevant aspects of the Standards. The draft report will be provided for your review and acceptance.

Good to know:

The on-site assessment will be structured according to the plan we send you in advance and will commence with an opening meeting for Management and Staff where we will introduce the plan and objectives.

 

The ALAB team will then look at the lab in practice and interview staff members and management about their jobs. Interviews are designed to provide every opportunity for your people to demonstrate their skills and discuss their jobs and are conducted in a pleasant non-confrontational atmosphere.

 

At the end of the assessment we will hold a closing meeting where our findings will be presented. No surprises! All findings are presented on-site and by the time our team departs, the recommendation will be clear.

The Assessment Report

ALAB's assessment report has two parts - a list of findings and a full report.

The list of findings - think of it as a list of action items - is left with you before our team departs from your site. Each finding states what was observed and why it does not conform with the Standard. The finding will specify the clause number of the Standard so that you can appreciate its context. 

 

The full report follows within two weeks of the assessment. The full report will address all aspects given in the assessment plan and will include positive findings as well as repeating the list of findings left with you at the on-site assessment.

Good to know:

You will always be given the opportunity to review the report and provide your comments or corrections to ALAB. Only once you are comfortable with the report will we submit it for accreditation decision.

Responding to ALAB's findings

How do I respond to an ALAB finding? Findings are instances of nonconformity with the accreditation Standard but importantly they are opportunities for improvement to the lab’s systems and reduction of risk to the organisation from inaccurate or inconsistent test or calibration results.

 

ALAB operates a quality-based approach to findings - it’s in our DNA - we will always approach findings from a continuous improvement standpoint and so you can expect that an ALAB finding will be an opportunity for you to improve your business. 

 

ALAB expects that when you address findings you also approach them in a positive way. The best advice we can give you is to follow the correction|root cause|corrective action model (more on this in our FAQ page).

ISO

Review and Decision

Once the findings have been addressed and closed, the assessment team's recommendation will be reviewed by ALAB's Advisory Council. The Council is made up of independent and impartial representatives of the community, industry and government.

 

The council is asked to review the report and consider the Team's recommendation. The decision is provided within three weeks and will include a rationale for any decision that does not agree with the ALAB assessment team.

Good to know:

ALAB's Advisory Council members are all familiar with laboratory operations and have experience of accreditation. Council members are not active laboratory personnel but are stakeholders who share a common commitment to excellence in Australia's testing and calibration sector.