Highlights of the 37th EA General Assembly
The Spring EA General Assembly was hosted on 25 and 26 May 2016 in Windsor by UKAS, the UK national accreditation body (NAB), seizing this great opportunity to further celebrate both UKAS’ 21st anniversary and 50 years of accreditation in the United Kingdom.
The revision of EA Articles of Association was approved with the main change providing Bilateral Agreement (BLA) signatories with a voting right in the Multilateral Agreement (MLA) Council.
Upon recommendation from the EA Executive Committee, it was agreed that ILAC- and IAF-approved documents that are mandatory for EA members as well as for EA shall be automatically adopted in the future. This is being transferred in the relevant procedure and is already in force.
The General Assembly endorsed the final report of the Accreditation for Notification (AfN) project which has been aiming for several years to identify the Preferred Harmonised Standards to be used by EA members, an EA recommendation for Notified Bodies’ accreditation. The EA Horizontal Harmonisation Committee (HHC) will further revise EA-2/17 INF: 2014 - EA Document on Accreditation for Notification Purposes in light of the AfN project’s results, by notably including the final list of recommended standards into the document and transferring its status from an informative into a mandatory document.
Finally, the leader of the EA Strategy 2025 project, Peter Strömback (SWEDAC, Sweden), presented a thorough report on the state-of-play of the reflection and the envisaged next steps in setting the path for EA’s activity over the coming decade. The ultimate objective for the dedicated think-tank is to finalise a strategy to be submitted for approval to the next EA General Assembly on 23-24 November 2016 in Boras, Sweden.
A new Hungarian NAB in EA
A new National Accreditation Body of Hungary (NAH) has been accepted as an EA Full Member as of 1 April 2016.
Further to the termination of activities of NAT, the previous national accreditation body (NAB) of Hungary, on 31 December 2015, a new NAB had to be formally appointed by the Hungarian national authorities in accordance with European Regulation (EC) 765/2008. The appointed National Accreditation Body of Hungary (NAH) sent EA their application for EA Full Membership. After an administrative check by the EA Secretariat, the application was thoroughly reviewed by the EA Multilateral Agreement Council (MAC) Management Group (MG), which recommended that NAH be accepted as an EA Full Member. In light of the MAC MG’s recommendation, the EA Executive Committee decided to accept NAH’s application. According to the mandate given by the EA General Assembly in November 2015, EA Full Members were requested to endorse the decision made by the EA Executive Committee through an electronic ballot; the outcome was positive.
EA is very pleased to rank NAH among EA Full Members effective 1 April 2016. NAH was welcomed to its first EA General Assembly on 25-26 May 2016 during which Mr. Miklos Devecz, the NAH Director General, signed the EA Full Membership agreement.
Pictured from the left: Miklos Devecz, NAH Director General, and Thomas Facklam, EA Chairman, at the EA General Assembly on 25-26 May 2016.
NAH has also applied for the EA MLA signatory status. Based on the recommendation of the EA Secretariat, the MAC MG accepted the application and the peer evaluation of NAH will be organized and conducted according EA-2/02: EA Policy and Procedures for the Multilateral Agreement.
An EA brochure throws light on regulating challenges of accreditation
EA has recently published a new brochure aimed at demonstrating how accreditation supports regulators in ensuring competence and enhancing confidence in the market.
The new EA brochure entitled Accreditation: A Tool to Support Regulators has been written by an ad hoc task force group of the EA Communications and Publications Committee (CPC), whose members worked out a comprehensive brochure promoting the added value of accreditation among national regulators. The objectives were to prove how accreditation shall be seen as a service for the European and international Community, demonstrating compliance with specified requirements for competence, independence and impartiality in conformity assessment.
The brochure puts an emphasis on the international agreements that allow for European and global recognition of reports and certificates issued by accredited conformity assessment bodies through the signatory status of national accreditation bodies to the EA Multilateral Agreement (MLA) and the ILAC/IAF MRA/MLA.
Finally it explains how these advantages for regulators and governments result in benefits for businesses across all sectors by boosting efficiency, reducing controls and supporting export, as well as for consumers by protecting their interests in various areas (health, food, environment, etc.) and creating trust.
To catch up on the exciting world of accreditation, please read the full brochure available from the EA online Media Centre at: http://www.european-accreditation.org/book/index.html#p=1
A couple of new EA Recognized Stakeholders
During the EA General Assembly in May 2016 in Windsor, UK, EA signed two Recognized Stakeholder agreements with the European Testing, Inspection and Certification System (ETICS) and the International Federation of Inspection Agencies (IFIA).
The European Testing, Inspection and Certification System (ETICS), formerly the European Electrical Products Certification Association (EEPCA) whose Recognized Stakeholder agreement with EA has been terminated with immediate effect in Windsor, aims to administrate conformity assessment systems for third party compliance carried out within the electro-technical sector, as well as in other areas linked with product certification including factory inspection and testing. ETICS’ main activity is to facilitate access to the European market for certified products and to guarantee the safety and good quality of products and equipment to consumers.
IFIA is a federation of organisations providing testing/inspection/certification services internationally. Its mission is to improve the methods, standards, safety procedures and rules used by its members for the benefit of themselves and their stakeholders. With most of its 57 members operating in Europe, IFIA will work with EA towards improved consistency to European accreditation and greater integration of the accreditation services provided by EA Members.Both ETICS and IFIA have been given the EA Recognised Stakeholder status and entered into a new agreement with EA in accordance with EA-1/15 A: 2014 - EA Policy for Relations with Stakeholders.