Annual seminar entitled “ATS in Europe and world – importance of signed agreements” for accredited CABs traditionally organised by the Accreditation Body of Serbia (ATS) was held on 24th January 2013 at the Sava Centre, whereas this year’s number of delegates was by far the largest.
The seminar was attended by the representatives of respective ministries, companies, professional associations, consumer associations, and by representatives of accredited conformity assessment bodies (CABs).
The purpose of this year’s seminar was to introduce the delegates to the importance of multilateral agreements that the ATS signed last year with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and Internation Accreditation Forum (IAF), and to introduce the representatives of accredited CABs to a large number of topics pertaining to technical requirements of importance to their work in the field of conformity assessment and accreditation.
The lectures were given by the representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MFP), GIZ-ACCESS bilateral support project implemented by the German Government (2011-2013), and ATS experts and employees.
The opening address was given by Snježana Pupavac MSc, Chair of the ATS Management Board (MB), when she addressed all the delegates and offered her congratulations to the ATS employees for the achievements they made in the previous year. She emphasised that MB considered the signing of the ILAC MRA and IAF MLA to be the biggest success of the ATS and that signing of the IAF MLA for the field of product certification was the peak of the ATS fifteen years’ work. Furthermore, MB will continue to support ATS in 2013 as it did in previous years.
Snježana Pupavac MSc
After Snježana Pupavac’s opening address, Dejan Krnjajić PhD, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, addressed the present delegates. He first of all commended the ATS 2012 activities and emphasised the importance of signed agreements that would enable the Serbian products to enter the European market and thus lead to the import increase and recovery of the Serbian economy. Furthermore, the importance of signed agreements endorsed the removal of technical barriers and upgrade of the quality of our services to attain the world level.
Dejan Krnjajić PhD, Snježana Pupavac MSc, Vidosava Džagić, Biljana Tomić,
Natalija Jovičić Zarić MSc, Bratislav Milošević PhD
Vidosava Džagić, Vice Chair of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, also addressed the delegates given the importance of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce as the ATS’s long-term partner. She emphasised the benefits from signed agreements for Serbian consumers, ATS and its partners, and that signing thereof was a confirmation of existence of quality system in Serbia. Furthermore, she mentioned the challenges we were faced with: further harmonisation of technical regulations and further upgrade of the Serbian quality infrastructure. At the end of her address she congratulated the ATS employees on their dedication and success made in 2012.
Jelena Popović MSc, MFE Assistant Minister, officially opened the seminar entitled “Accreditation body of Serbia in Europe and world, importance of signed agreements” when she announced that 2012 was the year of accreditation and that ATS took a big step forward by becoming a member of the European family of accreditation bodies given that that would increase the level of competitiveness of Serbian products and consequently increase of export. Additionally, she pointed out that MFE supported the work of ATS and that such a large number of delegates only confirmed the success of this annual seminar where experiences could be exchanged and new knowledge acquired.
Jelena Popović MSc
After her opening address, Jelena Popović gave a lecture on the subject of “Latest developments at the Ministry of Finance and Economy“. She highlighted the importance of transposing the EU directives into the Serbian legislation, the MFE role as a coordinator in charge of directive transposition process. Given that MFE transposed 10 directives in 2012 Ms Popović urged other ministries to continue with the transposition of the EU directives falling within the scope of their competence. Special attention was paid to the cooperation between regulators, customs authorities and technical surveillance authorities.
The activities that MFE implemented in 2012 implied adoption of seven technical regulations following the Law on Technical Requirements for Products and Conformity Assessment, i.e. adoption of regulations transposing the relevant EU directives into our legislation:
-Machinery Safety Regulation (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 13/10),
-Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulation (Official Gazette of the RS, No.13/10),
-Regulation on Electrical Equipment Designed for Use within Certain Voltage Limits (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 13/10),
-Lift Safety Regulation (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 101/10),
-Personal Protective Equipment Regulation (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 100/11),
-Regulation on the Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 1/13),
-Regulation on Noise Emission by Equipment for Use Outdoors (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 1/13).
Furthermore, MEF worked hard on maintaining the cooperation between the public authorities and on providing assistance to the economy through numerous traning sessions, seminars and publication of different guides.
In terms of planned activities for 2013 MFE intends to establish a separate working group in charge of adoption of two regulations governing textile and footware, whereby the respective EU directives would be transposed into our legislation. Lists of Serbian standards will be regularly updated, while activities on drafting sub-laws governing metrology will continue, etc.
At the end of her presentation Jelena Popović reiterated that after a period of intensive harmonisation with the EU legislation in 2012 the work on drafting the Serbian Quality Infrastructure Development Strategy started in order to achieve a balanced development of all components of quality infrastructure.
The following presentation on the subject of “ATS in Europe and world – importance of signed agreements” was given by Jasna Stojanović, ATS Acting Director, when she first presented the endeavours ATS made in the previous year to sign important multilateral agreements. Later she explained that the peer evaluation had already been scheduled for September and that she expressed her hope that the evaluation results would be positive as the results of the previous one which would lead to the extension of the ATS scope of activities to include accreditation of certification bodies providing certification of products and management systems.
Jasna Stojanović, ATS Acting Director
She also emphasissed that there was an increase in the number of files and accredited CABs in 2012. She thanked the accredited CABs that replied to the Questionnaire on the Identification of Needs and Assessment of ATS Client Satisfaction and emphasised that the proposals made by the CABs had already been taken into consideration.
She then informed the delegates that the ATS changed its internet portal and that the new one contained the new Register using the advanced search option. Visitors of the internet portal will be able to search the Register not only by the accreditation number, but by any of the standards, word, name of the CAB, etc.
In addition to this change, ATS made changes in the following documents to tackle the work of accredited CABs:
- ATS-PA01 Rules of Accreditation,
- ATS-PR15 Decision-making and Accreditation Granting,
- ATS-UP20 Guidelines for the Application of SRPS CEN/TS 15675 When Assessing Testing Laboratories,
- ATS-UP22 Guidelines for the Application of the Regulation on Check-ups of Pressure Vessels throughout the Life Cycle (Official Gazette of the RS, No.87/11) When Granting Accreditation to Conformity Assessment Bodies,
- ATS-UP23 Guidelines for the Application of ISO/IEC 17024:2003,
- ATS-UP24 EA Guidelines for the Application of ISO/IEC 17021:2006 for Combined Audits.
She said that the following two documents would be changed:
- ATS-PA04 Rules on the Use of Accreditation Symbol, and
- ATS-PA05 Rules of Cross-frontier Accreditation.
In terms of cooperation with partners and other accreditation bodies (Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Macedonia), ATS will continue to make the effort to maintain successful cooperation that was established through a series of projects such as: regional RTV project entitled “Promotion of Regional Cooperation in South Eastern Europe in the Field of Quality Infrastructure”, regional IPA 2011 project, GIZ programme “Support of the Quality Infrastructure in Serbia”, Swiss-Serbian Trade Cooperation Programme 2009-2012 in the field of GLOBAL G.A.P. and GI.
Jasna Stojanović pointed out that ATS was dedicated to promoting accreditation by publishing bulletins, various brochures designed for CABs, CAB clients and public authorities by celebrating the Accreditation Day, participating in different conferences and round-table discussions related to accreditation.
Additionally, ATS dedicates a lot of attention to the upgrade of competence of ATS employees and assessors through continuous education programmes and delivery of different training sessions throughout the year.
Jasna Stojanović proposed to CABs to establish, in order to be able to perform their business activities easily, an association of accredited CABs, whereby rights and role of CABs would be institutionalised and CABs would be able to take more active participation in issues of importance to their every day work (e.g. availability of PT schemes).
In the end Jasna Stojanović presented the ATS plans for 2013 that primarily related to successful maintenance of signed MLAs with EA (European co-operation for Accreditation), ILAC and IAF, and extension to their scope; further improvement of cooperation with the ministries and interested parties; continuous upgrade of the accreditation system; further upgrade of the ATS competence levels. In addition, she explained to the delegates that ATS would host two EA meetings in March –EA IC&CC meetings.
As Jelena Popović explained during her presentation, MFE started the activities on the drafting of the Serbian QI Development Strategy for the implementation of which support was needed. German GO for technical assistance, GIZ, provided the support to MFE through multiannual programme for the development of private sector. The programme was presented by Helmut Mairhofer, Head of the Project QI Component. During his presentation Helmut Mairhofer said that the programme consisted of the three phases the first of which was coming to an end, whereas the resources allocated for phase 1 amounted to 4.7 miilion Euros. During the first phase the SWOT analyses of the national and international system of certification bodies, for product certification and laboratories were carried out. The following conclusions were made on the basis of the said analyses:
- it is necessary to establish a CAB association that would have an advisory role;
- there must be a possibility to raise awareness on the new approach applied by MFE;
- CABs should, in addition to high level of their technical competence, make additional endeavours in terms of business planning, active marketing and management that would be client oriented.
Katarina Bogojević and Helmut Mairhofer
During the afternoon session Milica Jovčić MSc gave a lecture on the subject of Use of EA, ILAC and IAF mandatory documents during the course of accreditation process and informed the delegates about the importance of use of mandatory documents since they ensure uniform application of ISO/IEC/EN guides and standards.
Milica Jovčić explained to the present delegates the difference between informative and advisory documents. Guides/informative documents provide technical and scientific explanations and proposals on how to fulfil certain criteria, while technical/advisory documents (documents of third parties interested in accreditation) provide useful advice on accreditation-related issues.
Milica Jovčić MSc
Reference to EA, ILAC, IAF documents in ATS documents was the most prominent issue addressed during her presentation. Mandatory use of these documents in the course of CAB accreditation procedure was explained given that it aimed at consistent and equivalent mode of operation of both accreditation bodies and CABs. Furthermore, the importance of use of EA, ILAC, and IAF mandatory documents means that application of these documents would signify global acceptance of services provided by accredited CABs.
She also highlighted the requirements to be met by CABs such as availability of updated versions of EA, ILAC and IAF documents to be included in the CAB management system.
At the end of her lecture the delegates had a chance to find out that ATS was currently working on the document defining the policy in relation to accreditation of flexible scopes and the fact that, if accreditation criteria change, ATS should inform a CAB thereof, and of the transition period during which CABs are obliged to harmonise with the changed criteria.
The next presentation was given by Natalija Jovičić Zarić MSc, ATS Deputy Director. The presentation was dedicated to the importance of use of EA, ILAC and IAF guides, and guides of other international organisations such as: EUROCHEM (network of organisations in Europe having the objective of establishing a system for the international traceability of chemical measurements and the promotion of good quality practices), EUROLAB (European Federation of National Associations of Measurement, Testing and Analytical Laboratories), EDQM (European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines, EDQM & Healthcare) i EGOLF (nationally recognised organisations involved at a European level in fire safety testing, inspection and certification activities) in the everyday operation of CABs.
Natalija Jovičić Zarić MSc
Bratislav Milošević PhD, ATS Assistant Director, gave a presentation on the subject of Necessity of CAB participation in relevant PT schemes. He, first of all, reiterated to the delegates that there was a difference between PT activities and ILCs (inter-laboratory comparisons). Following that, he explained that all accredited laboratories and those seeking accreditation had to participate in available and adequate PT activities and that they had to check on the availability of adequate PT activities having in mind their adequacy.
He also mentioned thereafter that the laboratories had to evaluate the PT results, keep adequate records, and undertake corrective and/or preventive actions where necessary. Therefore, ATS will, in case of those laboratories not participating in available and adequate PT activities as defined in the document entitled ATS-PA02 Rules for the Participation in Inter-laboratory Comparisons and Proficiency Testing Schemes or in case of those not undertaking adequate actions on the occasion of unsatisfactory results, undertake adequate actions (e.g. suspend or withdraw accreditation in full or for part of the scope of accreditation).
In conclusion, Bratislav Milošević presented the benefits from participating in PT activities.
Bratislav Milošević PhD
Ljiljana Markićević, Head of the ATS Laboratory Department, started the third group of presentations, when she presented the EA policy as regards conformity assessment schemes (EA-1/22 Policy for Conformity Assessment Schemes). She explained to the delegates the concept of conformity assessment schemes, all the requirements for a conformity assessment scheme and who could become the owner of a conformity assessment scheme. Furthermore, she listed the elements of a conformity assessment scheme given that these would differ depending on the field (inspection, testing, calibration or certification). The delegates were presented the procedure relating to the development of a scheme when she explained the mode to develop a certification scheme.
At the end of her presentation she emphasised that ATS drafted the procedure entitled ATS-PR13 Extension to the Scope of the ATS Activities to be applied when extending the scope of its activities on the basis of the needs of interested parties in line with the requirements of SRPS ISO/IEC 17011:2007. Pursuant to the ATS procedure, an analysis of the need to extend the scope of ATS activities shall be carried out, while the activity to extend the ATS activities shall be planned and implemented, and reviewed.
Ljubica Živanić, Head of the ATS Inspection and Certification Department, gave a presentation on the subject of Structure, independence, competence – requirements of the new editions of ISO/IEC 17020, ISO/IEC 17065, ISO/IEC 17021, ISO/IEC 17024. The presentation first tackled the need to change the standards: harmonisation of the structure of standards with those of ISO 17000 series; implementation of relevant parts of guides for the implementation of standards (IAF/ILAC A4, IAF GD5, IAF GD 24); inclusion of ISO/PAS elements (ISO/PAS 17001 on impartiality, ISO/PAS 17002 on confidentiality, ISO/PAS 17003 on appeals and complaints, ISO/PAS 17005 on management systems) and she explained thereafter the changes in relation to the old editions of the standards.
Ljubica Živanić explained in detail what certification and inspection bodies would be expected to do in terms of impartiality and independence, and what structure and resource-related requirements had to be met by certification and inspection bodies. Finally, she mentioned the deadlines by which accredited CABs had to harmonise with the new editions of the standards, and consequently assessed in line with the new editions of the standards when the new decisions on accreditation would be made.
The last presentation on the subject of Operation of CABs – decision-making aspect was given by Natalija Jovičić Zarić MSc, ATS Deputy Director. She explained the trends and critical points of business activities of CABs that were related to the management of corrective/preventive/improvement actions, independence/impartiality principles, management reviews, equipment and personnel, uncertainty of measurement, provision of trust in the quality of testing/calibration results, voluntary schemes of accreditation.