Significant achievements were made at the last EA General Assembly held on 22 and 23 November 2017 in Berlin, Germany, and hosted by DakkS, the German Accreditation Body.
The 40th EA General Assembly (GA) gathered representatives from 61 member-countries accreditation bodies, associated members, the European Commission, EFTA, CEN/CENELEC, EA recognized stakeholders and other interested parties.
29 resolutions have been adopted, the most significant decisions are listed below.
New Member and Stakeholders in EA
The General Assembly endorsed the recommendation of the Executive Committee:
- that AZAC, the Azerbaijan Accreditation Centre, becomes an Associate Member of EA with effect from 23 November 2017. This new associate member makes EA gather now 14 Associate Members. Welcome to our new colleagues from AZAC!
- to offer EA Recognised Stakeholder status to FSSC 22000 (Food Safety System Certification) and UILI (Union Internationale des Laboratoires Indépendants), in accordance with EA-1/15 A: 2014 – EA Policy for Relations with Stakeholders.
Five new work items have been agreed by the General Assembly to:
- revise the EA Articles of Association with respect to membership criteria and EA-1/17 S5: Supplement 5 to EA-1/17 EA Rules of Procedure – Levying of Membership Fees;
- revise EA-2/13: EA Cross Border Accreditation Policy and Procedure for Cross Border Cooperation between EA Members and its Supplement 1 EA-2/13 S1: Interpretation of terminology used in clause 5.1 ;
- revise EA-3/12: EA Policy for the Accreditation of Organic Production Certification ;
- and elaborate a new EA policy for the Accreditation of Certification Activities under (EU Regulation 1151/2012) PDO/PGI/TSG; (EU Regulations 606/2009, 607/2009 and 1308/2013) Wine Products; (EU regulation 110/2008) Spirits and (EU Regulation 251/2014) Aromatised Wine Products.
Benchmarking of Accreditation Bodies
Dr Tilman Denkler from BAM (The Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und prüfung) presented the results of a benchmarking exercise performed on the analysis of the operation of accreditation bodies, under DakkS management. The objectives of the project were to develop a management tool enabling the investigation of the different methods of operation of accreditation bodies, determine criteria, to allow the comparison of accreditation bodies with different operational processes and organizational models, and identify and promote areas of “Best Pratice”. The EA Executive Committee will consider the follow up actions that could be developed, as supported by the Membership.
Revised and approved documents
The EA Work Programme 2018 and EA Action Plan 2018-2021 have been approved and indicate the key objectives EA will focus on during the next four-year period, based on the experience gained under the previous FPAs concluded with the EC/EFTA and in line with the EA Strategy 2025.
On the accreditation side, the General Assembly endorsed the mandatory application of:
- the ERA Technical Document (MNB – Assessment scheme 000MRA1044 ver.1.1) Requirements for CABs seeking Notification as Level 4 document for all EA members. The transition period for transferring accreditation of existing CABs already accredited for IOD/2008, to the scheme will end on 1st July 2020;
- ISO/IEC 20000-6: 2017 Information technology — Service management — Part 6: Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of service management systems as Level 4 standard for all EA members.
The General Assembly agreed to withdraw:
- EA-3/11: Food Safety Management Systems – Scope of Accreditation, taken over by IAF MD16:2015: Application of ISO/IEC 17011 for the Accreditation of Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) Certification Bodies;
- EA-3/04: Use of proficiency testing as a tool for accreditation in testing, which has been becoming no longer necessary since ISO/IEC 17043 has been published.
The General Assembly approved the revised Terms of Reference of the EA Financial Oversight Committee (FOC) and Laboratory Committee.
In compliance with the EA policy, the General Assembly endorsed as EA decisions applicable for its members ILAC/IAF resolutions taken in Vancouver during the October annual meetings. They concern transitional arrangements, in particular for the new ISO/IEC 17011, adopted publications and specific requirements for accredited CABs for personnel certification when issuing non accredited persons certificates in scopes for which they are accredited.
The next General Assembly will be hosted by BAS, the national accreditation body of Bulgaria, in May 2018.