In December (6-7 and 14-15), RvA, the Dutch NAB, hosted two Refresher Workshops for Peer Evaluation Team Leaders and Team Members focused on the new ISO/IEC 17011:2017 and related harmonization issues.

These 2-days training sessions gathered a total of 40 participants from 24 national accreditation bodies (NABs) and were co-convened by Ed Wieles (RvA, the Dutch NAB), Paulo Tavares (IPAC, the Portuguese NAB and MLA Council Chair) and Rob Bettinson (UKAS, the UK NAB).

One of the objectives was to update the EA Evaluators on the specifics of the new ISO/IEC 17011:2017 focusing on the following subjects:

  • Changes in ISO/IEC 17011:2017 and the impact for the peer evaluations (including the new evaluation document ILAC/IAF A3 IAF/ILAC Multi-Lateral Recognition Arrangements: narrative framework for reporting on the performance of an accreditation body – a tool for the evaluation process);
  • Transition procedures for ISO/IEC 17011:2017 established by IAF/ILAC and EA, in particular the decision that all peer evaluations will be conducted to the new version from 1st July 2018, and the mechanism set up for those ABs which would not be in a position to have a peer evaluation completed before the transition deadline (30th November 2020);
  • Evaluation of the implementation of IAF-MD20 (Generic Competence for AB Assessors).

After a round of FAQs based on feedback from the MAC and NABs, discussions concentrated on cases derived from real evaluations and issues raised by participants. “The training provided a good opportunity to review and discuss the changes in the new ISO/IEC 17011: 2017 standard with fellow Peer Evaluators and those involved in the development and management of the evaluation process. It was also helpful as it enabled the attendees to highlight areas where clarifications and additional guidance may be required to achieve harmonization. The material provided was clear and included other useful updates in the peer evaluation process” declares Steve Randal, TL participant from UKAS.

The facilitators were impressed by the engagement of the participants which led to many fruitful discussions. Consensus was reached on the approach to evaluating most of the main changes, highlighting a small number of issues for further discussion and guidance within EA and potentially with other Regions and international associations such as ISO CASCO, ILAC and IAF.

These workshops were also the opportunity to present the new IT project managed by EA Secretariat meant to digitize the peer evaluation management system. This IT system has been designed for the daily management of evaluators and peer evaluations to facilitate the work of all the persons involved. “It will give users access to PE records, documents, templates and forms in a friendlier way and will support the reinforcement of performance management, the development of PE resource pool, with a better knowledge of the detailed competencies of EA evaluators to enhance quality and expertise of evaluation teams.” explains Lydie Mauger, the MAC Secretary in charge of the Peer Evaluations in EA. The tool will also help improving sampling to allow the comprehensive review by the team of all scopes and competence covered by the NAB over the PE cycle. The implementation of the IT system is planned to start in February 2018 with the transfer of Evaluator data and data concerning the peer evaluations 2018/2019.