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IAF Chair's Message
June 9th marks World Accreditation Day. World Accreditation Day is a bridge to link the accreditation community with stakeholders.

Engagement with stakeholders ensures that accreditation and the International Accreditation Forum Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (IAF MLA) continue to meet market, regulatory and public needs. The accreditation community is a worldwide network, and engagement with stakeholders takes place at different levels.

In many countries across the world, various events, workshops and seminars on accreditation will take place in conjunction with the celebration of World Accreditation Day. These activities will provide a great opportunity for interaction with stakeholders at national levels to obtain their inputs and feedback.

At the global level, IAF continues to enhance its engagement with relevant international organizations. IAF, jointly with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), recently provided input into an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) research project on international regulatory co-operation and trade. IAF and ILAC have also contributed to the revision of relevant Recommendations of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation and Standardization Policies.

In the recently revised UNECE Recommendation G on Recognition of Conformity Assessment Procedures and Results, it is recommended that governments should promote the use of existing international multilateral mutual recognition arrangements among national accreditation bodies (e.g. IAF MLA and ILAC MRA).

IAF is currently considering a number of joint communications and publications, e.g. developing a joint communications strategy with ILAC and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), developing a joint high-level document on the expected outcomes of all certifications with ISO, and holding a joint Users Day with ISO/CASCO.

IAF is also exploring opportunities to enhance relationships with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in order to support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

IAF, jointly with ILAC, continues to collaborate with other international organizations, including the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), World Trade Organization/Technical Barriers to Trade Committee (WTO/TBT Committee), International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and others. Looking forward, IAF and ILAC are developing a communication strategy with selected stakeholders and will enhance listening/feedback mechanisms.

In addition to communication and promotion, IAF has various strategic goals to be achieved in response to the expectations of stakeholders and Members, and needs to respond to various issues emerging from time to time. Many of these were discussed during the IAF/ILAC Mid-Term Meetings last month in Frankfurt, where Committees, Working Groups and Task Forces worked very hard to progress activities.

At the strategic level, a number of key items were considered by the IAF Executive Committee or jointly with the ILAC Executive Committee, e.g. improvement of MLA peer evaluation processes and resources, improvement of processes for endorsing conformity assessment schemes for MLA sub-scopes, further development of the business case for the IAF Database of Accredited Management System Certifications, mechanisms to improve consistency for accreditation practices, transition to ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015, the soon-to-be-published revision of ISO/IEC 17011, and support to accreditation bodies in developing economies.

As IAF moves on, I want to say that no significant progress can be achieved without everyone who has been participating in and supporting IAF activities, especially our Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs, Working Group and Task Force Conveners, and the Secretariat. As IAF Chair, my appreciation to them is beyond expression.

Secretariat Report
IAF Membership

As of June 2017, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) has 78 Accreditation Body Members, 18 Association Members, 6 Regional Accreditation Group Members, and one Observer organization. A list of current Members is available on the IAF website.

IAF MLA Signatories

The IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) currently has 63 signatories representing 58 economies. Total signatories for each scope are as follows:

Main scope:

Management Systems ISO/IEC 17021: 57 Accreditation Bodies and 3 Regional Accreditation Groups
Product ISO/IEC 17065: 56 Accreditation Bodies and 3 Regional Accreditation Groups
Persons ISO/IEC 17024: 23 Accreditation Bodies and 1 Regional Accreditation Group

Sub Scope Level 4:

GlobalG.A.P. IFA General Regulations: 30 Accreditation Bodies and 3 Regional Accreditation Groups
ISO/TS 22003: 12 Accreditation Bodies and 1 Regional Accreditation Group
ISO/IEC 27006: 4 Accreditation Bodies and 1 Regional Accreditation Group

Sub Scope Level 5:

ISO 9001: 57 Accreditation Bodies and 3 Regional Accreditation Groups
ISO 14001: 53 Accreditation Bodies and 3 Regional Accreditation Groups
GlobalG.A.P. IFA CPCCs: 30 Accreditation Bodies and 3 Regional Accreditation Groups
ISO 22000: 12 Accreditation Bodies and 1 Regional Accreditation Group
ISO/IEC 27001: 4 Accreditation Bodies and 1 Regional Accreditation Group

The scopes that each Accreditation Body or Regional Accreditation Group Member is a signatory for can be viewed on their individual pages on the IAF website.

IAF Meetings

The 2017 Joint IAF-ILAC Mid-Term Meetings were held from 31 March – 07 April in Frankfurt, Germany and included meetings of the IAF Executive Committee, Technical Committee, MLA Committee, User Advisory Committee, Conformity Assessment Body Advisory Committee and a number of Task Forces and Working Groups.

An IAF Communications and Marketing/ILAC Marketing and Communications Committee meeting was subsequently held from March 14-16 in Auckland, New Zealand.

The next IAF-ILAC Joint Meetings will be held in Vancouver, Canada from 21-30 October 2017. These meetings will include the Annual IAF General Assembly, an IAF Board meeting and the Joint IAF-ILAC General Assembly.

The IAF Chair and IAF Secretary attended the Annual ISO/CASCO STAR, CPC and Plenary Meetings in Vancouver, Canada from April 24-28, 2017. The IAF Chair also attended the CASCO workshop.

Recent IAF Publications

IAF has published four revised documents since the last edition of the IAF Newsletter, including the following two IAF-ILAC Joint Publications (A-Series), one Document for General Information, and one Communiqué. IAF documents are available free of charge in the Publications area of the IAF website (iaf.nu).

IAF/ILAC A1:03/2017: IAF/ILAC Multi-Lateral Mutual Recognition Arrangements (Arrangements): Requirements and Procedures for Evaluation of a Regional Group
This document provides ILAC and IAF with requirements or criteria for evaluating Regional Groups for the purpose of recognition. The application date for this document is 21 March 2019.

IAF/ILAC A2:03/2017: IAF/ILAC Multi-Lateral Mutual Recognition Arrangements (Arrangements): Requirements and Procedures for Evaluation of a Single Accreditation Body
This document provides ILAC and IAF with a procedure for evaluating single Accreditation Bodies for the purpose of qualifying them to sign applicable multi-lateral mutual recognition Arrangement(s). The application date for this document is 21 March 2019.

IAF Public Document Responsibility (IAF-EC-11-11 Rev12)
This document lists the IAF Main Committee responsible for each publicly available IAF document. - May 2017

Joint ISO-ILAC-IAF Communiqué on the Management Systems Requirements of ISO/IEC 17025, General Requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories - April 2017

Social Media

Follow IAF on Twitter and LinkedIn for information on publications, promotional materials, member news, liaison activities, events, and meetings. You can also subscribe to the joint IAF-ILAC YouTube channel for promotional videos in a variety of languages.

UNECE Trade Recommendations Reference Accreditation
Through on-going dialogue with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and International Accreditation Forum (IAF) have managed to secure an update to the organisation’s trade recommendations to include references to national accreditation systems and the global arrangements. ILAC and IAF have actively participated in the UNECE Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation & Standardization Policies, which works to:

•    Promote the use of standards by policy-makers and business as a tool for reducing technical barriers to trade, promote increased resilience to disasters, foster innovation and good governance

•    Promote the use of standards in the implementation of UN-wide goals, including the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the Sendai framework for action

Sixteen UNECE recommendations have been adopted to address standardization and regulatory issues. They set out good practice regarding Regulatory cooperation, Metrology, Standards and Norms, Conformity assessment, and Market surveillance.

While these recommendations are not binding and do not aim at rigidly aligning technical regulations across countries, they are used to encourage policy makers to base their regulations on international standards to provide a common denominator to the norms that apply in different markets. ILAC and IAF members are encouraged to make their national authorities aware of these recommendations.

All sixteen recommendations can be downloaded from the UNECE website.

ILAC and IAF provided comments, which were adopted, to:

Recommendation F: Creation and Promotion of International Agreements on Conformity Assessment

Recommendation G: Acceptance of Conformity Assessment Results

Strong Progress on IAF Database
The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Database Management Committee (DMC), in collaboration with consultant Jerry Norris, continue to make good progress on the development of recommendations for the IAF database of accredited management system certificates. The DMC will make these recommendations at the IAF General Assembly in Vancouver in October 2017 in the form of a formal proposal for the establishment of the IAF database.

At the heart of this work is the Principles document that the DMC consulted with the IAF membership on twice. The work now being carried out is to ensure that all these Principles can be adhered to in the database, from the security of information and the management of costs to the simplicity of data gathering.

One of the key tasks is the selection of potential vendors to develop and manage the database. A number have already been approached and ultimately those deemed suitable will be asked to submit a formal tender. Evaluation of the tender will be carried out, again with the Principles at the heart of the decision-making process. A final proposal from the DMC for the preferred vendor will be one of the key elements of the October presentation.

DMC Chair Randy Dougherty says, ‘the database presents a very significant opportunity for accreditation and accredited management system certification to really stand out as a global tool for business and governments to use. I am pleased with the progress with the DMC’s work which will demonstrate to the IAF membership that this will be a major asset for IAF, its members and most importantly the users of accredited certification’.

The DMC is always happy to hear any ideas or suggestions the IAF membership has on the database. These can be forwarded to Randy at rdougherty@anab.org or IAF Secretary Elva Nilsen at secretary@iaf.nu.

User Advisory Committee Update
As an International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Permanent Advisory Committee, the User Advisory Committee or UAC is comprised of industry and user association members of IAF who represent end-users of accredited conformity assessment. UAC members include: QuEST Forum, The Quality System for Feed Additives and Premixtures (FAMI-QS), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC), GLOBALG.A.P, International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG), Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), Bruel & Kjaer Sound & Vibration Measurement A/S, Dental Trade Alliance (DTA), ENEL Servizi S.r.l., and the Federation of German Industries (BDI).

The UAC is committed to increasing the participation of other stakeholders and industry sectors that use accredited third party certification in their activities. With that in mind, the 13th meeting of the UAC, which occurred in Frankfurt, Germany, on April 2, 2017, was the most well attended UAC meeting to date with more than 17 attendees. Invited guests to the UAC meeting and post-meeting reception included IAF leadership, Nigel Croft representing TC 176 and a founding participant of the UAC, along with representatives of food industry organizations such as BRC Global Standards, FSSC 22000, GMP+ International and International Featured Standards (IFS).

As UAC membership continues to grow, we remain committed to providing feedback to the IAF for further improvement and harmonization in support of “Certified Once, Accepted Everywhere”. UAC members are actively involved on the IAF Task Force (TF) on Conformity Assessment Schemes, which defines common assessment criteria for all schemes that are endorsed by IAF and the Database Management Committee (DMC), which is investigating the creation of a database of Accredited Certifications.

UAC members also continue to support the IAF Strategic Plan, specifically:

•    Strategic Direction 02: To improve the peer evaluation process, including ensuring the availability of competent peer evaluator resources at the international and regional level.
•    Strategic Direction 03: To promote wider acceptance of accreditation, including accredited conformity assessment results, and the IAF MLA by major stakeholders e.g. regulators and end users.
•    Strategic Direction 04: To improve consistency of accreditation practices among ABs.
The UAC is currently working to define a plan to raise greater awareness of the activities of the IAF and the UAC, and to continue to increase the participation of other industry sectors and stakeholders that use accredited third party certification in their activities. To obtain feedback and to involve a wider group of stakeholders, the UAC has proposed a “User Day” event for 2018.


UAC Members and Guests in Frankfurt

3P-EVP – Third Party Effectiveness Verification Program
As part of its ongoing efforts to monitor and improve the third party conformity assessment process for the TL 9000 Quality Management System, QuEST Forum has developed a new program to help evaluate the consistency and effectiveness of the TL 9000 audits being conducted by its accredited Certification Bodies (CBs). Using data reported quarterly by CBs, who are accredited by QuEST Forum's authorized Accreditation Bodies (ABs), the number of nonconformities found during TL 9000 audits is considered along with the number of actual audit days, and a baseline for the average number of nonconformities per audit day is calculated each quarter. The number is a rolling average of the current quarter and the preceding three quarters.

Notification is sent to its AB about any CB that is reporting a number that is significantly below the norm (25% less than average) or considerably below the norm (40% less than average). The program then specifies that an investigation must be performed by the AB within a specified time frame.

For those in the first category (< 25%), only an investigation is required. In the second category (< 40%), one or more market surveillances are expected unless the investigation turns up information allowing the market surveillance to be waived.

The goal is emphatically not to set a minimum number of nonconformities per audit day but rather to investigate results that are outside the norm.  If the result of an investigation shows that a CB’s low number of nonconformities is owing to a high number of its clients having very mature quality management systems, that is a perfectly acceptable result.

Implementation of the Third Party Effectiveness Verification Program began in phases in 2016. Initially, one notification was sent to each of QuEST Forum’s five TL 9000 ABs. After the initial round, notifications for all CBs below the 25% or 40% levels were sent for totals of 2 and 14 notifications respectively. The results of the ongoing investigations have ranged from no issues found up to the issuance of multiple nonconformities against the CB.

It is too soon to gauge the impact on the overall audit process, but feedback so far has been encouraging. There have been no reports of an increase in non-substantiated nonconformities being issued and there have been anecdotal reports of improved audits. More results will be available as the investigations, market surveillances, and implementation of corrective actions are completed during 2017.

IAF Technical Committee Task Force OH&SMS for the Development of a new IAF-MD Based on the Mandatory Document EA-3/13 M

In the framework of the International Accreditation Forum/International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (IAF/ILAC) Mid-Term Meetings in Frankfurt, a Task Force (TF) for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OH&SMS) was established with the aim of preparing a new IAF-MD from the mandatory document EA-3/13M:2016. EA-3/13M:2016 was prepared by the European Co-operation for Accreditation (EA) with the aim to have a tool that helps the application of ISO/IEC 17021-1 for OH&SMS.

The new IAF-MD is intended to guarantee the same approach to OH&SMS certification schemes in the IAF community as in the EA community.

Since the mandate of the TF is to have the new document published within one year, it was decided to complete two rounds of comments (30 days within TF members plus a 60-day comment period within IAF Members) in order to have the document ready for Technical Committee approval for the next meeting on 22 October in Vancouver.

The recent worldwide increase of OH&SMS certifications saw different approaches to the accreditation of OH&SMS CBs by the national Accreditation Bodies (ABs):

•    some ABs focused more on the market opportunities, applying the requirements of ISO/IEC 17021, not considering that the risk of an OH&SMS certification is much higher than any other MS certification
•    a few other ABs considered the risk of OH&SMS certification to be much higher than any other MS certification, and applied requirements more stringent then ISO/IEC 17021

Different approaches could lead to unfair competition, with significant differences in audit times and costs for organizations, and might cause possible damages to the credibility of accreditation.

The benefits foreseen for the new documents are the same that guided the preparation of EA 3/13M:

•    to promote a harmonized approach by Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) accredited for the OH&SMS certification, according to OHSAS 18001, including the upcoming ISO 45001
•    to ensure an uniform application of the certification rules by national ABs
•    to reaffirm the responsibility of the CAB for the decisions taken: any decision shall be based on the awareness of risks associated to the effects of the decision itself

It is intended that the new IAF MD will maintain the same structure of EA 3/13 M, with a:

•    main section with additional requirements to the corresponding clauses of ISO/IEC 17021-1: 2015, specific for OH&SMS, and some normative appendices
•    Appendix A which adds to the generic competence requirements of Annex A of ISO/IEC 17021-1: 2015 three competence requirements specific for OH&SMS auditors. This Appendix will be superseded by the upcoming ISO/IEC TS 17021-10 when it comes into force
•    Appendix B for determination of Audit Time which adds 14 specific requirements for OH&SMS to those of IAF MD5:2015, now applicable to Quality Management Systems/Environmental Management Systems (QMS/EMS) only
The methodology for calculation of OH&SMS audit time remains similar to those for QMS and EMS, but for OH&SMS it will be based only on three categories of complexity (high, medium and low) classified according to nature and severity of the OH&S risks of an organization, which significantly affect the audit time. The final result for OH&SMS will be an increase in audit time compared to that for EMS, with no need to change the table for calculation of the full audit time from the equivalent number of employees
•    Appendix C which introduces additional requirements for maintaining the legal compliance based on those of document EA-7/04 M already applicable to the EMS scheme
•    Appendix D which updates IAF ID1:2014 with examples of OH&S hazards for all IAF codes
•    Appendix E which updates for OH&SMS the technical clusters of IAF MD 17 now applicable to QMS/EMS, in order to plan witness assessments.


IQNet: The Value of the Implementation and Certification of Management Systems International Standards
The implementation and certification of Management Systems International Standards, such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, has achieved high international recognition with more than 1 million organizations with their Quality Management Systems certified worldwide. Researchers have been paying considerable attention to this theme and the number of published articles has grown robustly (as clearly evidenced by the www.publicsectorassurance.org website) to illustrate the value of accredited conformity assessment and provide links to relevant independent research.

A 2017 study (recently submitted for publication), sponsored by The International Certification Network (IQNet) with the fundamental contribution of researchers from the Instituto Politecnico do Porto-Portugal and the Universidade Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid-Spain, aims to bring a longitudinal time perspective to this area of research, analyzing articles published since 1996, on the benefits of Management Systems Certification (MSC).

The research was supported with a Bibliometric Study, with data collected from Web of Science, SCOPUS, and Research Gate databases. Following the detailed analysis of the journal titles, article abstracts and their full content, an evaluation scale was applied to assess if the results support the existence of a positive relationship between MSC and economic, financial or stakeholder results.

The results show a steep increase in the number of publications addressing Management Systems Certification benefits. Most originate from Europe (48%) and East Asia and Pacific (23%), with Spain as the clear leading country, accounting for 43% of the total number of articles published between 1996 and April 2017. Other countries with highlighted contributions are USA, Malaysia, Italy, China, Brazil, Portugal, Greece, Australia, Croatia, and Canada, representing 11.6% of the total of published articles. Additionally, analyzing the content of the published papers, 91% have a single country scope, while 50% address only one activity sector.

The systematic review of the selected papers shows that Management Systems adoption and certification brings fairly positive benefits (average 2.34 in a 1 to 5 Likert type scale) for the certified organizations, although some variations are observed.

Analyzing the data through a different perspective, it can be noticed that approximately 90% of the research identified positive relations between MSC and economical, financial or stakeholder related results.

Although the current analysis points to the existence of a positive relationship between MSC and organizational performance and results, there are some inconsistencies and several studies that have found a neutral or even negative relationship between MSC and organizational performance and results.

These inconsistencies might be explained by concerns over reliability and lack of validation of measures, sampling and biases errors (e.g., Quality Managers might report more favorable impacts of QMS than CEOs), or no explanations for cause and effect relationships. Time is also an important variable to be considered, as some benefits can be realized in the short term (e.g. compliance with customer requirements, financial results) while others only in the long term (e.g., company image and reputation, employee motivation).

As so, IQNet (with the support of relevant academic organizations around the world) will continue to sponsor future studies to promote additional conclusions. Since more researchers are also focusing on non QMS/EMS studies, we expect that future analyses may also provide differentiated and representative results for other types of MSC.



Protecting and Promoting French Know-How: from Now on Manufactured Goods Are Eligible for Protected Indication
Until recently, only food, agricultural and forestry could benefit from Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) at the European level.

A 2014 French law broadened this protection to manufactured goods as well as natural resources: they are related to a territory based on their specific characteristics, know-how or manufacturing process, and must be controlled by accredited bodies. This French regulatory scheme is based on the European PGI one, the main difference lying in the approval procedure of the scheme, led by another Public Authority (the French National Institute of Industrial Property - INPI) than the one in charge of PGI.

Geographical Indication for manufactured goods is based on four cumulative elements:

•    Denominating a geographical area or specific place*;
•    Used to designate a crafted or manufactured product;
•    Originating from this area; and
•    Featuring a quality, reputation or characteristics exclusively specific to the area.
 
Geographical Indications authenticate and protect local/regional products, know-how and professionals and therefore contribute to economic, cultural, touristic and social development.

To be granted this label of quality and origin, operators concerned by the same product gather together and prepare a scheme document that will have to be approved by INPI. Accredited certification or inspection bodies are in charge of controlling the products.

So far, two Geographical Indications have been approved: Brittany’s Granite and Liffol seats (Liffol is a small town located on the east of France).

This French initiative ensures traceability and quality guarantees are offered to consumers. The French competent authorities are currently pursuing their action to have a European official recognition for those Geographical Indications and broaden their protection.
 
* Raw materials and certain production stages have no obligation to be carried out in the geographical area where final stages take place (this is a case-by-case element that is specified in the scheme document)


Credit - Liffol seats, Hôtel Fouquet's Barriere par Jean-Pierre Besse - Fabrice Ramber

ANSI’s Vice President of Accreditation Services Presents at GFSI Conference
Lane Hallenbeck, vice president of the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) accreditation services, was a guest speaker at the recent Global Food Safety Conference in Houston, where he discussed conformity assessment, competitive advantage, and business growth for food safety holders. ANSI, which offers accreditation services for food safety, was an exhibitor at the 16th annual Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) event, which brought together nearly 1,200 delegates from 54 countries to collaborate on best food safety practices and highlight vital food safety topics during plenary sessions.

GFSI, an industry-driven initiative providing thought leadership and guidance on food safety management systems necessary for safety along the supply chain, organized the event. Experts representing various parts of the food industry, including equipment providers, government food safety officials, packaging manufacturers, and executives, attended the event and provided different expert safety insights.

During the plenary session, “Turning the tables, Taking Food Safety from Risk Management to Growth Generator,” Mr. Hallenbeck discussed the distinction between accreditation and certification, both of which are related to a third-party perspective—as opposed the second-and first-party roles of buyers and sellers. He also noted how ANSI is an existing multi-lateral recognition arrangement (MLA) signatory at many levels. [read related coverage here]

Mr. Hallenbeck leads executive operations for ANSI accreditation, which helps assure quality and safety of food products, systems, services, and personnel. While food safety scheme owners rely on ANSI accreditation to foster consumer confidence, state and local governments rely upon ANSI accreditation to demonstrate the qualifications of food safety handlers. To that end, ANSI’s accreditation provides assurance that standards, goods, and services meet essential requirements throughout the global supply chain.

Reinaldo Figueiredo, senior program director for ANSI accreditation, also spoke at the event’s breakout session entitled, “Certification-Driving Growth and Capacity in the Future.” The panel offered solutions for when a customer visit reveals a weakness in the food safety management system that should have been identified by the certification audit.


Booth at GFSI Event

About ANSI Accreditation for Food Safety
Through its product certification accreditation programs, ANSI accredits certification bodies that operate a number of certification schemes dedicated to food safety are in accordance with ISO/IEC 17065, General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems.

Laws in California, Illinois, Arizona, West Virginia, Texas, and New Mexico, as well as some local jurisdictions, require food handlers within their limits to have a food-handling training certificate from an ANSI accredited certificate program, demonstrating compliance with ASTM E2659, Standard Practice for Certificate Programs, an American National Standard. (More here)

ANSI implemented the ANSI-Conference for Food Protection (CFP) accreditation program in 2012. ANSI and the Conference for Food Protection entered into a cooperative agreement to accredit organizations involved in the certification of food protection managers. The program is based on the Conference for Food Protection Accreditation Standards.

Read more about ANSI Accreditation for Food Safety.

Original Exhibition in PCA
Polish Centre for Accreditation (PCA) accreditation activity became the leitmotiv of graphics drawn by artist Szczepan Sadurski. This series of original drawings has been presented at PCA premises in Warsaw since May.

As a result of cooperation between PCA and the artist, 15 graphics were drawn. They show and comment on, in a humorous way, the scope of activity performed by PCA accredited laboratories and certification bodies, including the construction environment, safety of toys, safety of food, welding specialists, medical examinations and deck devices in airplanes. The cartoon convention makes the idea of accreditation more attractive and shows quite a difficult subject in a more accessible way.

The exhibition informs consumers that accreditation covers a wide range of areas and many of the products or services they encounter on a daily basis either directly or indirectly affect their safety, such as:
 
•    ropes used by mountain climbers (their strength is checked in accredited laboratories)
•    toys (safety of children is guaranteed through tests conducted by accredited laboratories)
•    equipment on board airplanes (efficiency that guarantees passenger safety is ensured by accredited calibration laboratories)
•    bricks used for the construction of public buildings (safety of buildings is ensured by accredited laboratories and certification bodies)

In the context of information and promotion activity, the drawings will be used in many promotional channels, such as:

•    within media relations, e.g. illustrations for press kits
•    within internal communication
•    social media content (e.g. #piatekwPCA)
•    an exhibition in PCA premises (inside the building and on the railing outside, printed in large format on weather-resistant foams)
•    on advertising gadgets (e.g. business cards’ cases, key rings, mouse pads)

Philippines Celebrates World Accreditation Day
On 09 June 2017, the Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB), in support of the global initiative of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation, will be celebrating World Accreditation Day simultaneously with other National Accreditation Bodies in other economies.

PAB has teamed up with the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP) and the Department of Public Works and Highways – Bureau of Standard and Research (BRS) on contractors’ accreditation and quality assurance for this initiative. CIAP, through the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB), will focus on the Licensing and Registration of Contractors and the Contractors Performance Evaluation System while BRS proposes to discuss the topic “Golden Age of Infrastructure” brought about by the booming construction sector in the Philippines. PAB will present the benefits of accreditation and its services.

We are expecting to host around one hundred participants from the construction industry and the government sectors. Through the forum, we hope that more organizations will be encouraged to appreciate and seek accreditation. We will highlight global examples from the Public Sector Assurance website to provide inspiration, especially to the people involved in construction.

Ultimately, we hope that this activity will not only strengthen the appreciation and use of accreditation in the construction sector, but also in other sectors to remove uncertainties on economic decisions that affect human life and environmental protection.

BSCA: A Step Towards Harmonization
As a next step towards harmonizing legislation with the best conformity assessment practices, the new Law of the Republic of Belarus № 437-Z "On the assessment of compliance with technical requirements and accreditation of conformity assessment bodies" has been adopted and will come into force on 30 July 2017.

The law aims to identify a legal and organizational framework for assessing compliance with technical requirements and for accreditation of conformity assessment bodies. Since the law ensures a unified state policy in the field of conformity assessment and accreditation, it will play a major role in assisting the Belarusian State Centre for Accreditation (BSCA) to pass an evaluation by the European co-operation for accreditation (EA) that is to take place in November 2017.

NABET Update
Accreditation of first Conformity Assessment Body for Certification of Persons (ISO/IEC 17024 : 2012)

India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and requires approximately 120 million additional skilled workers until 2022 to boost both the manufacturing and service sectors. The National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) is supporting the economy to achieve skill development goals in India. An accreditation scheme for Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) is now in place per the requirements of ISO/IEC 17024:2012 to establish an internationally accepted benchmark for organizations assessing and evaluating the skills of persons. The main objective is to raise confidence, improve quality and give direction through enhanced skill competence to personnel as per global norms.

The scheme for accreditation of assessment bodies as per ISO/IEC 17024 was launched by NABET in March 2016. A number of awareness programmes have been conducted to popularise the scheme. Trainings for assessors were conducted and subject matter experts have been identified.  Since then a number of applications have been received in various domains like Welders, Electricians, Fitters, Safety professionals, Gym trainers, Sewing machine operators etc., and two CAB’s have been granted accreditation. Indian Institute of Welding, Kolkata (India) is the first Conformity Assessment Body, granted accreditation under the scheme in August 2016, and the second accreditation was granted to Quality Austria Central Asia (QACA).



Peer Evaluator Training

NABET recently participated in a Peer Evaluator Training Workshop conducted by the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC) in New Delhi, along with participants from various other economies in the Pacific Region. Three NABET participants successfully attained the status of Trainee Peer Evaluator.
 


Membership in the International Accreditation Forum (IAF)
 
NABET acquired membership in the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) on 14 July 2016. The membership certificate was presented by Mr.  Xiao Jianhua, IAF Chairman, to Mr. Vipin Sahni, NABET CEO, on 3 November 2016 during the Joint Annual Meetings of IAF and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) held at New Delhi.



Awareness Workshop on ISO/IEC 17024: 2012

Awareness Workshops have been conducted for CABs and NABET staff on ISO/ IEC 17024:2012. As the world and India needs a skilled workforce, NABET successfully conveyed the message that alignment with global standards and best practices will add value to CABs. The response from the participants was very positive and more of these are planned to be conducted in the near future.


Awareness workshop conducted for CABs

EGAC Update
EGAC/EU Twinning Project has ended

For a duration of two years starting from December 2015, a twinning project between the Egyptian Accreditation Council (EGAC) and European Union (EU) was implemented for the purpose of Strengthening the Institutional Capacity of EGAC in the framework of EU policies.

The twinning project aims to support preparation of EGAC to sign a European Co-operation for Accreditation (EA) MLA with EA and to facilitate and increase exports to the European Union and entry into the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA). The European Union is the biggest economic partner to Egypt, and it is anticipated that the end result will be an increase in intra-regional trade movement and increased support for the Egyptian economy.

EGAC has a trial evaluation by EA Experts

In the period from 12 - 15 December 2016 and in the framework of activities of the EGAC/EU twinning project, EA experts performed a trial peer evaluation of the EGAC system.

The main target of this trial peer evaluation was to increase the familiarity of EGAC staff with methodologies of EA evaluations prior to real evaluation upon application of EGAC for signatory status.

This trial peer evaluation covered also the new EGAC scopes of accreditation ISO/IEC 17043, ISO/IEC 17065 and ISO/IEC 17024.

EGAC has been evaluated by ILAC/IAF

In the period from 12 - 17 February 2017, EGAC was under International Evaluation of ILAC/IAF implemented by an international evaluation team assigned by both organizations.

This successful evaluation will lead EGAC, after finalizing all findings released from the team, to renewal of its signatory status for four years up to 2021.

EGAC is a signatory member of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) for accreditation of testing labs, calibration labs, medical labs and inspection bodies. It is a signatory to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) for accreditation of certification bodies in quality management systems (QMS) and environmental management systems (EMS).

EGAC was also evaluated in food safety management systems (FSMS) as EGAC requested extension of its scope of accreditation to include FSMS.



EGAC has been evaluated by ARAC

In the framework of an Arab Accreditation Cooperation (ARAC) re-evaluation for EGAC with participation of ILAC/IAF observers in the period from 19-23 March 2017, EGAC successfully passed the evaluation with a recommendation of continuity of recognition of ARAC for four years more. ARAC evaluated EGAC in the scopes of Testing/Calibration/Medical Labs, Inspection and Certification in QMS, EMS and also with scope extension in FSMS.

EGAC will be under evaluation for the third time in 2017 by the African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC) in the period from 15 - 20 July with observers of ILAC/IAF in the same scopes of accreditation.

Participation of ILAC/IAF in the evaluation process by ARAC/AFRAC is in the framework of ARAC/AFRAC recognition procedures by ILAC/IAF.



EGAC is preparing to celebrate WAD

EGAC is preparing for celebrating World Accreditation Day (WAD) through holding an awareness workshop to introduce the updated policies of accreditation and new publications and regulations from ILAC and IAF.

The EGAC official social networking account is published through Facebook with the URL https://www.facebook.com/www.egac.gov.eg. EGAC periodically publishes all its activities and photos through this account.


ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 Training Course for Mauritius Accreditation Service Assessors
The Mauritius Accreditation Service (MAURITAS) currently operates its Certification Body Accreditation Programme for the following activities:

•    Certification of Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001)
•    Certification of Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001)
•    Certification of Food Safety Management Systems based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (MS 133)
•    Certification of Food Safety Management Systems based on Food Safety Management System (ISO 22000)
•    Certification of Information Security Management Systems (ISO/IEC 27001)

Assessments are carried out by Lead assessors from MAURITAS and freelance technical assessors from both the public and private sectors.

In order to upgrade its assessors to the new version of ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 and on ISO/TS 17021-3:2013, MAURITAS organized a three-day training course from 19 to 21 January 2017. The training course was conducted by a trainer from the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) under the Memorandum of Understanding Agreement between MAURITAS and NABCB.


Training course on ISO/IEC 17021-1: 2015 and ISO TS 17021-3:2013 in the conference room of MAURITAS

Including MAURITAS staff, 14 participants attended the NABCB training course. Participants undertook a written examination at the end of the course. The Director of MAURITAS handed over certificates of participation to the participants.


Handing over certificate of participation

As of May 2017, the MAURITAS pool of assessors comprises 11 assessors including 2 QMS assessors, 5 HACCP and FSMS assessors and 4 ISMS assessors.

DAC Makes Significant Progress on Regional & International Arenas in Q1
DAC hosted ARAC General Assembly in Dubai

The Dubai Accreditation Department (DAC) hosted the fifth General Assembly meetings of the Arab Accreditation Cooperation (ARAC) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on 19-23 February 2017.

The General Assembly and meetings were witnessed by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) & International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Regional Peer Evaluators within the framework of the ILAC & IAF evaluation of ARAC.

The Chair of the Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC), the General Director’s Advisor of the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO), representatives of the Arab League, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) also attended the General Assembly.

Engineer Hussain Nasser Lootah, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates International Accreditation Center/Dubai Accreditation Department (DAC) and Director General of Dubai Municipality, was the chief guest during the opening session of the General Assembly. He presented a General Assembly memento to Mr. Mahmoud El Tayyab, ARAC chair.

During the General Assembly, DAC also became a signatory to the ARAC MLA for product certification. Ms. Amina Ahmed Mohammed, Executive Director of DAC, signed the ARAC MLA along with Mr. Mahmoud El Tayyab, ARAC chair.


ARAC General Assembly in Dubai

New Accreditation Scheme

DAC has launched a new accreditation scheme for the certification of persons working in beauty salons. The related personnel Certification Bodies shall be accredited according to international standard ISO 17024:2012.

The accreditation scheme was formally launched by Ms. Amina Ahmed Mohammed along with the director of the Public Health & Safety Department of Dubai Municipality. The Public Health & Safety Department is the scheme owner. As per the local regulation, each beauty salon in Dubai will be required to have at least one certified person in each working shift. The certified person will be called the “person in-charge”.

DAC Arranged Trainings

During the first quarter of the year 2017, DAC arranged a series of trainings on various accreditation standards. Training on the new version of ISO 17021-1 was conducted by DAC on 18-19 January 2017. Engineer Muhammad Shahid Rasool, Principal Accreditation Specialist, was the resource person for the training. Delegates representing various Certification Bodies attended the training.


DAC Training

Innovating and Strengthening Areas in EMA
In La Entidad Mexicana de Acreditación, A.C. (EMA), we are committed to protecting the environment and innovating for its care, so we develop and reinforce projects that improve the environment.

We currently have 8 Greenhouse Gases Validation/Verification Bodies and we have one more in the process of accreditation, which supports compliance with the General Law on Climate Change, part of the Mexican government's strategy to combat this phenomenon.

We have entered the international Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) scheme on sustainable forest management within the framework of certification issued by an accredited and independent third party. For this, we are working together with the regulator of our country responsible for forest certification, the National Forestry Commission, CONAFOR.

With these actions we strengthen our environment for future generations.

AFRAC Holds Training Workshop for its Peer Evaluators
The African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC) peer evaluators course was held from 1 to 2 May 2017 and attended by 18 peer evaluators and trainee evaluators from the Egyptian Accreditation Council (1), Ethiopian National Accreditation Office (3), Kenya Accreditation Service (2), Mauritius Accreditation Service (2), Tunisian Accreditation Council (1), South African National Accreditation System (5) and Southern African Development Community Accreditation Service (4). It was very ably facilitated by Mr. Mahmoud Eltayeb, who is a seasoned Lead Evaluator with AFRAC and ARAC.

The course, which was held in conjunction with the 2017 AFRAC mid-term meetings, was very intensive. It was designed to update peer evaluators on the changes in revised ILAC A series documents IAF/ILAC A1 and IAF/ILAC A2, and on the ongoing revisions of IAF/ILAC A3 and ISO/IEC 17011. The workshop also went through ILAC A5 and A6, and the newly published AFRAC peer evaluators guide AFRAC GD 002. The workshop was also an opportunity for exchange of experience and to prepare for the upcoming witnessing of AFRAC evaluations for international recognition of the region. A number of recommendations were made from the training workshop and considered by the MRA Committee at its meeting held on 4 May 2017.

Participants were presented with certificates at the end of the training course. One of the participants, Ms. Helen Morokane, thanked the Facilitator on behalf of the participants for his time spent making preparations for the training workshop and conducting it in such a way as to stimulate active participation from all the evaluators.

AFRAC is a cooperation of accreditation bodies, sub-regional accreditation co-operations and stakeholders whose objective is to facilitate trade and contribute to the protection of health, safety and the environment within Africa. AFRAC has established a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) and the Secretariat was evaluated from 6 to 8 February 2017 as the 1st step in the region’s evaluation. The AFRAC Secretariat is in the process of addressing the findings raised in this 1st step, some of which have already been cleared. Three witnessing opportunities have been identified and witnessing of the evaluations will be undertaken between July and November 2017.

Many thanks to Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) Germany who sponsored the training by generously providing air travel, accommodation (full board) for all the peer evaluators/trainee evaluators, as well as the conference package.


Participants pose for a photo after the workshop

ARAC Update
ARAC new membership

On 20  April 2017, the following Accreditation Bodies were accepted as new ARAB Accreditation Cooperation (ARAC) members:

•    Accreditation Affairs Section (KAAS), Public Authority for Industry (PAI), state of Kuwait, as ARAC Associate member
•    Emirates National Accreditation System (ENAS), Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology (ESMA), United Arab Emirates (UAE), as ARAC Full member

Following this acceptance, ARAC includes 17 members (12 Full members and 5 associates) covering 17 Arab countries.

ARAC Strategy 2016 - 2021

The ARAC Strategy 2016-2021 was approved by the General Assembly members as Administrative Document “ARAC AD 004” on 7 November 2016. An Executive Committee Strategy Session was conducted on 20 February 2017 in Dubai, UAE, in the margin of the ARAC Annual Meetings held from 19-23 February 2017.

As an output of this Strategy session, an implementation plan was prepared and each ARAC Committee Chair with their committee members began preparing their corresponding work plan based on the ARAC Strategy Implementation plan.

ILAC&IAF Evaluation of ARAC

As a first step in the IAF&ILAC Evaluation of ARAC, the IAF&ILAC Evaluation team members conducted the Evaluation of the ARAC Secretariat from 20-22 September 2016 in the ARAC offices.

As a follow-up of the evaluation of the ARAC Secretariat, the ILAC&IAF Peer evaluation team members witnessed three ARAC Peer evaluations and a MLA Group meeting.


ILAC&IAF Peer Evaluation Team and ARAC Team

ARAC Experienced Peer Evaluators Workshop

In the margin of its 5th Annual meeting, ARAC organized a workshop for the ARAC Experienced Peer Evaluators. The purpose of this workshop was:

•    Updating knowledge including highlighting the changes in the A-Series documents, tools and forms such as the report templates for the evaluations of the Accreditation Bodies
•    Information and discussion about the new and updated ARAC Peer evaluation process documentations and requirements
•    Information and discussion about the use of the new applicable ARAC forms during the Peer evaluations
•    A session on the writing of findings via the use of examples

More than 12 ARAC qualified Peer evaluators participated in this workshop, which was witnessed by the ILAC and IAF Peer evaluators.


participants at the ARAC Experienced Peer Evaluators Workshop

5th ARAC General Assembly and annual committees meetings

ARAC held very successfully its fifth Annual Meetings in Dubai, UAE from 19-23 February 2017. These meetings were witnessed by the ILAC&IAF Regional Peer evaluators within the framework of the ILAC&IAF evaluation of ARAC.

Significant achievements were made at these meetings, mainly the following:
•    There has been substantial growth in the ARAC MLA signatories, new members have joined and extended their MLA: The ARAC Jordanian Accreditation System JAS and the Dubai Accreditation Center DAC
•    Preparation of the ARAC Strategy 2016-2021 implementation plan
•    Preparation for the upcoming steps of the ILAC&IAF Peer evaluations
•    Starting the establishment of the ARAC Action plan to prepare for the new publication of the new version of the standard ISO/IEC 17011:2017
•    A great number of resolutions were adopted by the General Assembly members


Participants at the 5th ARAC GA meeting

ARAC Cooperation with the other Regional Cooperation Bodies

ARAC continues to work closely with the other Regional Cooperation Bodies to implement the Signed MoUs and to identify further areas for cooperation.

Upcoming ARAC key events

ARAC Mid-Term meetings

The future ARAC Mid-Term meetings will be held from 22-26 July 2017 in Tunisia.

The contact details of ARAC Secretariat are:
ARAC Secretariat
Email : secretariat@arabarac.org
The new website address is: http://www.arac-accreditation.org
Phone number: + 212 600 78 56 78

Highlights of the EA Certification Committee Meeting in March 2017
The last meeting of the European Co-operation for Accreditation Certification Committee (EACC) took place on 15 and 16 March 2017 in Antalya, Turkey, where it was hosted by the Turkish Accreditation Agency (TURKAK).

The discussions at the 33rd EACC meeting were led by the EACC Chair, Kevin Belson, from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). Notable outcomes included:

- The EACC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), starting with those discussed in September 2016, should be published on the EA website by this summer in order for them to be used by EA National Accreditation Bodies (NABs) as advice and recommendations by the EACC.

- EACC Working Group (WG) Environment has presented a final revised EA-7/04: Legal Compliance as a Part of Accredited ISO 14001: 2004 Certification, which was endorsed by the CC. The document was subsequently positively balloted within EA and published on the EA website.

- A strategic group discussion consolidated the outcome and feedback from discussions held in September 2016 on consultancy and certification. Much common ground emerged from plenary oral reports and discussions, even if some sectors appeared to be rather specific. The only controversial issue, forwarded to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) for further discussions and opinion, is whether or not publishing a list of consultants is marketing.

- An EA common position on energy audits reached by EACC WG Environment was endorsed by the whole Committee as an EACC recommendation to be widely disseminated through the EACC FAQs.

- Further to its recent publication, the EACC will recommend the EA General Assembly, in May 2017, to adopt ISO/IEC 17021-3:2017 as Level 4 standard for all EA members.

Many other discussions took place with good progress on numerous ongoing work items, and will continue at the next meeting on 12-13 September 2017:

- EA-6/03: EA Document for Recognition of Verifiers under the EU ETS Directive, still being revised by EA Network Group European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), should be presented to the EACC in September 2017 for endorsement by the Committee.

- Further to the adoption of a new work item in late 2016, revision of EA-6/04: EA Guidelines on the Accreditation of Certification of Primary Sector Products by Means of Sampling of Sites is being started by EACC WG Food.

- Regarding guidance documents, discussions need to be further progressed with regard to the development of guidance documents for selection of Conformity Assessment standards, as well as for application of ISO/IEC 17065, EN 15224 and, to lesser extent, ISO/IEC 17024.

- Because it was agreed that EA/IAF and NACE codes needed harmonisation, a specific discussion will be held at the next meeting, in advance of which CC members will be asked to answer a short survey for fruitful input to meeting discussions.

- Other important issues to be followed up in September 2017 are: how to remind Certification Bodies’ customers of transition periods, validity of certificates after withdrawal of EA MLA status, and need for harmonisation activities, notably about the new ISO/EC 17021 series.


EA Certification Committee

Many Decisions Taken to Enhance the EA Multilateral Agreement
During the 37th European Co-operation for Accreditation Multilateral Agreement (EA MLA) meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria on 26/27 April 2017, the EA Multilateral Agreement Council (MAC), which manages the peer-evaluation process and decides on MLA signatories, held its biannual meeting. It made the following decisions:

- The Hellenic Accreditation System (ESYD) remains an EA-MLA signatory in the fields of testing, including medical examinations according to ISO 15189, calibration, inspection, management systems, products certification, certification of persons and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) verification.

- The Georgian Accreditation Center (GAC), becomes a Bilateral Agreement (BLA) signatory in the fields of testing (excluding medical examinations according to ISO 15189), calibration, inspection, persons and products certification.

- Danish Accreditation (DANAK), Comite Francais d'Accreditation (COFRAC) and the Polish Centre for Accreditation (PCA) remain EA MLA signatories in the fields of calibration, testing (including medical examinations according to ISO 15189), inspection, products certification, management systems certification and certification of persons and GHG verification.

- The Finnish Accreditation Service (FINAS), Norwegian Accreditation (NA) and United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) remain EA MLA signatories in the fields of calibration, testing, (including medical examinations to ISO 15189), inspection, products and persons certification, management systems certification and GHG verification.

- The National Accreditation Body of Hungary (NAH) becomes an MLA signatory in the field of inspection, after NAH was accepted as a signatory in the fields of calibration, testing (including medical examinations according to ISO 15189), products and persons certification, management systems certification and GHG verification.

- The Turkish Accreditation Agency (TURKAK) remains an EA MLA signatory in the fields of calibration, testing (including medical examinations according to ISO 15189), inspection, products certification, management systems certification and certification of persons.

- The Italian National Accreditation Body (ACCREDIA), Czech Accreditation Institute (CAI), COFRAC, DANAK, Entidad Nacional de Acreditacion (ENAC), Hellenic Accreditation System S.A. (ESYD), FINAS, NA, PCA, Dutch Accreditation Council (RvA), TURKAK and UKAS become the first 12 signatories of the EA MLA for the accreditation of Proficiency Testing Providers (EN ISO/IEC 17043).

The next Council meeting will be organised by the Romanian Accreditation Association (RENAR), in September 2017 in Bucharest.
 
In parallel with this meeting, the 2016 report of the EA MLA was published to highlight the main actions of 2016. Some key figures are: 19 peer evaluations planned and completed for a total of 1138 man-days of evaluation, 36 Full Members, 12 Associate Members, 38 signatories to the MLA including through a bilateral agreement, with more than 34450 accreditations delivered by the EA National Accreditation Bodies.

EA has started to put effort into several actions to enhance and facilitate the work done by our evaluators, such as a new IT tool designed to be used by all the persons involved in peer evaluations. In addition, the Re-engineering project begun in 2015 is progressing in line with the EA Strategy 2025.

For further information about the EA MLA Report 2016, please go to www.european-accreditation.org/promotional-information


EA MAC meeting

Major milestones in EA and MLA scopes and standards at its 39th General Assembly
Significant achievements were made at the last European Co-operation for Accreditation (EA) General Assembly hosted on 23 and 24 May 2017 in Bled, Slovenia by Slovenska Akreditaci, the Slovenian national accreditation body.

New Chairs and Stakeholders in EA

The EA General Assembly has elected, for the term 23 May – 31 December 2017, Ignacio Pina (Entidad Nacional de Acreditacio) as EA Vice-Chair.

In addition, the following Chairs and officers have been elected to the EA Executive Committee for a two-year mandate starting on 1 January 2018:

•    EA Chair: Peter Strömbäck (Swedish Board for Accreditation and Conformity Assessment)    
•    EA Vice-Chair: Ignacio Pina (Entidad Nacional de Acreditacio)
•    EA Multilateral Agreement (MLA) Council Chair: Paulo Tavares (Portuguese Institute for Accreditation)
•    EA Horizontal Harmonization Committee Chair: Gabriel Zrenner (Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH)
•    EA Communications & Publications Committee Chair: Lucyna Olborska (    Polish Centre for Accreditation)
•    EA Laboratory Committee Chair: Laurent Vinson (Comité Français d'Accréditation)
•    EA Certification Committee Chair: Kevin Belson (United Kingdom Accreditation Service)
•    EA Inspection Committee Chair: Rolf Straub (Swiss Accreditation Service)
•    Four additional members of the Executive Committee: Maria Papatzikou (Hellenic Accreditation System), Emanuele Riva (Italian National Accreditation Body), Jiří Růžička (Czech Accreditation Institute), Ed Wieles (Dutch Accreditation Council)
EA also offered the EA Recognised Stakeholder status to GLOBALG.A.P. and the European Sensory Science Society, entering into an agreement with each of them in accordance with EA-1/15 A: 2014 - EA Policy for Relations with Stakeholders.

Scopes and standards issues

Regarding the EA MLA, four main decisions have been taken by the General Assembly, acting upon the recommendation from the Multilateral Agreement Council:

•    the extension of the scope of the EA MLA for Reference Materials Producers (RMP) as new level 2 conformity assessment activity using EN ISO 17034 as a new level 3 normative document;
•    the launching of the EA MLA for RMP (EN ISO 17034) during the Council meeting in April 2019, provided that at least three members are successfully peer-evaluated by that date;
•    EA’s application to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation for extending the scope of EA as a recognized region for the scope “Reference Material Producers – ISO 17034”;
•    the reformulation of the designation of the EA MLA Level 2 conformity assessment activity currently described as "Verification" to "Validation and Verification".

The General Assembly has endorsed the mandatory application of ISO/IEC 17021-3:2017 Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems - Part 3: Competence requirements for auditing and certification of quality management systems as level 4 standard for all EA members.

EA Strategy 2025

The General Assembly approved the implementation plan for the EA Strategy 2025 and mandated the Executive Committee to monitor the implementing actions entrusted to several specific task force groups. To support this implementation plan, the EA Secretariat’s activities have already been reorganised early in 2017 as follows:

•    Dr Andreas Steinhorst, EA Executive Secretary
•    Sandy Adonel - General administration and peer evaluators
•    Martine Blum - Head of Administration
•    Frédérique Laudinet - Secretary of Certification Committee, Inspection Committee and EA Advisory Board, Relations with EA Recognised Stakeholders and EA Reporting
•    Audrey Malacain - Marketing and Communications Manager and Secretary of Communications and Publications Committee
•    Lydie Mauger - Secretary of Multilateral Agreement Council
•    Yannick Nol - Finances Manager

A new Secretary of the Horizontal Harmonisation and Laboratory Committees, who will also be in charge of EA Peer Evaluations, is being recruited.