Certification Issues Considered in EA
The European Accreditation (EA) Certification Committee (CC) held its last meeting on 13-14 September 2016 in Tallinn, Estonia, where it was hosted by the Estonian Accreditation Centre (EAK).
A half-day strategic group discussion was dedicated to the relationship between certification bodies and consultants. EA CC members were divided into several groups to discuss and answer the following questions:
- What activities can a CB do that are not consultancy?
- Can a CB publish a list of consultants? If yes, what kind of controls would be needed?
- At what point does a CB “cross the line” and break the rules of ISO/IEC 17021-1, ISO/IEC 17024 or ISO/IEC 17065?
This is a topic that comes up for discussion on a regular basis, therefore it was agreed that a clear and repeatable EA position is needed. The next steps will be agreed upon based on the collated feedback from the workshop groups, which may include a follow-up workshop at the next CC meeting in March 2017.
After a long-term elaboration process, mandatory EA-3/13: EA Document on the Application of ISO/IEC 17021-1 for the Certification of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS) was published in June 2016. The EACC Task Force Group (TFG) was disbanded in Tallinn. The EA document has been put forward as EA’s input to the IAF Technical Committee (TC) where the issue is being discussed.
EACC WG Environment achieved a revised draft of EA-7/04: Legal Compliance as a Part of Accredited ISO 14001: 2004 Certification, which was endorsed by the CC. The document, which has been sent out for comments within EA by end of 2016, should be finalized in the first half of 2017.
EACC WG Food is about to revise mandatory EA-6/04: EA Guidelines on the Accreditation of Certification of Primary Sector Products by Means of Sampling of Sites. A first draft is expected for discussion at the EACC meeting in March 2017.
Evaluation of the need for guidance documents and revisions to some standards
The EACC agreed that the results of the implementation survey just carried out by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), which are being discussed within the ad hoc IAF working group (WG) to assess whether some guidance is needed or not, show that many clauses of ISO/IEC 17065 need more a clarification than a full revision of the standard. The EACC TFG previously appointed to assess the need for guidance to ISO/IEC 17065 will consider the results of the IAF survey as an input to IAF.
In parallel, the EACC supported CEN/CENELEC TC1 in its decision to postpone the 2017-planned revisions of ISO/IEC 17065 and ISO/IEC 17024 for a further 5 years.
Finally, the need for drafting guidance on accreditation under EN 15224 will be discussed at the next CC meeting.