EA Liaison Report – January 2008
The new role for EA in the European Infrastructure for Conformity Assessment
The European Commission draft legislation is still being examined in detail by the WG of the
European Council and in the Parliament. Recent information received tend to confirm that
the text could be approved in the Parliament before summer.
The EA Development Plan
The draft EA Development Plan was presented to the General Assembly at the meeting held
in May 2007 in Sofia. The General Assembly welcomed the Plan and decided to establish 3
project groups to further elaborate on 3 topics, identified as key topics for the future of EA, in
line with the proposed development plan:
- project group 1: Review of the general structure of EA. Convenor Hanseric Holmqvist
- project group 2: Strengthening the EA Secretariat and related issues. Convenor Vagn
- project group 3: Needs and ways of financing EA. Convenor Paul Stennett (UKAS).
At the last meeting in November, the 3 Project Teams submitted their first proposals to the
General Assembly. Comments were invited from the Members and it was agreed to set up a
meeting of the conveners and co-conveners of the project teams to come up with a single,
comprehensive proposal for consideration at an extraordinary meeting of the General
Assembly planned to take place in April 2008. The meeting of the Project Teams will he held
in Paris on February 15 2008.
In parallel the five sub-project groups of the EA Development Project which were set up to
prepare EA for its future role as foreseen by the European Commission draft legislation,
continue to progress their work according to the agreed timeline. It is worth noting in
particular that a Best Practice Guide on Communications with the National Regulators has
been published for use by the EA ABs in developing or maintaining closer relations with their
national authorities. Besides, the first draft of a horizontal guidance for assessment of notified
bodies has been circulated for comments until March 7th.
IARM, the accreditation institute of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was
accepted as a full member by the General Assembly at the meeting held in November 2007
in Nicosia (Cyprus).
EA now has 35 full AB members and 17 contracts of cooperation with accreditation bodies
from non EU/EFTA countries which are distributed as follows:
- 6 ABs from economies of Europe, Russia and Ukraine
- 3 ABs from economies of the Mediterranean region
- 8 ABs from economies in the Americas, Africa and Asia.
Vagn Andersen from DANAK (Denmark) was elected Chairman of the Communications and
Publications Committee at the General Assembly in Nicosia. Vagn is also convener of the
Project Group on information and knowledge database of the EA development project.
Relations with stakeholders and liaison activities
EA has been approached by a number of stakeholder organisations over the last weeks:
ECN in the field of breast cancer, GFSI in the field of food stuff products, the Friend of the
Sea in the field of sustainable fishereies and aquaculture, EURALARM in the field of security
of buildings and persons, EURADOS in the field of ionising radiation, but also UNECE, the
UN Economic Committee for Europe… EFCC, the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry
and Laboratory Medicine has been accepted as an Observer member of the General
Assembly. A project of a cooperation agreement with CEN is in progress. In the meantime,
EA is developing an information brochure on accreditation for the National Authorities of the
Mediterranean economies, through a contract with CEN for the Commission.
Serving stakeholder and society expectations remains one of the main objectives of EA, this
is why and given the increasing number of organisations that have contacted EA recently,
the Executive decided to set out a policy to support such a development.
The Chair and Vice Chair of EA continue to develop close relations with ILAC, IAF and the
regional cooperation bodies by attending their General Assembly meetings on a regular
basis. It is worth noting that such initiatives are always very well received; the EA members
also express appreciation of the move and involvement from the EA officers in support of the
EA strategic agenda.
The Chair and Vice Chair of EA, with support of T.Hauge (NA, Norway), convener of the
Project Group in charge of the relations with the European Commission, are also much
involved in strengthening relations with the services of the Commission. EA was formally
invited to attend the last SOGS meeting in October 2007 and the Inter Service meeting of the
Commission in December 2007. In both cases, presentations were made to the participants
which were very well received, EA being committed to demonstrate its willingness to serve
European Regulators and meet the society expectations for a reliable and fair trade in
Europe and with the economies in the neighbourhood.
A procedure for liaison activities will be soon distributed for voting. It will apply to liaison
persons appointed by the Committees for a given mandate when representing EA in
meetings of partner organisations.
New work items
At its last meeting in November, the General Assembly agreed on a new work item for the
Certification Committee to draft a guidance on the use of ISO TS 22003 in combination with
ISO/IEC 17021 for accreditation in the field of food safety management certification, focusing
on scoping issues.
The General Assembly also welcomed the draft of a top level document on accreditation of
flexible scopes, prepared by the “Box”1 of the Executive Committee. The proposed principles
aim to enhance visibility on the market and enable comparison of scopes of various
accredited bodies. CABs would have an additional responsibility in managing the related
information within agreed boundaries. The draft is now out for comments and the General
Assembly agreed that the technical Committees could start initial work to look at any sector
specific supplement to be attached to the main document
The Inspection Committee (IC)
The IC set up a task force group to elaborate on requirements and criteria for evaluating
independence of “Type A” inspection bodies. A first draft was discussed at the IC meeting in
September 2007 and should be finalised for a wider consultation in EA at the next meeting of
the Committee in February 2008. The Committee is also involved in the drafting of a
guidance for accreditation of inspection and laboratory activities on the scene-of-crime, jointly
with ENFSI, the European Network of Forensic Institutes. A joint ILAC/IAF initiative has
started also in the field and EA is willing to share the results already achieved at the
The Certification Committee (CC)
The drafting of a guidance on combined audits in the field of management systems is
progressing. A first draft was circulated within the CC and will be discussed at the next
meeting in February 2008.
The Box members are the Chairs of the CC, IC and LC. It is chaired by the Vice Chairman of EA.
A final document should then be ready for distribution for comments in EA. A new revision of
EA-6/03 EA Guidance for Accreditation of Verifiers under EU/ETS directive is also being
carried out to align with publication of the directive new requirements in Europe.
The Laboratory Committee (LC)
Publication of documents prepared by the Laboratory Committee that do not necessarily fall
under the existing classification, clarification of expectations of stakeholder organizations
represented in the Committee and review of the work program for the next years will be on
the agenda for the next meeting in March 2008.
The draft guidance on scopes of medical laboratories prepared by the Committee is now
ready for distribution for comments in EA.
The Multilateral Agreement Committee (MAC)
The MAC started a pilot project to evaluate a risk-based approach to enhance the peer
evaluation process. Three EA AB’s of different sizes and range of activities will be evaluated
in 2008 according to the proposed principles, the objective being also to dimension the
changes to be made in the process.
The Committee continues to work on the EA MLA coverage along the agreed lines. The
General Assembly indeed, resolved in May 2007 to have a single MLA based on compliance
with ISO/IEC 17011, with a technical scope structured in tiers.
The work continues to refine and improve the principles and procedure for developing
relations with sector schemes set out in EA-2/11 Policy for Sector Schemes.
Strengthening communication with the National Authorities about the peer evaluation
process and its results is also an open issue for discussion in the Committee.
The Communications and Publications Committee
The CPC is working on a project of an online Welcome Kit for new members of EA and the
EA Advisory Board. The kit is based on 42 questions and answers and meant to give the
new comers the main “keys” of the “EA house”. The Committee also started to draft a web
page especially dedicated to the promotion of the EA MLA. This is linked with the work
concerning promotion of the ILAC and IAF MRAs on the EA website.
The Committee is organising a Marketing workshop planned to take place in Berlin on April 8
in conjunction with the meeting of the CPC.
At its April meeting, the Committee will discuss EA’s involvement in promoting the
international Accreditation Day of June 9 and look at a number of information material and
initiatives to be developed in support of the AB members to reinforce communications with
national regulators, according to the recommendations set out in the Best Practice Guide.
EA-2/13 EA Cross Frontier Policy for Cooperation among Members
Next EA meetings
25-26 February 2008 Certification Committee Athens
27 February 2008 Inspection Committee Athens
11-13 March 2008 Laboratory Committee Athens
17 March 2008 Executive Committee Paris
2-3 April 2008 MLA Committee Warsaw
4 April 2008 Extraordinary General Assembly Warsaw
7 April 2008 CPC Berlin
8 April 2008 Marketing Worskhop, EA Database WG Berlin
24 April 2008 EA Advisory Board Brussels
27 May 2008 Executive Committee Tallinn
28-29 May 2008 21st General Assembly Tallinn
Change in the Secretariat
The Secretariat team has a new member: Isabelle Calmette joined us on January 2 for a
one-year contract period. We are very pleased to welcome Isabelle with us!
EA Chairman Lorenzo.Thione@european-accreditation.org
Vice Chairman Graham.Talbot@european-accreditation.org