Highlights of the EACC meeting in March 2017

International activities

The last meeting of the EA Certification Committee (EA CC) took place on 15 and 16 March 2017 in Antalya, Turkey, where it was hosted by TURKAK, the Turkish national accreditation body.

The discussions at the 33rd EACC meeting were led by the EACC Chair, Kevin Belson from the UK NAB (UKAS). Notable outcomes included:

- further to the EA Executive Committee’s approval and the EACC’s development of clear rules for the Committee’s members to submit, answer and publish questions, it was agreed to start publishing EACC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) with those discussed at the meeting in September 2016 on the EA website in order for them to be used by NABs as advice and recommendation by the EACC. The exact location is being considered by the EA Secretariat; the EACC FAQs should be online by this summer.

- after the comments round within EA by December 2016, EACC WG Environment has presented a final revised EA-7/04: Legal Compliance as a Part of Accredited ISO 14001: 2004 Certification, which was endorsed by the CC in March. This final version has just been sent out for a 30-day ballot within EA, and is expected to be published by early June.

The full morning of the meeting’s second day was dedicated to a strategic group discussion aimed at consolidating the outcome and feedback from discussions held in September 2016 on consultancy and certification. EA CC members were divided into 6 groups to discuss and answer the following 3 questions:
- Can a CB publish a list of consultants? If yes, what kinds of controls are necessary?
- At what point does a CB cross the line and break the rules?
- Specifics – Rules for Training, Sales activities, Consultants’ Role during an audit, what
else can a CB do that is not consultancy.

A lot of common ground emerged from plenary oral reports and discussions, even if some sectors appeared to be rather specific. The only controversial issue is whether or not publishing a list of consultants is marketing; the point will be forwarded to IAF for further discussions and opinion.

Many other discussions took place with good progress on numerous ongoing work items, some of which will continue at the next meeting on 12-13 September 2017:

- EA-6/03: EA Document for Recognition of Verifiers under the EU ETS Directive, still being revised by EA Network Group EU ETS, should be presented to the EACC in September 2017 for endorsement by the Committee.
- further to the elaboration and adoption of a new work item in late 2016, revision of EA-6/04: EA Guidelines on the Accreditation of Certification of Primary Sector Products by Means of Sampling of Sites is being started by EACC WG Food.
- an EA common position on energy audits reached by EACC WG ENV was endorsed by the whole Committee as an EACC recommendation to be widely disseminated within EA.
- regarding guidance documents, discussions need to be further progressed with regard to the development of a guidance document for selection of Conformity Assessment standards, as well as for application of ISO/IEC 17065, EN 15224 and, to lesser extent, ISO/IEC 17024.
- because it was agreed that EA/IAF and NACE codes need harmonisation, a specific discussion will be held at the next meeting, in advance of which CC members will be asked to answer a short survey for fruitful input to the meeting discussions.
- other important issues to be followed up in September 2017 are: how to remind CBs’ customers of transition periods, validity of certificates after withdrawal of the EA MLA status, and need for harmonization activities, notably about new ISO/EC 17021 series.

Finally, further to its recent publication, the EACC will recommend the EA General Assembly in May 2017 to adopt ISO /IEC TS 17021-3:2017 as Level 4 standard. .

Nikola Kostić, Head of Inspection and Sertification Department attended the meeting on behalf of ATS.