History and origins of DAkkS
1. DAkkS – Accreditation from one source
Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS) started its operations on 1 January 2010. With the establishment of this national accreditation body, Germany is meeting the European requirement for the standardisation of the accreditation system. This step opens a new chapter in the German accreditation system and bundles the extensive experience and competencies of the previous 20 bodies into a new structure.
2. Looking back: Development of the accreditation system to the establishment of DAkkS
Fragmented accreditation system in Germany
Differently from numerous other countries, until 2009 Germany did not have one single accreditation body but rather a fragmented accreditation system that was made up of approximately 20 private and public accreditation bodies in areas that sometimes overlapped. The German Accreditation Council (DAR, Deutsche Akkreditierungsrat) assumed responsibility for the cooperation and coordination of accreditation players in 1991; it discontinued its activities following the establishment of DAkkS at the end of 2010.
Regulated and unregulated area
The accreditation system made a distinction between legally regulated and non-regulated areas. The regulated area mainly consisted of Federal state bodies (e.g. ZLS Zentralstelle der Länder für Sicherheitstechnik) or also federal accreditation bodies (e.g. Federal Network Agency).
Outside of the legally regulated area, private accreditation bodies also awarded accreditations in order to promote the establishment of trust in business transactions and to facilitate market access. Conformity assessment bodies offering services in legally regulated and non-regulated areas had to obtain multiple accreditations due to this demarcation.
Establishment of the German Association for Accreditation GmbH (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Akkreditierung or DGA)
In view of the major imminent changes to the German accreditation system at the beginning of 2010 as a result of the coming into force of Regulation (EC) No. 765/2008 as well as the adoption of the Accreditation Body Act (AkkStelleG) by the Bundestag in July 2009, the three most important private accreditation companies made the decision to merge. The German Association for Accreditation GmbH (DGA) was born out of the Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle Chemie GmbH (DACH), Deutsches Akkreditierungssystem Prüfwesen GmbH (DAP) and the Trägergemeinschaft für Akkreditierung GmbH/DATech (TGA/DATech) in September 2009. The member status of DACH, DAP and TGA/DATech in the European accreditation organisations EA was transferred to the DGA as part of the merger.
3. Establishment of Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS)
Establishment, amalgamation and entrustment for DAkkS
Section 8 AkkStelleG sets out that a legal entity under private law may be entrusted with the duties and authorisations of an accreditation body. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), which is responsible for the establishment of the national accreditation body, made the decision to establish a new GmbH, which could later be amalgamated with existing organisations and be entrusted. Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH was founded with the articles of association of 16 October 2009 (initially 100% federal government involvement).
On 17 December 2009, the DGA (formerly DACH, DAP and TGA/DATECH), which was formed in September 2009, was amalgamated with DAkkS. In addition, the German calibration service (Deutsche Kalibrierdienst (DKD)) was transferred to DAkkS via an organisational order of the BMWi.
A third of the shares in DAkkS were transferred to industry, represented by the Federation of German Industries (BDI) as a result of the amalgamation with the DGA. Since, as a result of the amalgamation, DAkkS was now in a position to be entrusted with duties and authorisations in terms of Section 10 AkkStelleG, it was entrusted with the duties and authorisations of a national accreditation body with the adoption of the Regulation on the Authorisation of the Accreditation Body as per the Ordinance on the Entrustment of the Accreditation Body (AkkStelleGBV), which was adopted on 21 December 2009. The organisation was subsequently entered into the trade register.
4. Start of DAkkS in January 2010
DAkkS assumed its business activities as a national accreditation body on 1 January 2010. By virtue of its entrustment, DAkkS acts as a public authority body, is subject to German administrative law and carries out its accreditation activities pursuant to Regulation (EC) No. 765/2008.
With the merger of the formerly private companies under the umbrella of the new Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH and the entrustment of DAkkS, Germany subsequently trusted the infrastructure, experience and technical competencies of the existing players in the accreditation area as a result of the reorganisation. The current locations of the transferred companies and organisations (Berlin, Frankfurt am Main and Braunschweig) have remained, and the employees of the previous companies and the pool of assessors have also stayed the same.
Validity of the accreditation, transition regulations and recognition
Existing accreditations from accreditation bodies that were transferred to DAkkS (DGA, DACH, DAP, TGA/DATech und DKD) or other government and private accreditation bodies will remain valid until their expiry date (but no later than 31 December 2014). If they are listed in the database of accredited bodies, they will now be monitored by DAkkS.
DAkkS is a member of the European Cooperation for Accreditation (EA). This warrants the continued international recognition of the accreditations.