Mianes, R.L. & ten Caten, C.S. Accred Qual Assur (2017) 22: 119. doi:10.1007/s00769-017-1260-1
Each year, an increasing demand for proficiency testing is seen in the world. Participating in this type of activity has been adopted by testing and calibration laboratories, accredited under the ISO/IEC 17025 standard (General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories), as a means to meet normative and regulatory requirements. Nevertheless, the availability of proficiency testing schemes organised by providers accredited under the ISO/IEC 17043 standard (Conformity assessment—General requirements for proficiency testing) has been insufficient, which poses challenges to laboratories. Considering the similarities between requirements present in both standards, which would allow for their coexistence in a management system, this paper presents an analysis of potential conflicts of interest within an organisation operating simultaneously as proficiency testing provider and testing and calibration laboratory. Aspects of confidentiality, impartiality and undue internal pressures are discussed, and a procedure is proposed to mitigate such conflicts through a web application that codifies the relationship between laboratories and results with no human interaction. In order to minimise possible subjective aspects, the study was validated by a group of metrology specialists. It was concluded that the proposed simultaneous operation is possible and can effectively contribute to reduce shortage in the availability of such a service.