2019, towards better Harmonization and International cooperation

In March and May, European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) is holding its Committees meetings across Europe, the occasion to gather and discuss key issues of accreditation and conformity assessment.

On 12-13 March 2019, the Horizontal Harmonization Committee (HHC) is holding its 21st meeting in Brussels.

On the agenda, a new EA document is currently being voted: EA 1/23 EA Policy to speak with “One Voice”. This document recognizes that tools to support the implementation of “One Voice” are already available but some are missing in the non-regulated area with voluntary schemes in particular and should be developed.

The creation of an EA forum to facilitate discussions on harmonization is currently being finalized and will be reviewed in the coming weeks by HHC and CC during a pilot phase, according to the Implementation plan Item 1.5.3.

A third workshop on the theme “Risk in ISO/IEC 17011:2017” will be organized in order to continue the work initiated in March 2018 on reviewing the different areas to be considered for harmonization further to the publication of the new standard, and deciding whether or not an item should be listed on HHC Work list or require the development of a specific document.

Several documents related to ISO/IEC 17011 and its application are also under revision:

  • EA 2/13: EA Cross Border Accreditation Policy and Procedure for Cross Border Cooperation between EA Members
  • EA 2/15: EA requirements for the accreditation of flexible scopes
  • EA 3/01: EA conditions for the use of accreditation symbols, text reference to accreditation and Reference to EA MLA signatory status, including the policy on how to use the future EA MLA Mark

HHC will consider progress and decide on the next steps in the revision process.

 

The Laboratory Committee (LC) is organizing its 37th meeting on 27-28 March with a specific harmonization focus on the implementation of the new ISO/IEC 17025.

To achieve this objective, LC decided to set up a workshop during its 2019 September meeting with a view to discuss critical issues identified by the National Accreditation Bodies (NABs) in the first months of the implementation of the new standard. In preparation for the workshop, a questionnaire will be elaborated and circulated to the LC members. The revision of 3 documents has already started:

  • EA-INF/13: The Assessment and Accreditation of Opinions and Interpretations using ISO/IEC 17025:2005
  • EA-4/09: Accreditation for Sensory Testing Laboratories
  • EA-4/02: Evaluation of the Uncertainty of Measurement in Calibration (a draft will be probably presented at the next meeting in March 2019).

As for the revision of 2/18: Guidelines for Accreditation Bodies on the content of the scopes of accreditation for proficiency testing providers, since the document is related to ILAC G 18 Guideline for the Formulation of Scopes of Accreditation for Laboratories, LC decided to wait until the revision is completed in ILAC.

 

Harmonization a major topic for the European Commission (EU) and EA

In 2019, 2 Refresher trainings for EA evaluators will be organized, on 18-20 June (BELAC, Belgium) and in December (date and location to be discussed) in order to update the pool of existing evaluators and carry on the smooth running of EA NABs’ peer-evaluation in the coming years.

As the other committees, the Multilateral Agreement Council (MAC) will organize two meetings in 2019 and the first one will be in Reykjavik, Iceland, 8-9 May. At this meeting, the final

paper on the re-engineering project, to be consolidated during the TFG Meeting in Brussels (20 February), will be presented to the MAC Members.

Throughout 2019, 10 NABs will be peer-evaluated and TURKAK will be also be peer-evaluated to increase its peer-evaluation scopes to Reference Materials Producers (RMP) and Proficiency Testing Providers (PTP).

In order to launch the Reference Materials Producers (RMP) MLA, EA is waiting for one more positive decision by the MAC. Indeed, RvA and UKAS are the first two EA-MLA Members which have been successfully evaluated for accreditation in the field of RMP. To be in accordance with EA Resolution 2017 (39) and launch the RMP MLA, MAC needs at least 3 successfully peer-evaluated NABs. The next stage will be in May with the confirmation that the MLA can start.

According to the transition plan to ISO/IEC 17011:2017, previously approved by the MAC, in 2019 will start the document review of the NABs whose peer evaluation is not planned during the transition period (option B). The concerned NABs shall send the IAF/ILAC A3 self-assessment report, highlighting the key changes in their policies and procedures, before 31 December 2019. Meanwhile, EA is appointing the qualified experts to proceed to the document review for the concerned NABs.