Hosted by ACCREDIA, the Italian accreditation body, the EA 43rd General Assembly (GA) gathered 92 delegates from 45 EA National Accreditation Bodies (NABs), the European Commission, EFTA and 8 EA Recognized Stakeholder organisations.
In 2019, ACCREDIA celebrates its 10th anniversary, an opportunity to communicate on the development of accreditation in Italy which found its root in standardization and was triggered by the development of a European market where technical barriers have been progressively removed.
Interaction amongst the members and debate on major strategic issues such as the new structure and decision-making process of EA illustrated again the continuous involvement and commitment of the EA members in the European Accreditation infrastructure.
It was noted that 13 actions of the Strategy 2025 Implementation plan had been closed. It means that the implementation of the defined objectives 2025 is progressing well and, if we take account of the fact that some actions are interdependent, their contents being closely linked to the results of others, the plan should be successfully and timely fulfilled.
Concrete steps were agreed
Further to the presentation by the Executive Committee of the outcome of the Strategy 2025 Task Force Group 4, chaired by Filippo Trifiletti (ACCREDIA), and the TFG recommendation on the best location for the EA Secretariat, the General Assembly acknowledged the decision made by the Executive Committee to maintain the EA Secretariat in Paris.
The GA also endorsed the proposal to revise the Rules of Procedure (RoP) and to adjust them to the new structure agreed in November 2018 with a new Executive Board and Technical Management Board.
The TFG proposed to transfer decision-making power from the General Assembly to the Executive Board, TMB and Technical Committees in order to be more efficient and to have faster decision-making processes without undermining the principles of democracy and transparency which are deeply rooted in EA’s values. This was supported by the Members.
Important to note that the reports by the Committees and Council chairs highlighted also that the One Voice policy is at work and has already produced concrete results on the international scene.
The General Assembly endorsed the decision of the Executive Committee to renew and sign the Bilateral Cooperation Agreement (BCA) with the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). A previous BCA between both parties was signed on June 2016. Based on the CETA CA Protocol, this agreement establishes the terms, conditions and procedures of cooperation between EA and SCC for technical support of activities aimed at mutual recognition of NABs and accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies operating in EU and Canada.
The GA was informed that the survey, launched in 2018 and revised in 2019, on the functioning of accreditation in Europe would, from now on, be an annual survey combined with the survey on the number of accreditations whose results are used for the calculation of membership fees. The European Commission requested that the results shall be made public and shall be available in the EA Annual Report as a means to demonstrate the value of accreditation to underpin European regulation and policies.
31 resolutions have been adopted, the most significant decisions are listed below.
New Officers in EA Executive Committee
The GA elected as new Executive Committee members for the term 1st January 2020 – 31st December 2021:
- Cecilie Laake, NA (the Norwegian NAB) as the new EA Vice-Chair succeeding to Maria Papatzikou (ESYD, the Greek NAB)
- Orbay Evrensevdi, TURKAK (the Turkish NAB), new Chair of the Inspection Committee succeeding to Rolf Straub (SAS, the Swiss NAB)
Ignacio Pina, ENAC, remains the EA Chairman.
The other members of the Executive Committee elected for the 2020-2021 term are:
- EA Multilateral Agreement Council Chair: Paulo Tavares, IPAC
- EA Horizontal Harmonization Committee Chair: Gabriel Zrenner, DAkkS
- EA Laboratory Committee Chair: Laurent Vinson, COFRAC
- EA Certification Committee Chair: Kevin Belson, UKAS
- EA Inspection Committee Chair: Orbay Evrensevdi, TURKAK
- EA Communications & Publications Committee Chair: Lucyna Olborska, PCA
Four additional members of the Executive Committee:
- Emanuele Riva, ACCREDIA
- Jiří Růžička, CAI
- Ed Wieles, RvA
- Martin SENČÁK, SNAS
Three members of the Financial Oversight Committee:
- Todor Gunchev, BAS
- Stephan Finke, DAkkS
- Jesper Høy, DANAK
The General Assembly elected Todor Gunchev (BAS) as the FOC Chair.
Revised and approved documents
Two New Work Item Proposals have been agreed by the General Assembly in order to revise
- EA-4/18 Guidance on the Level and Frequency of Proficiency Testing Participatio
- EA-1/17 EA Rules of Procedure (see above)
Besides, the GA accepted two additional new work items for the development of 2 new documents:
- The Certification Committee recommended the preparation of Guidance on the Accreditation and Certification of Anti-Bribery Management Systems to ISO 37001: 2016 (under ISO/IEC 17021-1).
- Further to HHC March 2019 workshop on the “risk-based-approach”, a concept that has been reinforced in the new ISO/IEC 17011, HHC recommended to develop an informative document containing a list of risks in accordance with ISO/IEC 17011:2017 which Accreditation Bodies may take into account when preparing assessments, accreditation program or performing scope extension of CAB’s. The document is also meant to provide the list of possible risks related to impartiality at the National Accreditation Body management level.
The General Assembly ratified the positive ballots on the adoption of 3 major EA documents:
- Revised EA-2/15: EA Requirements for the Accreditation of Flexible Scopes
- Revised EA-2/13: EA Cross Border Accreditation Policy and Procedure for Cross Border Cooperation Between EA Members,
- The new EA document EA-1/23: EA Policy to speak with “One Voice”.
In line with its policy to not duplicate IAF/ILAC work and adopt automatically IAF/ILAC publications unless they prove to create a concern with regards to EA and EU policies, the General Assembly adopted:
- IAF MD 5:2019 – Determination of Audit Time of Quality, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems;
- IAF MD 11:2019 – IAF Mandatory Document for the Application of ISO/IEC 17021-1 for Audits of Integrated Management Systems;
- IAF MD 17:2019 – Witnessing Activities for the Accreditation of Management Systems Certification Bodies;
- IAF MD 22:2019 – Application of ISO/IEC 17021-1 for the Certification of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OH&SMS);
as mandatory documents for all EA Members.
The next General Assembly will be hosted by NAH, the Hungarian National Accreditation Body in Budapest on 20 and 21 November 2019.
In 2020, when EA will be celebrating its 20th anniversary, OLAS (Luxemburg) and HAA (Croatia) will host the spring and autumn EA General Assembly meetings.
All the resolutions adopted at the 43rd EA General Assembly are available at www.european-accreditation.org/page/ea-approved-resolutions.