DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ATTESTATION AND CERTIFICATION OF COMPETENCIES IN NON-REGULAR PROFESSIONS
According to recent Confcommercio data, the 100 percent increase in the number of professionals not registered with Orders, Boards or Colleges over the past 12 years, stimulated in part by the progress of new professions related to emerging technologies, shows an increasing use of self-regulation provided for by Law 4/2013. This choice is being adopted by an increasing number of professional categories seeking recognition for their skills.
There are currently 445,000 professionals in Italy who are not registered with Bar Associations but have a VAT number, a 4 percent increase over the pre-Covid period. Of these, 53% are men, 47% women, and 60% carry out their activities independently, while the remaining 40% collaborate with other professionals.
Law 4/2013 was enacted to introduce a new discipline for professions not organized in Orders or Colleges and to create an innovative model of representation for these professional workers. The goal is to build a transparent and competitive system based on competencies, with those who can validate, aggregate and certify them, considering that these competencies are not easily recognized through a regulated market system.
Self-regulation of professionals is based on attestation issued by the professional body and certification in accordance with the profession-specific UNI standard. The differences and strengths of these two levels of qualification are a crucial issue that requires careful study to avoid misunderstanding and confusion in the marketplace.
The UNI technical standard for unregulated professional activities establishes requirements, competencies, modes of practice and communication with the user.
Professionals not affiliated with an association can also obtain a certificate of compliance with the UNI standard, subject to evaluation by a body accredited by Accredia, such as Ricec. This certificate attests to compliance with the specifications of the profession in question, providing clearly defined requirements that give professionals security through recognition of their competence.
In contrast, the attestation of service quality and competence, issued by an association, applies only to individuals. This instrument encourages innovative representation aimed at enhancing service quality in the context of values shared by members.
To distinguish between attestation and quality certification, a circular issued by the Ministry of Business and Made in Italy points out that the attestation cannot be equated with a quality certification, accreditation or professional recognition. The attestation certifies the professional’s regular membership in the association, thus highlighting two distinctly different forms of qualification, underscoring the importance of avoiding the use of identical descriptions for completely different phenomena.