The 36th meeting of the EA Certification Committee (EA CC) was hosted by PCA, the Polish National Accreditation Body (NAB).
With 62 participants, including representatives from EA stakeholders, such as CEOC International, EFAC (European Federation of Associations of Certification Bodies), EWF (European Federation for Welding, Joining and Cutting), IIOC (Independent International Organisation for Certification), IQNet (International Certification Network) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes), the discussions were led by the EA CC Chair, Kevin Belson from UKAS, the UK NAB, and the CC Vice Chair, Varpu Rantanen from FINAS, Finland, on the following topics :
- Working Group on ICT and Data Security: the CC confirmed the setting up of a new Working Group with the task to contribute to the development of consistent accreditation of entities delivering certification in the Information and Communications Technology and Data Security field. It is recognized that the area is under profound changes with among other things the implementation of the GDPR, the upcoming e-privacy directive, and the Cyber-Security Act. A call for nominations to appoint a convener and WG members will be circulated soon.
- “One voice” concept: based on the EA Strategy 2025 “From Good to Great”, there is continuous discussion on that subject in CC, notably when considering IAF related topics and documents. To get the best input at IAF level, coordination should improve, as supported by stakeholder members of the CC. Preparation of international discussions at EA level should aim to raise awareness of the issues by CC members and build up consensus on EA positions to be put forward at IAF wherever relevant. As a practical tool to enhance the One Voice approach, the CC agreed also to create a forum in EA new intranet. It will offer an open online room for CC members to share experience on day-by-day operations.
- IAF meetings in Singapore: special attention was paid to the busy meeting schedule of the IAF annual meetings in October in Singapore. The objective was to ensure a representation of EA as large as possible since a number of key issues are currently under development.
- Outcome of workshops: CC workshops are an important time during the CC meetings, dedicated to group discussion on topics identified by CC members themselves. They give rise to exchange and sharing of experience with the aim to come up with common understanding and common positions on specific topics. CC Members agreed to benefit further of workshop outcome by including consensus results in the CC FAQs (http://www.european-accreditation.org/faq ).
- Draft EA-3/XX policy for Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), and Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG): the future EA publication is intended to outline the policy for Accreditation Bodies to determine the approach of Certification Bodies seeking accreditation to certify PDO/PGI/TSG. The draft has been worked out by CC Working Group Food and is now ready for circulation to EA comments.
- New ISO 22000 Food Safety Management: there is a concern with transition to the new revision of the standard and CC members agreed to raise the point with IAF in Singapore in order to determine a common approach. The lack of specific rules for transition indeed would undermine harmonization in the implementation of the standard. Additionally, EA is considering setting up a training workshop on the new standard for NAB assessors.
- EU ETS Network: revision of EA-6/03 M:2018 – EA Document for Recognition of Verifiers under the EU ETS Directive is nearing completion. EA comments have been reviewed by the Network group and disposed. A revised draft of EA-6/03 should soon come out to be submitted to EA vote.
- Development of new ISO/IEC DIS 17029 Conformity Assessment — General principles and requirements for validation and verification bodies: the drafting work has been led by EA CC representatives and good progress was reported. This future standard meant to be under level 3 of the EA and IAF MLA (harmonized standards or other normative documents at the same level as ISO/IEC 17025, 17020, 17021 etc) will contain general requirements for conformity assessment bodies performing conformity assessment activities included in Level 2.
This meeting was also the occasion to introduce the new CC Vice Chair from ESYD, Georges Kallergis, stepping in at the end of the meeting, as a successor of Mrs Varpu Rantanen. Varpu said she would stay as a member of the Certification Committee for FINAS for some time. With this change, a new Convener, Salih Yuksel (TURKAK – Turkey) was appointed in the Review Panel to replace Georges. The CC Chair invited NAB Members and stakeholders to nominate candidates to join and renew membership of the Panel. The Review Panel is a major body of the CC where questions submitted by the members are discussed and answers prepared prior to discussion in the meeting. Exchanging practices on issues raised by the members proves to be a valuable tool for harmonization and a way of developing a One voice. By preparing and refining answers to be included in the CC FAQs, the Review Panel plays a major role in the CC operations.
The Certification Committee expressed his gratitude and thanked Varpu for all the activities managed and congratulated Georges again for his new position.
The next CC meeting will be on the 13-14 March 2019, in Oslo (Norway).