The Route to Accreditation
The route to accreditation is 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.
Responding to Findings
Review and Decision
If you wish to transfer your accreditation from another Accreditation Body please read this first
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.
Review of Documented Information
The review is conducted off-site by an ALAB Assessor assisted where necessary by an ALAB Technical Expert.
Documented information includes policies and procedures as well as selected records. The review is intended to determine whether the laboratory's management systems are documented, are operational, and support the proposed accreditation scope.
ALAB will provide a self-assessment checklist for you to complete. This uses the logic and structure of the accreditation Standard and provides you the opportunity to indicate to ALAB precisely how your laboratory meets the various requirements of ISO/IEC 17025
We will report the findings from the review to you. Any actionable findings raised during the review phase will need to be addressed before we can proceed to the On-Site Assessment.
Good to know:
The review of documented information 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 accurately indicate in the checklist how you meet the requirements of the Standard and the precise reference where the documented evidence may be found. This will greatly assist the ALAB assessment team and reduce the amount of time spent on the review.
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 on-site assessment will be in accordance with the proposal, provided that no variations to duration are recommended as a result of application review and the review of documented information.
The 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 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 and will include all findings. The findings will then be sent to a completely independent Technical Expert for review prior to the report being sent to you.
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. 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. Following the closing meeting, any adjustments to the findings as a result of the independent technical review will be advised immediately.
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).
Review and Decision
Once the findings have been addressed and closed, the assessment team's recommendation accompanied by supporting information will be reviewed by ALAB's Independent Review Panel. The Panel is made up of an independent assessor, the independent technical expert and the Accreditation Manager.
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 Independent Review Panel members are all familiar with laboratory operations and have experience of accreditation. Panel members share a common commitment to excellence in Australia's testing and calibration sector.