The Communications and Publications Committee (CPC) of the European Co-operation for Accreditation (EA) held its 18th meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on 6th and 7th October 2010, and was organised by the BELAC.
In its current version, EA-1/08 Multi and Bilateral Agreement Signatories and EA-1/16: Statement of equivalence - Enhancing visibility of accredited results, gives the list of signatories to the EA Multi and Bilateral agreements. The objective is to change the document into a brochure for the promotion of the EA MLA. In parallel, the Committee is elaborating on a template of a statement of equivalence to be used by EA members and MLA signatories to state and promote equivalence of accreditation under the EA MLA. This is expected to enhance transparency but also consistency of the communication about accreditation and the MLA on the market, in response to an expectation of the EA Advisory Board.
Clear and consistent information to the Regulators is also much needed when, according to Regulation (EC) 765/2008, national authorities shall accept results issued by CABs accredited by any of the MLA signatories as equivalent. This is why it was decided to prepare a specific promotional brochure for Regulators.
Still with a view to enhance transparency and consistency of information on the market, the CPC will review EA-3/01 Conditions for Use of Accreditation Symbols and Text Reference to Accreditation and MLA Signatory Status to reflect the recommendations supported by the Executive Committee that:
a statement about equivalence of accreditation should appear on accreditation certificates;
accreditation certificates should be issued in several languages, at least in a bilingual English/vernacular language version.
This will be supported by the work undertaken by the HHC and the technical committees to harmonize the contents of accreditation certificates. The CPC decided to collect and review examples of layout at its meeting in April 2011.
EA-1/14: Procedure for the Development and Approval of EA Documents and the Adoption of ILAC/IAF Documents has just been approved. It provides a process for endorsement of ILAC/IAF documents by EA and gives the Committees flexibility in defining and proposing a process for the development of a particular document, subject to its approval by the General Assembly.
The CPC conducted a benchmarking survey on EA members’ communications with national regulators for the second time after the publication of the corresponding Best Practice Guide. The results show that communication has improved and, in general, members have managed to establish strong channels for communication with their national authorities. The CPC members recognized that the responses to the questionnaire gave a lot of valuable information for use at national levels.
The Committee supported that:
EA should publish an annual report based on the template used by IAF which focuses on the IAF MLA. A recommendation will be put forward to the Executive Committee for consideration.
EA should publish an online newsletter, following a recommendation from the ILAC MCC and IAF CMC. The proposal is to use a specific IT tool. An editorial plan will need to be set out to plan and coordinate related activities between the CPC, the Secretariat and the other EA Committees.
Communication Plan 2011-2015
The Committee will prepare a Communication Plan based on the EA Strategy to be endorsed in November 2010. In particular, the work on an EA corporate identity will be able to be completed and will be implemented in the future communication policy of EA.
As identified at the last CPC meeting, discussions will also have to focus on EA’s internal communication processes. Coordination within EA but also with ILAC/IAF should improve to share results of surveys, for instance, and avoid potential duplication of activities.
It has become a well established practice in the meetings: CPC members report on communication projects undertaken at the national level. The objective is to enable members of the CPC to discover videos or sectoral brochures developed by other ABs. At the last meeting, the Committee was informed about a project of coproduction of a programme to be broadcasted on the radio to explain and promote accreditation to the general public.
Last but not least, a tradition is being born in the CPC: a brand new programme entitled “Accreditation Art” enables now to present a masterpiece to the group at each meeting. An original and valuable way to enhance accreditation’s attraction and visibility, which one will soon be able to discover through the photos of the first pieces of EA’s Accreditation Art programme to be published on the EA website.
Ms Jasna Stojanović participated in the work of Committee on behalf of the ATS. The next CPC meeting will take place on 6-7 April 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden.