Regulation (EC) 765/2008 places stretching demands on EA as an organisation. In order to meet these demands, and to develop into the organisation the European Commission first envisaged as it sets out to reform this policy area, EA has defined a series of strategic objectives that must be achieved in the next four years. This work will see accreditation becoming more responsive to market needs through simplified processes and decision-making, as well as through forging closer relationships with key regulatory, technical and business stakeholders. EA will seek to build on management practices to evolve the culture of the organisation to face the challenges of its new role. This will be supported by learning from different types of organisations, and by tapping into and sharing the experience and knowledge base within the European accreditation system.
Effective communication, both internal and external, will be a core factor in realising these goals, to achieving a consistent implementation of the Regulation, and to meeting the additional requirements placed on EA by the EU Commission, EFTA and the national authorities.
The EA Communications & Publications Committee (CPC) met in London, United Kingdom in March 2012. Graham Talbot, EA Chair and Chair of both the ILAC MCC and the IAF CMC, opened the meeting by reinforcing the importance that communication will play in supporting EA’s long-term vision.
The EA CPC Chair, Vagn Andersen from DANAK, confirmed that the EA Marketing and Communications Plan 2011-2015 had been endorsed by the EA Executive Committee in November 2011. The Committee would now focus on the implementation of the plan by agreeing a work plan setting out responsibilities and timeframes for completing the activities.
During the next four years, the EA CPC will strengthen the EA brand to reflect its position as an official European institution. This will encompass all EA communications and platforms. Online and electronic tools will be used to communicate with stakeholders, as well as to improve communications within the membership community. The EA website will be re-developed to enable visitors to access the information they require, while the intranet will serve as a hub for sharing information and establishing greater dialogue between members.
In order to widen EA’s stakeholder base, the EA CPC will develop a contacts management plan. This will involve researching contacts, as well as gathering local national contacts, and setting out an engagement plan, with the aim of establishing closer relationships with technical organisations, business intermediaries, and across all Directorates General of the European Commission.
Finally, EA will be carrying out benchmarking exercises to access EA’s growing knowledge base and best practice, to ensure that best practice is captured and that there is greater consistency between members. The identification of performance goals and service levels will provide EA Members with greater insight into their performance and identify areas for improvement.
The next period is a critical phase in the development of EA. As such, the EA CPC has set itself a clear roadmap, which will see it build platforms for communication, and embark on an engagement plan leading to the development of new relationships, and a wider community of stakeholders with an improved understanding of the value of accreditation.