Important Terms from A to Z
DAkkS (Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH)
DAkkS has been the exclusive provider for accreditation in the Federal Republic of Germany since 2010. Its task is to accredit and monitor conformity assessment bodies such as laboratories and certification bodies. Accreditation ensures that conformity assessment bodies work competently and comply with applicable requirements.
The word “accredit” (Latin origin) means “to give credence to.” So accreditations are official evaluations that the general public as well as institutions and companies trust. As defined in the DIN EN ISO/IEC 17001 standard, "accreditation refers to third-party attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks." In other words, accreditations are meant to ensure that the accredited conformity assessment bodies process their conformity assessments reliably, including the audit of products, services, processes, systems, etc. in terms of both their quality and safety and their fulfilment of the minimum technical standards, as well as the requirements of existing norms/standards, guidelines and laws.
The process of accreditation is broken down into four phases: application, evaluation, accreditation and monitoring. Once an application has been submitted by a conformity assessment body – e.g. a lab, certification and inspection body, a provider of proficiency tests or a producer of reference material – the documents are examined by DAkkS. These assessment results are then forwarded to an accreditation committee, which decides whether to issue the accreditation. On successful completion of the application, DAkkS confirms conformity with the relevant standards and thus the technical adequacy. Accreditation is followed by monitoring at fixed intervals to renew and ensure proof of competence. Accreditation is usually valid for five years, after which re-accreditation is required.
As an office vested with public authority, DAkkS is subject to federal government supervision in order to be able to carry out its public authority accreditation tasks. In activities where it exercises public authority accreditation, DAkkS applies German administrative law. DAkkS also carries out accreditation procedures outside the Member States of the EU and EFTA. However, these are considered non-public authority accreditation procedures. DAkkS fulfills the requirements for accreditation bodies as defined in the DIN EN ISO/IEC 17011 standard.
Status: December 2015
All information subject to change. Errors and omissions excepted.