Swedac's independence policy from an accreditation perspective

Swedac is designated as a national accreditation body in accordance with EU 765/2008. The regulation requires that accreditation bodies must comply with ISO/IEC 17011 and in particular the requirements for independence.

The Swedish constitution forbids the government to seek to influence how the authorities decide in individual cases. (RF 12:2 Reprint: SFS 2011:109) The authorities are not subject to an individual minister but the Government as a collective. Swedac is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Swedac’s assignment is to promote effective conformity assessment procedures, which means that Swedac must decline when this is justified. Furthermore, laws/regulations are sent out for consultation, which allows stakeholders, e.g. regulatory authorities, industry organisations and accredited bodies, the opportunity to influence a proposal.

Swedac has no profit interest and does not offer any accreditation services or consultation in accreditation that would call our independence into question.

Accredited bodies pay a fixed annual fee. What is and is not included is governed by our fee regulations. The fee regulations also govern when additional fees are chargeable and how debiting should take place. All customers are treated equally based on the regulations regardless of size, focus or type of organisation.

An employee may not handle a case where the person has any form of conflict of interest. Anyone who is aware of a circumstance that may be considered as a conflict of interest against him/her must make it known of his/her own accord. (Administrative Procedure Act, 2017:900, § 16). Holding a side-line activity must be reported on an ongoing basis and impartiality shall be assessed.
When recruiting external resources (technical assessors/advisers), these must sign a “Declaration of impartiality” in connection with confirmation of call-off order/signing an agreement for an assignment.

The management must continuously monitor that the work is performed in an impartial manner. Each employee is responsible for identifying and reporting circumstances that pose a threat to impartiality. When risks or threats to impartiality have been identified, action must be taken to minimise/eliminate them. This is particularly important in the event of changes in the business.

Excerpts from our base values

  • We always act professionally by being available, responsive and objective
  • We demonstrate trust in each other and our external contacts by acting with integrity, confidence and courage
  • We comply with the current legal framework

Through Swedac’s instruction, SFS 2009:895, the Government has decided that the authority shall have an advisory council. The advisory council’s area of responsibility is defined in the Government Agencies Ordinance, 2007:515. Swedac’s advisory council exercises transparency in the activities and gives advice to the Director General.
The need for democratic transparency and civic influence is met by means of the advisory council.
The role of the advisory council includes to follow, evaluate and maintain the principles and overall policies for the accreditation activities. The authority’s accreditation committee therefore reports to the advisory council on a regular basis.

The accreditation committee shall ensure that the assignment as national accreditation body is performed in accordance with applicable requirements and that activities are conducted in an impartial manner and in accordance with applicable requirements documents.
Swedac’s accreditation committee exercises transparency in the accreditation activities and gives advice to the head of department for accreditation (AC AVA). Decisions in subjects of major importance and fundamental importance should, in normal cases, be preceded by discussion in the accreditation committee before decisions are made.