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A Look Back

I thank all of the Members of IAF for the privilege and honor of being able to serve you as Chair and President. It was one of the highlights of my professional career.

Thomas Facklam and Elva Nilsen, the IAF Chair and Vice-Chair with terms ending in Vancouver in 2009, passed on to the new leadership team an organization that was successful and operating well. Nearly all of our governance documents had been updated in 2009, and IAF was well into the implementation of the strategic plan that had been adopted in 2006. This is the year that jointly with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), the Joint Committee on Closer Cooperation (JCCC) was disbanded and the role of the Joint Executive Committee (JEC) expanded. This was also when it was decided to ballot Members on the merger. While a majority of Members of both IAF and ILAC favored the merger, in both organizations the votes failed to achieve the numbers required to proceed. So I was blessed by having some of the more controversial issues resolved near the beginning of my term of office.

My first IAF and IAF-ILAC General Assemblies as Chair of IAF was in 2010 in Shanghai, China. I used my report as Chair to review the history of IAF from founding in 1993 up to the present, and to present some short-term and long term goals. This included a proposal to move inspection to ILAC only rather than continuing to try to manage this by IAF and ILAC jointly. IAF Members supported this proposal and this was accomplished during these meetings. This was also when I proposed expanding the structure of IAF to include two new advisory committees, one for the CABs and one for the Accreditation Bodies. This was subsequently accomplished with the formation of the the Conformity Assessment Bodies Advisory Committee (CABAC) and the Accreditation Body Exchange Group (ABIEG).

The most challenging year for me as the Chair was 2011. We had two unprecedented disruptions to both of our annual meetings, and we lost our Secretary. On extremely short notice, we had to move the mid-term meeting from Tunisia. With extraordinary assistance from Roger Bennett, we successfully relocated the meetings to Epsom in the UK.

•    In June, John Owen, the long serving Secretary of IAF, submitted his resignation. So the June meeting of the IAF Executive Committee shifted from development of the new strategic plan to planning for a search for a new secretary.

•    In July, the IAF Board put out a tender for a new Secretary and expanded Secretariat.

•    In September the Board appointed EJN Consulting as the new Secretariat and its principal, Elva Nilsen, as IAF Secretary. So our past Vice-Chair became our new Secretary.

•    In October, the annual IAF-ILAC Joint General Assembly, to be hosted by the National Standardization Council of Thailand (NSC) in Bangkok, was cancelled due to the high risk of flooding of the meeting venue.

These challenges had a positive outcome, however. We proved that ILAC and IAF could organize our meeting directly without having to have a host. We also expanded the secretariat, providing resources needed for continued growth and expansion.

2011 was also the year in which we gained the attention of the World Trade Organization. In June 2011, ILAC Chair Peter Unger and I made a presentation to the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade Committee (WTO-TBT) on behalf of ILAC and IAF. We have expanded our relationship with the WTO-TBT Committee ever since and are now being invited on a regular basis to participate in WTO sponsored workshops and seminars on how the ILAC & IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangements (ILAC MRA & IAF MLA) help to facilitate trade.

Considering that the primary purpose of IAF (and ILAC) is operating our arrangements (the ILAC MRA and IAF MLA) based on peer evaluation for the facilitation of trade based on mutual recognition of accredited conformity assessment results, I am pleased that IAF Members decided to expand the IAF MLA to include the following main scopes and sub-scopes:

•    new main scope of ISO/IEC 17024 for accreditation of bodies certifying persons;

•    new main scope of ISO 14065 for accreditation of bodies verifying and validating greenhouse gases (GHG);

•    new product certification sub-scope for GlobalG.A.P based on ISO/IEC 17065;

•    new management systems sub-scope for food safety (FSMS) based on ISO/IEC 17021 and ISO 22003 and ISO 22000;

•    new management systems sub-scope for information security (ISMS) based on ISO/IEC 17021 and ISO/IEC 27006 and ISO/IEC 27001; and

•    new management systems sub-scope for medical devices based on ISO/IEC 17021 and ISO 13485.

2014 was another challenging year for meetings. The IAF-ILAC Joint General Assembly, which was again to be hosted by NSC in Bangkok, had to be moved to Vancouver due to political disruptions, with NSC being the honorary host.

This past year, 2015, we have revised our governance documents to make the regional accreditation groups (the European Cooperation for Accreditation, the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation, the Inter American Accreditation Cooperation, the Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Accreditation, the African Accreditation Cooperation, and the Arab Accreditation Cooperation) official Members of IAF, along with Accreditation Bodies, industry associations and conformity assessment body associations.

Jointly with ILAC, it has been decided that 2017 will be the last year of having a host for the annual IAF-ILAC Joint General Assembly. Beginning in 2018 all future meetings will be organized by ILAC and IAF directly, but with each meeting being rotated to one of three venues in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

This should eliminate the disruptions and keep costs lower for Members.

I am also very pleased that my successor as IAF Chair and President is Mr. Xiao Jianhua of the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS). He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position. Xiao attended the second meeting of IAF in 1994 and nearly every meeting since, he served 7 years as MLA Committee Chair and 6 years as the IAF Vice-Chair. I will stay on as IAF Treasurer to support IAF and Xiao.


A Look Forward

Two years ago, we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of IAF. We are very proud of the significant achievements IAF has made during these years. That is a great success of all IAF Members. All past Directors and Committee Chairs of IAF have also played an important role in the development of IAF.

Mr Randy Dougherty of the American National Standards Institute - American Society for Quality National Accreditation Board LLC (ANAB) successfully completed his two terms as IAF Chairman at the 29th IAF General Assembly in Milan. Over the past 6 years, great progress has been achieved for various activities of IAF. The membership has increased from 78 to 100. The IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) has been progressed significantly. The operation of IAF committees, the service of the IAF Secretariat, the relationship with Regions, and the cooperation with relevant international organizations have been significantly enhanced. The IAF Members appreciate Mr Dougherty for his excellent service and invaluable contributions to the IAF.

This year marks a big change for the leadership of IAF due to the completion of terms by more than half of the Directors and Committee Chairs. The IAF Members at the Annual Meeting in Milan welcomed Mr Emanuele Riva from the Italian National Accreditation Body (ACCREDIA) as the new Vice-Chair of IAF, and Mr Geir Samuelsen from Norwegian Accreditation (NA), Ms Sheronda Jeffries from the Quality Excellence for Suppliers of Telecommunications Forum (QuEST Forum), Mr Norman Brunner from Accreditation Austria (AA) and Ms Andrea Melo from General Coordination for Accreditation (CGCRE, Brazil) as new Directors or Committee Chairs of IAF. The IAF Members expressed gratitude to Mr Thomas Facklam from German Accreditation (DAkkS), Mr Martin Stadler from the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (BDI)/Siemens AG, Mr Steve Keeling from the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ), and Mr Fabián Hernández Colotla from the Mexican Accreditation Entity (EMA) for their excellent service as IAF Directors or Committee Chairs in the past several years.

In the meantime, Mr Vu Xuan Thuy from the Bureau of Accreditation (BoA, Vietnam), Mr Trevor Nash from the Association of British Certification Bodies (ABCB), Mr Ekanit Romyanon from the National Standardization Council of Thailand (NSC), and Mr Jon Murthy from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) will continue their roles as IAF Directors or Committee Chairs.

The implementation of the IAF Strategic Plan (2015-2019) has progressed with important achievements in 2015. Looking at the way forward, we are very excited for the future development of IAF.

The IAF MLA is our major service to facilitate trade and support regulators. In the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) released in November 2015, which is a trade agreement between twelve (12) Pacific Rim countries, accreditation recognized by existing regional and international mutual recognition Arrangements is referenced as being as a key measure to support trade through the removal of technical barriers. It is the latest development of the IAF MLA in facilitating trade.

The IAF MLA peer evaluations began in 1996. The IAF MLA was signed for the first time by fifteen (15) Accreditation Bodies with scope for Quality Management System Certification in 1998. There are now sixty-one (61) Accreditation Body Signatories to the IAF MLA from fifty-six (56) economies. The IAF MLA has also recognized three (3) Regional Accreditation Group MLAs. The IAF MLA has been restructured and expanded to cover four Main Scopes and five Sub-Scopes. The Main Scope of the IAF MLA, which demonstrates that accredited conformity assessment results are equally reliable, now covers Management System Certification ISO/IEC 17021, Product Certification ISO/IEC 17065, Certification of Persons ISO/IEC 17024 and Greenhouse Gas Validation and Verification ISO 14065. At the Sub-Scope level, which demonstrates that accredited conformity assessment results are equivalent, the IAF MLA now covers Quality Management System Certification ISO 9001 (QMS), Environmental Management System Certification ISO 14001 (EMS), Food Safety Management System Certification ISO 22000 (FSMS), Information Security Management System Certification ISO/IEC 27001 (ISMS) and GLOBALG.A.P. IFA Control Points and Compliance Criteria. There are more certification schemes to be included in the IAF MLA. In order to better meet the needs of the market and further enhance the effective operation of the IAF MLA, the IAF MLA peer evaluation process will also be further improved, including the scope extension process for inclusion of relevant conformity assessment schemes or standards in a main scope.

The IAF technical documents and various mechanisms to support consistent application of relevant standards are fundamental and have played an important role for the effective operation of the IAF MLA. Continual improvement for consistency of accreditation practices among Accreditation Bodies is a strategic direction which has been discussed recently with important progress. The expectation for the level of harmonized application for relevant requirements may be changed due to various reasons. The communication with common understanding and identification of key subjects from time to time among Accreditation Bodies, accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies and conformity assessment scheme owners is critical for achieving consistency as expected. For the way forward, several actions have been initiated. An IAF online consistency forum will be created as a new mechanism to better facilitate stakeholder feedback and knowledge sharing and more efficiently resolve potential inconsistencies. The feedback process in the peer evaluations will be formalized. The discussion paper process, Mandatory Document development process and relevant information management will be improved. Enhancement of cooperation among Accreditation Bodies and coordination between the Accreditation Body Information Exchange Group (ABIEG) and the Conformity Assessment Body Advisory Committee (CABAC) will be explored.

Communication and promotion are important for wider acceptance of accreditation and the IAF MLA by major stakeholders. There are various actions being undertaken in this area in partnership with relevant international and regional organizations, including further enhancing relationships with technical organizations and key stakeholders such as the World Trade Organization Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade, the International Organization for Standardization's Committee on Conformity Assessment and others, maintaining publicsectorassurance.org to ensure access to case study examples and reference sites to inform the decisions of regulators and specifiers in relation to conformity assessment procedures, and exploring the possibility to establish an IAF Database of Accredited Management System Certifications. The World Accreditation Day on 9th June is celebrated across the world with the hosting of national events, seminars, and press and media coverage, to communicate the value of accreditation to government, regulators and the leaders of the business community. The 2016 theme is “Accreditation: A global tool to support public policy”.

It is a long-term commitment of IAF to facilitate the development of accreditation in developing economies. Further measures will be taken to enhance strategic planning for seeking support from funding agencies for projects to support specific economies, to promote the use of online platforms to deliver training and share best practices information, and to improve opportunities for developing Accreditation Bodies to participate in relevant IAF activities and to obtain support from IAF.

Regional Accreditation Groups play an important role in upholding the objectives of IAF. IAF, together with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), is continually improving the coordination of work between the global level and the regional level to ensure the consistency and efficiency of work with international relevance, while Regional Accreditation Groups may need to meet specific needs for their regions. The rules of IAF for initiating New Work Items will enhance wider relevance and participation across regions. The internal audit and management review procedures for the operation of the IAF management system will be also further enhanced for continual improvement of IAF governance.

The User Advisory Committee (UAC), with Industry and User Association Members from various sectors, representing the interests of end-users of accredited conformity assessment, provides advice and assistance for the development and implementation of IAF strategies to ensure accredited conformity assessment in fulfilling end-user expectations, and to continually improve the value and effectiveness of accredited conformity assessment. The contributions of the UAC to the IAF activities, including the development and implementation of the IAF Strategic Plan, are greatly appreciated.

Great achievements have been made in the past and we will continue our journey with our vision: IAF, along with ILAC, to be preferred partners for worldwide recognition of accredited conformity assessment results that meet the market, regulatory and public needs.

At the dawn of 2016, I wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year!

Promoting Accreditation at the WTO

IAF, in partnership with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and the Independent International Organisation for Certification (IIOC), hosted a workshop session at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Public Forum in October. A common core principle of IAF, ILAC, and IIOC is to facilitate trade through the removal of technical barriers to trade through the global acceptance of certificates, and so the session was aligned to the umbrella theme of the conference; “Trade Works”.

The session cited case studies and research papers that demonstrate how accredited certification, testing and inspection support cross-border trade, and pointed to how further examples could be found at the Public Sector Assurance website.

The session, which took place at the WTO headquarters in Geneva, attracted national trade officials, representatives from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and regulatory contacts.


WSC Workshop on Conformity Assessment

IAF presented at a workshop organised jointly by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in December. Under the banner of the World Standards Cooperation (WSC), established in 2001 as a high-level group focusing on the common interests of the three world-wide international standards development organisations, the workshop was attended by manufacturers, regulators, and transition economy leaders.  

The aims of the workshop included:

  • To help find solutions to existing conformity assessment (CA) issues;
  • To bring together and share different national situations, experience, issues & solutions;
  • To build awareness of the value & benefits of global CA; and
  • To help solve the issues of product safety, performance, energy efficiency, fake & counterfeit products.


Engaging with UNECE

The International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and IAF jointly presented the value of accreditation and the Arrangements at the twenty-fifth session of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation and Standardization Policies (WP.6).

The UNECE Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation and Standardization Policies works to lower costs, facilitate trade, and improve access to critical technologies, while protecting the health and safety of consumers and workers, and preserving our natural environment. To achieve this goal, the Working Party develops common regulatory frameworks in specific sectors.

ILAC and IAF were able to provide delegates with an update in the coverage of the Arrangements in terms of scope and geography, as well as highlight examples of good regulatory practice through the use of accredited conformity assessment.


IAF, ILAC, and UNIDO Launch New Publication for Developing Economies

IAF, the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) are pleased to announce the upcoming release of the new joint publication, “Accreditation in Developing Economies”. It is an update of the 2003 Publication, “Laboratory Accreditation in Developing Economies”, and provides a clear and comprehensive description of considerations for, and the steps leading to, the establishment of Accreditation Bodies in developing countries.

For government and policy decision-makers, it provides an overview of what accreditation is and how it may be applied to meet objectives such as increasing trade, addressing health and safety concerns, or improving the general overall quality of output in an economy. It discusses the need for accreditation and the over-arching conditions that should exist within an economy for the successful introduction of an accreditation system. The document provides a detailed explanation of what an accreditation system can deliver to an economy and how that system interacts with the economies of trading partners. It also describes the role that accreditation plays to help achieve domestic health, safety and quality objectives as well as facilitating trade with external jurisdictions. Furthermore, it describes the contribution that an accreditation system can make to overall good governance in an economy.

For those responsible for establishing an Accreditation Body once the policy decision to proceed has been made, the document provides background information on the essential operational requirements for Accreditation Bodies such as organizational structure, human resource needs, management system requirements, assessment and surveillance processes, record requirements, and all other the requirements that are specified in ISO/IEC 17011. It offers a description of how Accreditation Bodies perform their work, which gives insight into why the organizational structural requirements are the way they are and also outlines practical steps involved in setting up the body.

Finally, the publication outlines some of the resources that are available to assist those in developing economies, as well as some of the potential challenges that may be encountered and how to deal with them.

IAF, ILAC and UNIDO hope that the insight provided by this publication will help to demystify accreditation to those responsible in developing economies and by sharing real-life experiences, ease the process for those economies to join the accepted international system that promotes “tested and certified once – accepted everywhere”.

The new publication will be available shortly and accessible via the IAF, ILAC and UNIDO websites.


Update from the IAF Technical Committee

The Technical Committee (TC) met twice in 2015, on 11/12 April in Frankfurt, Germany and on 30/31 October in Milan, Italy. With support and active contribution from the Members, a number of projects have been successfully completed.

The IAF technical documents that were endorsed and published during the year 2015 are:

  • IAF MD 17:2015 Witnessing Activities for the Accreditation of Management Systems Certification Bodies;
  • IAF MD 18:2015 Application of ISO/IEC 17021:2011 in the Service Management Sector(ISO/IEC 20000-1);
  • IAF ID 9: 2015 Transition Planning Guidance for ISO 9001:2015;
  • IAF ID 10: 2015 Transition Planning Guidance for ISO 14001:2015;
  • IAF ID 11:2015 Information on the Transition of Management System Accreditation to ISO/IEC 17021-1: 2015 from ISO/IEC 17021: 2011; and
  • IAF ID 12:2015 Principles on Remote Assessment.

The documents have been now posted on the IAF website for public access.

There were 4 training sessions provided, in relation to the new important standards, during the meetings as follows:

  • ISO 9001:2015                        Trainer : Colin Mcnee
  • ISO 14001:2015                      Trainer : Anne-Marie Warris
  • ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015           Trainer : Randy Dougherty
  • ISO 13485                               Trainer : Grant Ramaley

The Technical Committee would like to thank all the trainers for their contributions (which were provided free of charge.)

During the 2015 General Assembly, the Technical Committee proposed five resolutions that were adopted by the General Assembly in Milan:

IAF Resolution 2015–12Transitional Arrangement for ISO/IEC 27006:2015 -
The General Assembly, acting on the recommendation of the Technical Committee, resolved that the transition period for ISO/IEC 27006:2015 Information technology -- Security techniques -- Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of information security management systems will be two years from the date of publication of the standard, i.e. 30 September 2017.

IAF Resolution 2015–13Transitional Arrangement for the Revision of ISO 13485:2003 - The General Assembly, acting on the recommendation of the Technical Committee, resolved that the transition period for the next revision of ISO 13485:2003 Medical devices -- Quality management systems -- Requirements for regulatory purposes will be three years from the date of publication of the revised standard.

IAF Resolution 2015–14Non-Accredited Certification Where the MS CB is Accredited for the Same Scope – The General Assembly, acting on the recommendation of the Technical Committee, resolved that IAF Accreditation Body Members shall have legally enforceable arrangements with their accredited CABs that prevents the CAB from issuing non-accredited management systems certificates in scopes for which they are accredited.

The General Assembly further agreed that the transition period will be one year from the date of endorsement.

IAF Resolution 2015–15Maintenance of IAF Technical Committee Documents - The General Assembly, acting on the recommendation of the Technical Committee, resolved that references to ISO/IEC 17021 in IAF documents shall be understood to refer to ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 in relation to CABs that have completed the transition and after the transition period.

However ABs and CABs will need to take account of the changes in ISO/IEC 17021-1 when using IAF documents which may not be revised until after the transition period to reference ISO/IEC 17021-1.

IAF Resolution 2015–16Development of IAF Documents - The General Assembly, acting on the recommendation of the Technical Committee, resolved that a permanent committee may, subject to the agreement of its Members, waive circulation of a draft document to its Members for 30-day comment (ref: IAF PR-2, clause 3.5[ii]) and proceed directly to 60-day comment of all IAF Members.

The Technical Committee is now in the process of developing initiatives for enhancing governance of operation, based on Members’ needs. These initiatives include improvement of meeting participation, working remotely and shortening the IAF technical document development process.

Special thanks to Trevor Nash - IAF TC Vice-Chair, Joan Brough-Kerrebyn – IAF TC Secretary, and all the Working Group/Task Force Conveners. It was our teamwork that made the meeting as successful as it was.

Thank you to all IAF TC Members for your contributions during the past year.

Ekanit Romyanon,

IAF Technical Committee Chair.


The Voice of Industry

The User Advisory Committee (UAC) is comprised of industry and end-users of accredited conformity assessment, who were well represented at the IAF-ILAC Annual Meetings which occurred in Milan, Italy in October/November 2015. UAC Members in attendance included representatives from: the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (BDI)/Siemens AG, the Quality Excellence for Suppliers of Telecommunications Forum represented by Cisco Systems, Global Procurement Italy (GP Italy), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC), GLOBALG.A.P., and the The Quality System for Feed Additives and Premixtures asbl (FAMI-QS).

At their last meeting, the UAC focused upon continuing to provide input into the implementation of the IAF Strategic Plan to assure that the voice of industry and end-users was clearly and effectively reflected. This was a follow-up from work that commenced via WebEx during the summer of 2015. The UAC identified specific Strategic Actions from the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan to support. Some of the actions agreed were that UAC Members, especially scheme owners, would collect and provide case studies and examples demonstrating the value of accreditation, along with reasons why their schemes may not have not been recognized/accepted, and examples of inconsistencies between Accreditation Bodies (ABs). Additionally, the UAC agreed to support the Communications and Marketing Committee (CMC) in producing promotional materials and to invite the IAF to attend the Feed Regulations Meeting in January 2016.  

The Milan UAC meeting was the final meeting under the leadership of Martin Stadler and Grant Ramaley as UAC Chair and Vice-Chair respectively. The new UAC Chair and Vice-Chair, Sheronda Jeffries and Emmanuel Geneiatakis, along with the Members of the UAC, thank Martin and Grant for their leadership and look forward to their continued support.

The next UAC meeting will occur via WebEx, with a face-to-face meeting at the IAF-ILAC 2016 Mid-Term meetings in Frankfurt, Germany which will be followed by a UAC reception sponsored by FAMI-QS to allow UAC Members to informally engage with IAF and ILAC leaders to discuss any concerns or issues.

Joint Development Support Committee Update
 
JDSC meeting participants
JDSC meeting participants

The Joint Development Support Committee (JDSC) works with combined efforts from IAF and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). The most recent meeting was held in Milan, Italy, on 3 November 2015. This meeting was attended by 70 participants from Accreditation Bodies, conformity assessment bodies and stakeholders. The new IAF Co-Chair elected this year, Ms. Andrea Melo from the General Coordination for Accreditation (CGCRE, Brazil) and the ILAC Co-Chair, Ms Liliane Somma from the Organismo Uruguayo de Acreditacion (OUA, Uruguay) coordinated the activities.

The agenda of the meeting included presentations from the Strategic Plan items relating to the JDSC, Gulf Cooperation Council Accreditation Centre (GAC), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), including the Joint Guide on "Accreditation in Developing Economies", National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) on new/revised standards, International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC), World Health Organization (WHO), an ILAC Presentation on the results of the ILAC Questionnaire on medical activities in your economy/region and a discussion forum on the role that accreditation plays in the provision of health and social care and the challenges faced by those seeking to provide these services in developing economies.

The participants had the opportunity to discuss the challenges faced in their organization with experts in many areas. A group was formed under the JDSC to discuss how developing Accreditation Bodies can increase their participation in the revision and commenting process of ILAC and IAF documents. Besides these topics, the JDSC Co-Chairs noted there is an opportunity for improvement in the Funding Policies to make it clearer what types of support are available to increase the participation of Accreditation Bodies from developing countries in the IAF and ILAC meetings.


Conformity Assessment Bodies Advisory Committee Update

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:

  • Inconsistency;
  • 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.


Cofrac’s 7th Accreditation & Certifications Forum
 

Held in Paris on November 9th 2015, the 7th Accreditation & Certifications Forum gathered together around a hundred representatives from Certification Bodies as well as members from the Comite Francais d'Accreditation’s (Cofrac) boards. 

As an opening to this new edition of the Forum, Jean-Luc Hardy, Chairman of the Certifications section Committee, highlighted the diversity of accreditation schemes and technical domains managed by the 11 people of the small dynamic Certifications section. After a review of the various stages composing the accreditation process, the Forum mainly focused on international and national activities.

Certification and international activities

Thanks to international recognition of their activities, certification bodies accredited by Cofrac can promote their certificates abroad. In order to encourage the development of this market and standardize practices, the section is highly involved in several working groups relating to certification in the food market, to management and environmental systems at the European level, within European Cooperation for Accreditation (EA) as well as at an international level in the framework of the work done by IAF. This upstream involvement helps promote Cofrac’s experience and anticipate innovations to come while participating in improvements.

A highly involved team

The Forum represented an opportunity to come back on the close link uniting the section and public authorities. Presentation of the newest standards versions, work on decrees projects…: the exchanges were numerous in order to facilitate both the integration and deep understanding of accreditation specificities, and to appreciate the need to guarantee a reliable certification. The section also underlined the development of new accreditation schemes, current topics such as energy transition or information technologies, allowing players to adapt to evolutions and market needs. Lastly, regarding accreditation and certification reference documents, a review of transitions successfully completed was presented.

The Forum closing speech by Bernard Doroszczuk, General Director, focused on three aspects of accreditation, at the heart of Cofrac’s concerns. The service provided to stakeholders was enriched with a more effective communication notably thanks to Cofrac’s corporate page on LinkedIn as well as the more efficient search engine on its website. The forum was also the occasion to underline the simplification and improvement of current works, with the implementation of dematerialization of evaluation reports. Finally, Cofrac has the ambition to control all the risks it is exposed to: in terms of resources regarding the active search for technical assessors and the reliability of the accreditation process. Lastly, Bernard Doroszczuk reiterated the need to promote accreditation for the benefit of certification bodies and their clients.


Assuring Success - Reaching out to New Audiences

The publication of the new versions of the world’s most widely used management system standards – ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 – in September 2015 has provided a huge opportunity for the conformity assessment sector.

With 1.4 million current accredited certificates for these two standards, at the least, those organisations already certified need to be taken through the great benefits of these revisions. Most exciting is the opportunity to reach out to those currently either not using or unaware of these great business improvement tools.

This was one of the key drivers behind the Independent International Organisation for Certification (IIOC), an IAF Association Member, launching the Assuring Success campaign. IIOC Chief Executive Marcus Long explains, ‘The revisions to these two key International Organization for Standardization (ISO) management system standards are reasons for genuine excitement within our industry. They point to the very heart of what businesses and other organisations need to be effective and successful – risk-based thinking, leadership, supply change management, strategic environmental management, etc. We should shout from the rooftops about how we can help make them better.’

The Assuring Success campaign is one effort to talk about these great revisions. Focusing on online media and backed with social media and other tools, the campaign concentrated on the US, UK and Chinese markets. Marcus Long again, ‘It was very positive to take the message of conformity assessment out to new audiences and it was particularly encouraging to see how IAF and some of its Members realised the positive messages and shared these. The more accreditors, certifiers and standardisers can work together, the greater the chance of our messages being heard.’

On one level, the Assuring Success campaign barely scratches the surface of grasping the opportunity to take the positive messages of conformity assessment to businesses, government, consumers, and other groups. It does however provide a positive foundation for working together, always with the aim of better communicating benefits to the most important people – the users and potential users of conformity assessment.


Recent IAF Publications

IAF has published five new documents and ten revised documents since the last edition of IAF News, including three Policy Documents, one Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) Document, two Mandatory Documents, three Informative Documents, two Procedures Documents, one Communiqué, one IAF-ILAC Joint Publication, and two Documents for General Information. IAF documents are available free of charge in the Publications area of the IAF website (iaf.nu).

New documents:

Joint IAF-ISO Communiqué on the publication and transition of ISO 9001:2015
(October 2015)
This joint IAF-ISO Joint Communiqué confirms the formal publication date of ISO 9001:2015, and the date in which the transition of certified organisations to ISO 9001:2015 must be completed by.

IAF ID 10: 2015 Transition Planning Guidance for ISO 14001:2015
(Issue 1, issued on 27 February 2015; Application from 27 February 2015)
This document provides guidance for the transition from ISO 14001:2004 to ISO 14001:2015.

IAF ID 11:2015 Information on the Transition of Management System Accreditation to ISO/IEC 17021-1: 2015 from ISO/IEC 17021: 2011
(Issue 1, issued on 06 March 2015; Application from 06 March 2015)
This document provides information for the transition of management system accreditation from ISO/IEC 17021: 2011 to ISO/IEC 17021-1: 2015.

IAF ID 12:2015 Principles on Remote Assessment
(Issue 1, issued on 23 December 2015; application from 23 December 2015)
This document provides suggestions about how to plan, manage, and facilitate remote assessments used by Accreditation Bodies in order to complement traditional oversight techniques.

IAF/ILAC A6:02/2015 Approval Process for IAF/ILAC A-Series Documents

(25 February 2015)
This document describes the procedures to be followed in the development, approval and maintenance of IAF/ILAC A-Series documents. The date of application for this document is 25 February 2015.

 

Revised documents:

IAF PL 2:2015 Bylaws of the International Accreditation Forum Inc.
(Issue 7, issued on 26 November 2015; application from 26 November 2015)
This document describes the procedures to be followed in the development, approval and maintenance of IAF/ILAC A-Series documents. The date of application for this document is 25 February 2015.

IAF PL5:2014 Structure of the International Accreditation Forum Inc.
(Issue 6, issued on 05 January 2016, application from 05 January 2016)
This document details the Bylaws of the International Accreditation Forum.


IAF PL 6:2015 IAF Memorandum of Understanding
(Issue 5, issued on 04 May 2015; application from 04 May 2015)
The IAF Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is the basic membership document of IAF. All Members of IAF are required to sign the MoU and to abide by the commitments they make in it.

IAF IAF ML 1:2016 Guidance for the Exchange of Documentation among MLA Signatories for the Assessment of Conformity Assessment Bodies
(Issue 3, issued on 08 January 2016; application from 08 January 2016)
This document describes procedures for the exchange of documentation among Accreditation Bodies that are members of the IAF MLA, where such documentation issued by the originating Accreditation Body is requested for consideration as part of assessment activities relating to the granting, maintaining, extending, reducing, suspending and withdrawing of accreditation by the receiving Accreditation Body. This document does not make it mandatory for IAF member Accreditation Bodies to exchange documents.

IAF MD 5:2015 Determination of Audit Time of Quality and Environmental Management Systems
(Issue 3, issued on 09 June 2015; Application from 09 June 2016)
This document is mandatory for the consistent application of the relevant clauses of ISO/IEC 17021-1 for audits of quality and environmental management systems. It provides mandatory provisions and guidance for CABs to develop their own processes for determining the amount of time required for the auditing of clients of differing sizes and complexity over a broad spectrum of activities.

IAF MD 12:2016 Accreditation Assessment of Conformity Assessment Bodies with Activities in Multiple Countries
(Issue 2, issued on 07 January 2016; application from 07 January 2016)
Provides requirements for the consistent application of Clause 7 of ISO/IEC 17011 regarding an Accreditation Body (AB)'s Assessment of Conformity Assessment Bodies (CAB)'s that provide certification in countries outside the country in which their head office is located.

IAF PR 1: 2015 Procedure for the Investigation and Resolution of Complaints
(Issue 3, issued on 27 July 2015; Application from 27 July 2015)
IAF has adopted the procedure set out in this document for the investigation and resolution of complaints made to IAF. Complaints received may concern decisions and activities of IAF or IAF Members, or conformity assessment bodies (CABs) accredited by IAF Accreditation Body Members.

IAF IAF PR4: 2015 Structure of the IAF MLA and List of IAF Endorsed Normative Documents
(Issue 7, issued on 24 October 2015; Application from 24 October 2015)

Describes the structure of the IAF MLA and publishes the list of IAF endorsed normative documents, including international standards, as required by IAF PR2.

IAF Public Document Responsibility (IAF-EC-11-11 Rev9)
(26 November 2015)
Lists the IAF Main Committee responsible for each publicly available IAF document.

IAF Representatives, Liaisons, and Contacts (IAF EC-11-10 Rev. 7)
(22 November 2015)
Lists the IAF representative(s) and liaison(s) to external committees and organizations, and the contact individuals in those committees and organizations.


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