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  • Accreditation can lead to greater business success for conformity assessment bodies, as it results in increased client confidence in the standard of operations and personnel.
  • This was noted by Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), Sharonmae Shirley, who was addressing a Jamaica Information Service ‘Think Tank’ on Wednesday (September 5).
  • She said testimonials from accredited conformity assessment bodies, such as medical and testing laboratories and inspection bodies locally and regionally, indicate that they experience growth following accreditation.

Accreditation can lead to greater business success for conformity assessment bodies, as it results in increased client confidence in the standard of operations and personnel.

This was noted by Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), Sharonmae Shirley, who was addressing a Jamaica Information Service ‘Think Tank’ on Wednesday (September 5).

She said testimonials from accredited conformity assessment bodies, such as medical and testing laboratories and inspection bodies locally and regionally, indicate that they experience growth following accreditation.

“The numbers of clients have grown… because their operational structures have improved and they are more efficient. At first when they started the process, it may have seemed onerous and costly, but they recognise the value because they now have systems in place that correct any sort of non-conformance,” Mrs. Shirley said.

“From a financial perspective, they have benefited,” she added.

She said conformity assessment bodies can get consultancy support through the National Accreditation Focal Point of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), which works through the Caribbean Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality, in getting prepared for the accreditation process.

She said the first step is for laboratories or inspection bodies to acquire the relevant standard from the BSJ. They should then get in touch with JANAAC for pre-assessment.

Lead Assessor with JANAAC, Eban Hutton, said the accreditation process includes an initial document review, to ascertain whether quality manuals, procedures and methods of the laboratory or inspection body conform to the standards they are seeking accreditation against.

After findings from this review have been addressed, further assessments will be carried out with a view to issuing the accreditation certificate, when relevant non-conformities have been addressed. The accreditation cycle is four years, but surveillance assessment is carried out throughout the period, with reassessment conducted in the fourth year.

“We see accreditation as assisting with our national quality infrastructure and also impacting the safety of goods and services offered to Jamaica,” Mr. Hutton said.

JANAAC is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, established as Jamaica’s national accreditation body to provide accreditation services to conformity assessment bodies (CABs) such as laboratories, inspection bodies and certification bodies.

JANAAC, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, has a presence in seven CARICOM states. It has accredited 16 testing laboratories, 10 medical laboratories and one inspection body.