Laboratory accreditation bodies worldwide use proficiency testing schemes as part of the assessment process to validate the ability of laboratories to competently perform tests for which accreditation is held. Proficiency tests complement the traditional technique of an on-site laboratory review by technical experts.
IANZ operates the proficiency testing scheme in accordance to:
ISO 17043: 2010 Proficiency testing by interlaboratory comparisons Part 1: Development and operation of proficiency testing schemes.
The primary aims of proficiency testing schemes are:
- Establishing the effectiveness and precision of test methods
- Checking the individual testing performance of laboratory staff
- Determining the characteristics of a material to a particular degree of accuracy (such as in the preparation of reference materials).
By participating in a proficiency testing scheme, accredited laboratories will:
- Identify any problem in the laboratory, e.g. individual staff competence, calibration of instrumentation, and initiate remedial action
- Provide clients with additional confidence in the test results.
Assessors may, where appropriate, utilise the data generated by other laboratory test comparisons in which accredited laboratories participate.
Participation in Proficiency Testing Schemes
Participation in proficiency testing schemes provides laboratories with an objective means of assessing and demonstrating the reliability of the data they are producing.
Accredited laboratories are encouraged to participate in as many (other) proficiency testing programmes as possible to enhance their external quality assurance. Please contact the IANZ Proficiency Testing Programme Manager for further details.
Other proficiency testing programmes
Links to three such programme directories are provided below. These directories are by no means exhaustive and the listing of a programme does not imply endorsement by International Accreditation New Zealand.
Proficiency testing is an important tool for the Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation in evaluating the comparability of tests and calibration results among laboratories accredited by APLAC members. To this end, APLAC provides a series of proficiency testing programs, each of which is coordinated by an APLAC member accreditation body.
An updated list and current status of interlaboratory comparisons appears on http://www.aplac.org/aplac_pt_programs.html
EPTIS – European Information System for Proficiency Testing Schemes
EPTIS operates an internet-based directory of proficiency testing schemes in Europe. It is a joint publication of sixteen European partners.
NATA provides a list of accredited Proficiency Testing facilities and laboratories.