The primary aims of proficiency testing schemes are:
• Checking the individual testing performance of a laboratory and/or laboratory staff, or;
• Establishing the effectiveness and precision of test methods, or;
• 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, laboratories will:
• Identify problems in the laboratory, (e.g. individual staff competence, calibration of instrumentation), and initiate remedial action;
• Provide clients/stakeholders with additional confidence in the test results.
Participation in proficiency testing schemes provides laboratories with an objective means of assessing and demonstrating the reliability of the data they are producing. 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. Accredited laboratories are required to participate in as many proficiency testing programmes as possible to enhance their external quality assurance.
As a result, the integrity of the schemes provided to laboratories is vital to the reliability of the conclusions that can be drawn from the results of participation in such schemes. One means that providers can demonstrate the validity of the schemes they offer is through accreditation by IANZ. IANZ Accreditation as a Proficiency Testing Provider can be granted to any organisation providing proficiency testing schemes, whether to test the proficiency of participating laboratories, to validate testing methodology, or to characterise a reference material.
Fee Schedules can be found at the bottom of the 'Get accredited' page.
The scope of accreditation of an accredited Proficiency Testing Provider is, in general, classified according to the specific scheme offered, then further by the type(s) of samples tested and/or, the testing conducted.
Currently accredited schemes include the following areas:
• Food and beverage microbiology
• Food and beverage chemistry
• Waters and environmental microbiology
• Waters and environmental chemistry
• Construction materials
• Mechanical properties and NDT
• Asbestos – identification & fibre counts