It is important for those seeking accreditation to understand the process from application to attaining accreditation may take up to six months and this may vary depending on your state of readiness.
The accreditation process includes the following steps:
- Readiness and eligibility
- Advisory visit
- Application and document review
- Initial assessment
- Addressing any findings (submission process)
- Granting of accreditation
To begin the process, organisations must first satisfy the operating criteria specified in the relevant Standard for which they wish to be accredited as well as applicable NATA requirements.
We strongly recommend organisations seeking accreditation first review the NATA Accreditation Criteria (NAC) relevant to their application and industry. These documents can be found on our website.
We also encourage prospective organisations to contact a NATA Accreditation Specialist to discuss any needs and requirements.
Any legal organisation that provides testing, inspection, examination, calibration or related services can apply for NATA accreditation.
An application form will be provided by NATA after an initial discussion with a NATA Accreditation Specialist.
As part of an application, your organisation must nominate an Authorised Representative to be its official contact with NATA. The rights and obligations of this person are detailed in the NATA Rules.
NATA Advisory visit
Once NATA has established eligibility and the Standard relevant to your accreditation, a NATA Accreditation Specialist will conduct an advisory visit. This is an on-site informal review of the organisation to identify any areas requiring attention in relation to accreditation requirements.
This visit is also an opportunity for the organisation to clarify any questions or process steps they have in relation to the accreditation.
Application and document review
After your advisory visit, your NATA Accreditation Specialist will send you an Application for Accreditation and request a number of documents to review in readiness for your initial assessment.
At the initial assessment, the organisation is asked to demonstrate competence and compliance with the accreditation criteria.
This assessment involves a thorough review of relevant documents and records, discussions with staff and of witnessing activities proposed for accreditation.
The assessment will generally take a minimum of one day but may extend to several days depending on the extent and complexity of the activities the organisation is requesting to be accredited.
A meeting will be held at the completion of the assessment to review and report the assessment findings. These findings will be confirmed in a formal report, usually within 2 weeks of the initial assessment visit.
Addressing assessment findings (Submissions process)
Where the assessment findings identify non-conformities, the organisation may be required to take appropriate corrective actions before accreditation can be considered.
NATA Accreditation Specialists will work closely with the organisation during this time to ensure its submission is reviewed efficiently.
Once all the criteria for accreditation are satisfied, a recommendation for the ‘Granting of Accreditation’ will be submitted to the relevant Accreditation Advisory Committee (AAC).
The AAC then makes its recommendation for NATA to consider.
Once you receive formal approval of your accreditation, you are able to apply the NATA endorsement to your reports to promote your accreditation to your customers and clients.
The NATA endorsement is widely recognised in Australia and overseas as a symbol of competence and reliability.
NATA will also promote your organisation’s accreditation on the NATA website directory.
Scope of accreditation
The scope of accreditation is the collective expression of a facility’s accredited capabilities. The scope of accreditation includes a number of data sets in a tabular format. Every accredited organisation’s scope of accreditation is available on the NATA website, including its accreditation status.
Accreditation is maintained by NATA through conducting assessments at regular intervals to ensure continued compliance with the accreditation criteria.
Throughout the accreditation cycle, the organisation also has the opportunity to amend its scope of accreditation to have new activities covered or existing activities removed.
NATA accreditation in overseas economies
As a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and its recognised regional body, the Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC),
NATA can consider offering overseas accreditation when:
- There is no national accreditation body
- The national accreditation body is not a signatory to the ILAC
- The national accreditation body does not offer accreditation for a specific conformity assessment activity
Consideration may also be given to Australian businesses operating outside Australia where NATA accreditation is preferred, and to businesses located outside Australia for which NATA accreditation will provide a benefit to Australia.
Information provided by an organisation in connection with an assessment is always treated as confidential by NATA.