Accreditation's gate in France

Vocation and mission

Our vocation

In 1994, when Cofrac was created, the objective of the public authorities was to create a ‘Eurocompatible’ system, in compliance with European and international practices in terms of accreditation of conformity assessment bodies, intended to promote the mutual recognition of services carried out by accredited entities. Cofrac is therefore at the top of the structure sought by the public authorities in the pyramid of trust.

Certifying that accredited bodies are competent and impartial, obtaining international acceptance of their services and recognising the competence of laboratories, inspection and certification bodies: this is the twofold mission of Cofrac, the French Accreditation Committee, conducted in line with national regulations and European directives.

Whether it is sought in order to comply with regulations, to obtain ministerial approval or, voluntarily, to demonstrate expertise, accreditation represents a competitive advantage and a stirring project that will eventually bring a return on investment.

As a major player in conformity assessment, Cofrac enjoys the trust of the public authorities, its partners, the accredited bodies and their customers. All of these parties are believers in accreditation, convinced of its added values: legitimate competence, confidence of the economic players, international recognition that opens the doors to export. Our job is to establish confidence and trust. At Cofrac, we work each and every day to earn them.

Our mission

The validation of competence and the pertinence of a quality organisation require strong commitment to the job.

This is why the process leading to accreditation is so rigorous. Between receipt of the application and the final decision, a number of procedures have to be successfully completed: preliminary analysis of the application, definition of the audit programme, constitution of the audit team, evaluation, writing up and analysis of the report, and, lastly, the decision and issuing of accreditation.

A clearly-defined accreditation scope for a defined period.

Accreditation is not issued for a company's complete range of activity or for an indefinite period. It is obtained for a specific field or competence*, or geographical sites and for a renewable defined period, during which monitoring audits will take place.

*On this subject, we also speak of scope. Scope can be considered the expression of the competencies related to the accreditation or the application for accreditation. Flexible scope is scope that allows an accredited body to extend the scope of its accredited services without preliminary assessment by Cofrac, provided, however, that the services in question remain within a well-defined perimeter and the conformity assessment body has initially demonstrated its competence in this previously identified scope of competence.

Good arbitration relies on strict compliance with the codes of practice: independence, impartiality, transparency and confidentiality are the foundations on which accreditation decisions are built. Within Cofrac, all of the players (accredited bodies, customers of conformity assessment bodies, consumers and public authorities) are represented in a balanced way. They are implicated in the life of Cofrac. As guarantors of the system, they thus contribute to its legitimacy