Peer Evaluation Process
The strength of the EA MLA is maintained through a robust peer evaluation process. The main objective of the peer evaluation activities is to evaluate the on-going compliance of the national accreditation bodies to the internationally agreed requirements and to ensure that regulators, stakeholders and the business community can have confidence in certificates and reports issued by conformity assessment bodies under the EA MLA.
EA has been recognised by the European Commission according to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) nº 765/2008 "Setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products and repealing Regulation (EEC) 339/93" to operate the peer evaluation system of national accreditation bodies in Europe.
Accreditation Bodies are evaluated against the international standard ISO/IEC 17011, and other relevant standards and related criteria such as application documents from EA, ILAC or IAF, and applicable criteria on behalf of European or National Regulators and industrial schemes. The MLA process is overseen by the European Commission, the EA Advisory Board and the national authorities.
The EA peer evaluation process is under on-going review by EA internal auditors and ILAC/IAF peer evaluators as part of the evaluation program for regional cooperation MLAs. EA peer evaluators are highly qualified, experienced accreditation body staff members who attend training programs on a frequent basis. Two to three training seminars take place every year. Peer evaluator performance is reviewed regularly by the EA MAC management group and EA peer evaluators can be mandated for peer evaluation at the ILAC or IAF levels.
The European Commission attends MAC meetings and accreditation bodies are encouraged to invite national authorities to observe peer evaluations of national accreditation bodies performed by EA.
- The national accreditation body applies for MLA signatory status (initial or extention of scopes). The national accreditation body has to specify and justify the scope (testing, calibration etc.) for which it is applying.
- The MLA Council secretariat reviews the application documents.
- The MAC secretariat appoints a team leader and deputy and team members
- The team performs the document review (quality management system documents, procedures of the national accreditation body etc.)
- Where applicable, a pre-evaluation is conducted.
- The team carries out the on-site evaluation. The evaluation combines evaluation of the management system at the national accreditation body office with observation of assessments carried out by the national accreditation body.
- The team drafts the evaluation report at the end of the evaluation. Findings are approved with the national accreditation body at the closing meeting.
- A task force group (TFG) appointed by the EA MLA Council management group looks at the evaluation report in order to issue a recommendation for the EA MLA Council on the result of the peer evaluation.
- The MLA Council makes a decision.
- The EA publications and website are updated accordingly.