The ATS activities in the period from July 20-31, 2020
Following the Decision of the Director of ATS no. 1-02/2020-19 of July 2, 2020, clients and external associates of the Accreditation Body of Serbia (ATS) are being notified of ATS carrying out the activities related to assessing conformity assessment bodies (CABs). In the period from 20-31 July, 2020, during the aggravated epidemiological situation caused by coronavirus (SARS-COV-2), ATS was taking the utmost care to protect its clients, their assessors and employees. Hence, it reduced the risk as much as possible and maintained the safety and health of employees, assessors, and employees of CABs.
Depending on the type of assessment (initial assessments, reassessments, regular assessments in the accreditation cycle-surveillance assessments, assessments aiming to extend the scope of accreditation...) different assessment techniques will be applied depending on the analysis within the defined Assessment Programme for each CAB:
1. All initial CAB assessments, assessments for extending the scope of accreditation, and reassessments including the extension of the scope of accreditation shall be performed both at the CAB location, as well as at the CAB location (s) where conformity assessment activities are performed. These assessments will be carried out in the terms agreed between CAB and ATS, provided that all prescribed epidemiological safety measures have been applied, which will be confirmed in writing by CAB and the assessment team.
2. Assessments in the accreditation cycle - surveillance assessments including an assessment to extend the scope of accreditation
2.1 If the request for extending the scope of accreditation refers to the field of conformity assessment for which the CAB is already accredited, after analyzing its content, the assessment can be implemented using other assessment techniques, which do not include on-site assessment. During the assessment, it is possible to implement remote witnessing.
2.2 If the extension of the scope of accreditation refers to a new area of conformity assessment, i.e an area for which the CAB is not accredited, the implementation of assessment at the CAB location will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Assessment at the CAB site or the site(s) where the CAB performs conformity assessment activities may be carried out provided that all prescribed epidemiological safety measures have been applied, which will be confirmed in writing by CAB and the assessment team.
3. Assessments in the accreditation cycle-surveillance assessments without assessments to extend the scope of accreditation
For all accreditation files that are to face the first assessment in the accreditation cycle (first accreditation cycle), ATS will form assessment programmes containing a risk analysis related to the proposed method of implementation of the assessment.
3.1 If the risk analysis demonstrates CAB has a stable management system, and that no nonconformities were identified during the initial assessment that could jeopardize the technical competence of CAB, that there are no changes in the CAB key staff, and if the technical possibilities allow it, the assessment will be performed using other assessment techniques (the review of documentation, file review, remote assessment, remote witnessing) in the planned terms, i.e. before the expiration of the period of 9 months from the date of accreditation being granted. Based on the assessment results, an appropriate decision on accreditation will be made, as well as a proposal for the implementation of assessment at the CAB location, taking into account that the period between the initial assessment and the next one at the CAB location can be no longer than two years.
3.2 If the risk analysis reveals there is a high level of risk in the accredited CAB activities (such as a large number of negative findings during the initial assessment, the findings that may jeopardize the technical competence of CAB, changes in the CAB key staff, operation-related complaints, etc.) the first surveillance assessment will begin in the planned time (within a period not exceeding 9 months from the date of accreditation being granted), in one of the following ways:
3.2. a) The first surveillance assessment shall begin no later than 9 months from the date of the accreditation being granted using the review of documentation and file review techniques. The results of this part of the assessment are part of the List of Findings. The elimination of any identified nonconformities begins immediately. When the conditions for the on-site assessment are created, it will be implemented in the scope provided by the Assessment Programme. Having completed the assessment, ATS shall make the appropriate decision.
3.2.b) If it is possible to conduct the first on-site surveillance assessment, ATS shall comply with the manner of conducting the on-site assessment for a period no longer than 9 months from the date of accreditation being granted. ATS shall decide on the implementation of the on-site assessment on a case-by-case basis.
3.3. Any other (surveillance) assessments in the accreditation cycle will be (if possible) implemented by using other assessment techniques, which do not include the on-site assessment. The assessment by other techniques (the review of documentation, file review, remote assessment, remote witnessing), which does not include the on-site assessment, lasts (the number of assessment days) as long as the on-site assessment.
4.1 Any reassessments which do not include an extension of the existing scope of accreditation (the required scope of accreditation for reassessment identical to the scope of current accreditation) will be carried out before the expiration of current accreditation using other assessment techniques (the review of documentation, file review, remote assessment, remote witnessing) in the planned terms. If the assessment results are positive, ATS shall decide on renewing the accreditation. Based on the results of the assessment, a decision shall be made on a possible assessment at the client's location as well as the time frame by which it needs to be carried out.
4.2 In case of a request for extension of the scope of accreditation in reassessment, the manner of assessment shall be planned on a case-by-case basis, following the content of the requested extension, and the allegations of cl. 2.1 and cl. 2.2.
ATS will monitor the epidemiological situation and all prescribed measures by the Government of the Republic of Serbia regularly. Consequently, it will continuously review all its decisions, and make appropriate decisions regarding which it will timely report to CABs and the public.
We would also like to inform you that ATS, with its decision no. 1-02/2020-20 dated July 17, 2020, reintroduced working from home for its employees to ensure the continuity of its activities in the period from 20-31 July, 2020. During that period, the following rules of communication with ATS shall apply:
- documents, reports, and any other records/documented information relevant to the implementation of the accreditation process are forwarded to ATS exclusively via e-mail to the competent contact persons or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Note: other parties shall communicate with ATS via e-mail, telephone, and exceptionally via regular post-office services;
- information can also be obtained by telephone by dialing the telephone numbers listed in the Contacts section;
- communication with the ATS employees is enabled via electronic or telephone communication (business mobile phone numbers are used) between 8:00AM and 15:00PM;
- any answer to questions/requests will, as a rule, be forwarded via e-mail to the applicant;
Sincerely, your ATS