After approval by the EA General Assembly in May 2011, the EA Laboratory Committee is to start four new work items concerning:
- the elaboration of new guidelines on how to use ILCs with few participants;
- the revision of EA-4/15:2003 Accreditation for Bodies Performing Non-Destructive Testing, with some input from the EA Inspection Committee;
- a small update of EA-4/09:2003 Accreditation of Sensory Testing Laboratories;
- the revision of EA-3/05:1993, EA-3/06:1994, EA-3/07:1993, and Assessor Training, in order to renew the assessor training guidance and replace the three documents with one and cover training of all accreditation activity.
The LC is elaborating a policy for EA ILC activity to which a workshop has been devoted in September 2011.
Discussions are intensifying on accreditation of reference material producers: draft guidelines for harmonization of accreditation of RMPs and the establishment of a new technical network specific for RMPs have been considered at the LC meeting in September 2011.
The LC is planning a Workshop on Food Testing to be hosted on 8 December 2011 by the Belgian national accreditation body (BELAC) in Brussels. Main subjects are accreditation of official control laboratories and GMO testing laboratories.
The LC TFG on Accreditation of Proficiency Testing Providers presented the outcome of the analysis of items that need to be highlighted as accreditation requirements in the transition from ILAC G13 to ISO 17043. The paper has been published on the intranet for use by the EA evaluators as well.
Finally, one of the most striking trends resulting from the last survey on the number and breakdown of CABs accredited within EA by December 2010 is the 31% increase in the number of PT providers accredited by EA full members, rising from 61 in end 2009 to 80 in end 2010. It is also worth stressing that the total number of EA-member accredited laboratories has broadly stabilized in 2010, with a slight 1.7% increase – compared to 10% last year. Further results from the survey are available on the EA website at:
On the EA Inspection Committee’s side, the current discussions are mainly dealing with the revision of ISO/IEC 17020, of which the draft international standard (DIS) is out for voting until 13 June 2011. The IC Chair, Norbert Müller (BMWFJ), has stressed the utmost importance for EA ABs to carry out an exhaustive check of the DIS and to put forward any strong concerns and objections to their National Organizations for Standardization in order to implement a good standard for the coming years.
It was already agreed to inform IAF that an excessive subcontracting by IBs as allowed in Clause 6.3 of the DIS is a matter of great concern for EA-member ABs. The IC agreed that there should be a clause introduced to prohibit extensive subcontracting.
The issue of the impartiality criteria for IB types also raised lively discussions: no consensus was achieved on the question whether the 3 types A, B and C should be replaced by only 2 levels (general and 3rd party).
Traceability of measurements (application of ILAC P10), internal audits and monitoring of inspectors were other topics discussed at the meeting.
The IC members also commented the new draft ILAC P10 contains a reference to inspection. It was understood that P10 is already referenced in ILAC/IAF A4 and is applicable to measurements by critical instruments (as defined in ISO/IEC 17025) also in inspection.
At last, a first common approach to the flexible scope has been defined in the inspection field, asserting that:
- the principle of flexibility is already well established as far as accreditation of IBs is concerned;
- flexibility is defined by the description of the scope through the selection of: product standards; products; group of products; EU directive (and selection of modules).
This outcome is to be put forward to the EA HHC for further consideration during the revision of EA-2/15: EA Requirements for the Accreditation of Flexible Scopes.