New “EA Governance and Policy Document”: EA-1/23: EA policy to speak with “One Voice”

2019-03-21T15:01:01+00:00March 21st, 2019|Accreditation and Conformity Assessment|

A new document was published on 15th March 2019 regarding the concept of “one voice”, its meaning and how to reach it.

Starting October 2015, a project team worked on the development of EA (European Accreditation) for 2017-2025 and established the “EA Strategy 2025”. The General Assembly approved in November 2016 this strategy and its implementation plan in May 2017.

“Good governance to deliver consistent and sustainable results” was one of the three objectives defined by the EA Strategy 2025. It also established the “EA core values”, which shall enable the whole organization to speak with “one voice”.

More information about the EA Strategy 2025, please click here

 

But what is the issue of speaking with “one voice” and how can this be implemented?

EA has identified that in some areas the EA National Accreditation Bodies (NABs) apply different accreditation standards (so-called level 3 standards) for the same activity.

Examples are Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) seeking notification for instance regarding the product legislations for Lifts, Measuring Instruments or Machinery. Some NABs are accrediting those CABs for the same activity, according ISO/IEC 17020 (Inspection bodies) or ISO/IEC 17065 (Certification bodies for Products) or ISO/IEC 17021-1 (Certification Bodies for Management systems).

Another example is the accreditation of laboratories performing medical examinations. In some countries those laboratories are accredited according ISO 15189 (Medical laboratories) and in other countries according ISO/IEC 17025 (Testing laboratories).

The requirements in the accreditation standards are different and that leads to an unfair competition between Conformity Assessments Bodies in Europe and/or other EA member countries. That may have also a negative impact on the acceptance of accreditation(s) throughout Europe.

Therefore, the following actions have been defined by EA

a) Development of a mechanism to identify, analyze and manage situations where the same activity is accredited under different level 3 and 4 standards by different EA members

b) including the identification of the preferred standard for that activity.

The new document EA-1/23 EA policy to speak with “One Voice” covers now the policy and mechanism to identify, analyze and manage situations, where the National Accreditation Bodies apply different accreditation standards for the same activity.

This is another important step towards even more harmonization throughout Europe regarding the accreditation of Conformity Assessment Bodies.

To read the full publication of EA-1/23, click here.