8th October 2008 - A regular meeting of the EA MAC- Multilateral Agreement Committee of the European Cooperation for Accreditation was organised in Sinaia (Romania) on 1st and 2nd October 2008 by the Romanian Accreditation Association (RENAR). The meeting was preceded by a workshop on the subject of “Decision making process” relating to the improvement of reporting and decision-making processes as a part of peer evaluation that is carried out to sign and maintain the EA MLA (Multilateral Agreement of the European Cooperation for Accreditation).
Workshop delegates were divided into groups that had a task to analyse the existing structure of the peer evaluation reporting and propose adequate changes and improvements. The objective of the workshop was to introduce the delegates to the forthcoming review of the peer evaluation within the EA MLA and changes in the work of the EA MAC as a consequence of the new Regulation of the European Union pertaining to the accreditation and market surveillance (Regulation EC No. 765/2008) and a larger scale harmonisation of the MLA process.
The key topics that were discussed at the workshop related to the assessment and reporting processes, submission of the reports to the MAC Secretariat, roles and responsibilities of the MAC Working Group and its communication with an assessment team and an Accreditation Body that is being assessed, requirements that an Accreditation Body should meet to be allowed to sign or maintain the EA MLA, decision-making methods at the EA MAC meeting and formulations of the decision itself – in particular those relating to suspension and withdrawal of the EA MLA.signatory status
The key topics that were discussed at the MAC, apart from making decisions on the status of accreditation bodies as regards the MLA, related to the revision of documents EA-2/11 (EA Policy for Conformity Assessment Schemes) and EA-3/09 (Surveillance and Reassessment of accredited organizations); a detailed analysis of consequences for the work of the MAC in relation to the new EU Regulation, EC No. 765/2008; accreditation of the branches of accredited conformity assessment bodies out-with the borders of a country where its head office is located; revision of EA 2/13 document (EA Cross Frontier Policy) relating to the policy of accreditation out-with the borders of a country where the national accreditation body was established; changes in the process of peer evaluation and EA development project pertaining to the improvements in the existing peer evaluation process.
It was concluded on the basis of the discussion that by adopting the new EU Regulation the importance of accreditation would grow stronger, particularly in regulatory area. Therefore, the recommendation was to reconsider inclusion of the requests from this Regulation in the requirements that accreditation bodies should meet to become signatories to the EA MLA
Accreditation of branches of accredited conformity assessment bodies out-with the borders of a country where their head offices are located led to a conclusion that it was also necessary to observe the request referred to in Article 7 of the EC Regulation No. 765/2008, as well as the requests laid down in the IAF G03 Guide (IAF Guidance on Cross Frontier Accreditation) whereas the activities performed by branches abroad must be taken into consideration - whether they make decisions, monitor, assess and the like, i.e. whether they perform key certification activities. If a CAB branch is a separate legal entity registered in another country and wishes to work as an accredited organisation, then it must apply for accreditation that will be granted by the national accreditation body of the said country. However, if a branch in another country is a part of a legal entity and falls with the scope of the accreditation granted by that legal entity, it must be then clearly stated in accreditation certificate.
When it comes to the forthcoming changes and improvements of peer evaluation process accreditation bodies wishing to apply for the signing or maintenance of the EA MLA, more demanding assessment and decision making processes are to come.
Dejan Krnjaić, PhD, and Vida Živković, MSc, participated in the meeting of the Committee (EA MAC) on behalf of the ATS.
Norbert Muller, Chairman of the Certification Committee
Officers and the Chairman of the EA MAS, Gro Rodland (left)