The latest EA Multilateral Agreement (EA MLA) report which provides statistical information on the EA MLA, as well as an overview of the key activities completed in 2015 to further develop the MLA coverage and to strengthen the operation of the EA peer evaluation system, has just been released.
In 2015, the EA MLA Council (MAC) held a couple of meetings in April and October, respectively in Istanbul, Turkey and Berlin, Germany.
Extended EA MLA/BLA activities for 2 EA Members
In 2015, one EA Full Member, i.e. IARM, Macedonia, signed for extension of activities covered by the EA MLA, while one EA Associate Member, i.e. NAAU, Ukraine, signed for extension of activities covered by their Bilateral Agreement (EA BLA).
Main peer-evaluation figures
A total of 10 national accreditation bodies (NABs) were peer-evaluated in 2015. A total of 10 evaluation reports were reviewed during the MAC meetings, among which 7 reports related to re-evaluations, 1 report to initial evaluation, and 2 to pre-peer-evaluations.
Expanding the EA MLA coverage
Following the road map agreed at its meeting in October 2014, the MAC has been actively developing the EA MLA for inclusion of ISO/IEC 17043, as a Level 2 activity, for accreditation in the field of proficiency testing providers (PTP) throughout 2015. It was notably decided, together with the EA Laboratory Committee (LC), that there was no need for specific guidance. In 2016, a total of 8 regular and 5 extension peer-evaluations should cover PTP activities in accordance with EA-2/02: EA Policy and Procedures for the Multilateral Agreement. These evaluations should start in April 2016 further to harmonization training activities hosted by UKAS in February 2016. The first decisions on signatures of the EA MLA for PTP accreditation are expected to be made by the EA MAC by its meeting in April 2017.
The development of the EA MLA for inclusion of accreditation of reference material producers (RMP) has also been progressing in 2015. Guidance has been considered as needed and an EA LC Task Force Group will soon start developing a draft. Training has also been planned when ISO 17034 is published.
Improving the EA peer-evaluation system
The IT project started in 2013 to implement a tool for the daily management of peer-evaluations and evaluators progressed very much in 2015. Online services will be developed by late 2016 for more friendly access, use of documents and data management by all involved in the process.
A new policy for the planning of MAC training activities was also established in light of the results of the surveys performed in 2014 and 2015 to enhance the reliability of evaluators’ data and to get a comprehensive and updated picture of the evaluation resources in the MAC. This policy should ensure regular and systematic refresher trainings for team members and team leaders, and put an enhanced focus on the horizontal issues of peer-evaluation such as evaluation techniques, risks, documentation and statistical information.
Exhaustive information and statistics, including the list of Full and Associate Member signatories to each EA MLA scope on the date of 31 December 2015, are given in the EA MLA Annual Report 2015 available from the Media Centre on the EA website.