22nd meeting of the Laboratory Committee (EA LS) of the European co-operation for Accreditation was held in Budapest, Hungary, in the period between 7th and 8th September 2011. The meeting was organised by the Accreditation Body of Hungary (NAT).
During the EA LS meeting the data, i.e. decision adopted at the EA General Assembly (GA) that was held in Berlin in May 2011, were presented, as well as relevant information from other EA committees (MAC, HHC, EH). EA GA agreed that the new tasks of the EA LS should involve the revision of the following guidelines: EA-4/15, Accreditation for Non-Destructive Testing and EA-4/09, Accreditation of Sensory Testing Laboratories, whereas the drafting of a document that would amalgamate the data from EA-3/05, EA-3/06 and EA-3/07 should commence. The said document must pertain to the training of assessors assessing laboratories.
EA GA decided to withdraw, at the proposal of the EA LS, the document entitled EA-2/10, EA Policy for the Participation in National and International Proficiency Testing Activities and adopted the document entitled ILAC P9: 2010, ILAC Policy for Participation in National and International Proficiency Testing Activities as a mandatory document for all EA members.
The revised document ILAC P10, ILAC Policy on Traceability of Measurement Results, was discussed since it can, in the opinion of many EA members, question the current EA understanding of acceptable traceability of measurement.
EA LC proposed the adoption of the document entitled ILAC P14, ILAC Policy for Uncertainty in Calibration as a mandatory document, while the document entitled EA-4/02, Expression of the Uncertainty of Measurement in Calibration shall also remain mandatory. EA LC will propose, on the basis of the Working Group’s results, that the EA-2/05, The Scope of Accreditation and Consideration of Methods and Criteria for the Assessment of the Scope in Testing should be withdrawn. The document entitled ILAC G18, Guideline for the Formulation of Scopes of Accreditation for Laboratories shall replace the said EA document when describing the accreditation scope.
Furthermore, inter-laboratory Working Groups for testing and calibration submitted their reports. A series of problems in this field were discussed: purposeful and acceptable bilateral comparison in certain fields, problems related to the selection of adequate calibration ILCs that would underpin EA MLA, different ways of describing accreditation scopes of PT providers, etc. Both WGs will have to resolve a series of issues in the next period and try to find uniform solutions for each of them.
An ENFSI (European Network of Forensic Science Institutes) representative presented the latest decisions made therein (obligation for all the members to get accredited by the end of 2012, while newly joined members must finalise this process within a five year period). Availability of PT schemes is difficult to achieve in case of certain forensic fields, and a training programme was put in place to underpin the preparation for accreditation.
A workshop on the subject of proposed policy on inter-laboratory comparisons was organised during the meeting. Many different views were presented, difficulties with obtaining information about adequate comparisons, technical capacities of laboratories, role of the EPTIS database that is of extreme importance. These stands will be integrated into the revised policy to be presented at the next EA LC meeting.