Additional announcement regarding the state of emergency declared throughout the Republic of Serbia
Even in these changed circumstances such as the state of emergency declared throughout the Republic of Serbia introduced according to the Declaration of a State of Emergency (“Official Gazette of the RS”, no. 29/2020), ATS continues its activities by taking the utmost care to protect its clients, assessors, and employees.
On the basis of the Regulation on the Organisation of Employers during the State of Emergency (“Official Gazette of the RS” No. 31/2020), ATS has organised all of its employees to work from home to ensure their activities are being continued. Therefore, all employees will be available via means of electronic and telephone communication, and all the additional information you need can be obtained from one of the provided contacts: OVDE ►.
The ATS has decided to conduct all the assessments scheduled for this period by the end of the state of emergency, using one of the permitted assessment techniques, except for the conformity assessment body (CAB) on-site assessment, or performing assessment at the location where CAB conducts its activities. Different means of communication that are yet to be agreed with CAB (e.g. skype, chats, video call…) may be used during these assessments.
Depending on the type of assessment (initial assessments, reassessments, regular assessments in the accreditation cycle - surveillance assessments, etc.), different procedures will be implemented, confirmed in writing by the (accredited) CAB and ATS.
All activities in the initial assessment procedure should be carried out in accordance with the planned activities, as follows:
- if the procedure for reviewing the Application for Accreditation, as well as the appointment of the assessment team is currently ongoing, the procedures will be resumed or paused based on the CAB's request and the ATS approval;
- if the procedure is in the stage of documentary review, it will be continued if CAB and ATS agree that it is purposeful to continue with this phase;
- if CAB is unable to respond to the ATS requests or the findings from the documentary review report, the procedure will be postponed at the CAB's request, until the deadline requested by CAB, and no later than the end of the state of emergency;
- if an assessment is scheduled at the CAB's location, it is postponed until further notice, in accordance with the ATS decision and the agreement with CAB;
- if CAB is unable to respond to the ATS requirements or findings from the realised assessment, the procedure will be postponed at the CAB's request, until the deadline requested by CAB, and no later than the end of the emergency state. ATS will then set a new deadline for the continuation of the previously commenced activities.
Note: ATS is required to request a written statement from CAB regarding the continuation of the accreditation process.
Assessments in the accreditation cycle - surveillance assessments
Taking into account the fact that the first regular surveillance assessment will be carried out within 6 to 9 months from the date of accreditation being granted (first accreditation cycle), ATS will make a detailed plan of implementation of these assessments. All assessments will be delayed until the last possible implementation date.
If it is possible to carry out the assessment using other assessment techniques (documentary review, file review, remote assessment) in agreement with CAB, it will be implemented in the planned terms, e.g. 9 months prior to the date of accreditation being granted. These assessments will, as a rule, last 50% of the assessment time (1/2 of the total number of assessor days) maximum. When conditions are created and no longer than 4 months from that point (the termination of the state of emergency), the on-site assessments will be completed. Having completed them, ATS will make the appropriate decision. If this scenario is not possible, e.g. CAB is unable to respond to the ATS request (e.g. if it has suspended its activities during this period), ATS will, in agreement with CAB, plan the next activities, which will be verified by the appropriate ATS decision.
Any other surveillance assessments, including those encompassing requirements for extending the scope of accreditation, for the purpose of transitioning to the new version of SRPS ISO/IEC 17025: 2017 may be implemented, provided the conditions exist (the risk will be analysed), using other assessment techniques (document review, file review, remote assessment) in consultation with CAB. ATS will define the scope of documentation required for CAB to complete these assessments.
In any other case (e.g. if extending the scope of accreditation can not be assessed without witnessing at the CAB's location or at the location where CAB conducts its activities), the assessments are postponed until further notice, or until conditions are created (termination of the state of emergency). Close attention will be paid to the assessments for the purpose of transitioning to the new version of SRPS ISO/IEC 17025: 2017 to meet the planned transition deadlines.
Should situations other than those described above occur, ATS will decide on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the general principles and risks of conducting the assessment in the accreditation cycle.
All reassessments should be completed prior to the expiration of valid accreditation, if possible, as follows:
If it is possible to carry out the assessment using other assessment techniques (documentary review, file review, remote assessment) in agreement with CAB, it will be implemented within the planned time frame. If the assessment findings are positive, ATS will decide to renew the Accreditation (for the next 4 years). If it is necessary to implement the CAB's operation witnessing, it will be done within a period not exceeding 4 months from the end of the emergency state. This situation applies if the required scope of accreditation for reassessment is identical to the valid accreditation one.
If this scenario is not possible, e.g. CAB is unable to respond to the ATS request, ATS will make a decision for each accreditation file separately. This decision-making may also imply the extension of accreditation for the duration established by the Accreditation Rules.
In case of request for extension of the scope of accreditation in reassessment, the assessment method will be planned on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with the content of the requested extension and accompanying risks.
Please wait for written information from ATS to initiate the agreement regarding the implementation of the planned activities.
We hope that we will overcome this unfortunate situation together.
Sincerely, your ATS