Following its meeting in Frankfurt in April, the Conformity Assessment Bodies Advisory Committee (CABAC) sent a communiqué to the IAF Executive Committee (EC) regarding current issues and proposing some ways forward. The Committee was pleased to welcome Randy Dougherty, Xiao Jianhua, and Emanuele Riva to its meeting in Milan to discuss these issues.
The main issues covered were:
- The peer evaluation process;
- IAF operations, in particular improving the active participation of Members; and
- The proposed database of management systems certificates.
Many of the issues relating to inconsistency and the peer evaluation process are included in the IAF strategic plan. CABAC was particularly encouraged by the output from the Joint Working Group on Consistency, which had met earlier in the day, with the proposals for a web based forum for deal with examples of inconsistency and the establishment for a Task Force to develop a Mandatory Document for all transitions.
Topics covered in relation to the peer evaluation process included the appointment of full time team leaders, more frequent evaluations, stakeholder participation and greater transparency in the outcomes of peer evaluations. There is some agreement between CABAC and the EC regarding these issues but it is recognised that there are a number of difficulties to overcome before they can be progressed.
CABAC members have concerns that some attendees at IAF meetings do not participate actively in the debate. It is understandable that some members who are not native English speakers may be reluctant to speak and CABAC encourages IAF to explore opportunities for technology to be used to allow these members to make a contribution to the debate without necessarily having to speak, to ensure that the rich diversity of IAF’s Members is fully utilised.
There was also some discussion that, with some Working Groups and Task Forces, there is little progress between meetings. It was considered that there is a need for some monitoring of progress between meetings and that the IAF Technical Committee management could have a role to play in this. The increasing trend of Task Forces holding WebEx meetings was seen as a positive move to address this and towards ensuring documents are produced in a timely manner.
There is no consensus in CABAC regarding the proposal for a global database of management systems certificates, with some members supporting it and others not. CABAC urged IAF to communicate with CAB associations to understand why some had reservations and try to overcome these reservations.
It was agreed that there is a need to further improve communication between CABs and Accreditation Bodies (ABs) and that a small group comprised of the Accreditation Body Exchange Group (ABIEG) Co-Chairs and CABAC Chair and Vice-Chair should be established to discuss how to proceed following this meeting. It was noted that there are some small issues that can be addressed quickly that will result in improvements and that these should be the priority. It was also suggested that there would be benefits in other EC members, for example the Multilateral Recognition Arrangement Committee (MLAC) Chair, being invited to future CABAC meetings.