We have experienced unprecedented challenges in the past few months due to COVID-19. I am, on behalf of IAF, wishing all members strength and health as we progress through the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to COVID-19, IAF published a statement with a number of actions. The general mechanism established by IAF in IAF ID3 Informative Document for Management of Extraordinary Events or Circumstances Affecting ABs, CABs and Certified Organizations, to respond to extraordinary circumstances affecting Accreditation Bodies (ABs), Certification Bodies (CBs) and certified organizations, was activated in early March.
IAF Member ABs and accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies were instructed to follow the requirements of IAF MD 4 IAF Mandatory Document for the Use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Auditing/Assessment Purposes on how to use information and communication technologies to support and maintain the integrity of the auditing or assessment process.
An IAF/ILAC Joint Statement on possible delayed peer evaluations and the impact on the transition to ISO/IEC 17011: 2017 guides the management of peer evaluations and the transition.
IAF established a Rapid Response Mechanism at the Executive Committee level. An IAF COVID-19 FAQ Task Force develops IAF FAQs in a streamlined process to provide further guidance for IAF Member ABs and their accredited CBs to manage relevant accreditation and certification activities in a harmonized way under COVID-19. As a result of this, a series of FAQs has been published on the IAF website. This task force’s tight schedule of a 48 hour turnaround of questions has enabled issues to be addressed in a robust and timely manner.
COVID-19 has accelerated the use of new technology to conduct remote auditing and assessments, based on relevant ISO/IEC standards and IAF documents. The IAF Executive Committee reviewed experiences in this period, and also the implementation of the new IAF Strategic Plan (2020-2025) for relevant aspects. It was agreed that we would further share experience among IAF Members and facilitate the use of digital tools in accreditation and accredited certification activities in line with the progression of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as part of implementing the 2020-2025 IAF Strategic Plan.
In the context of continued global uncertainty surrounding the evolution and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel and large gatherings, the 2020 IAF/ILAC Joint Annual Meetings scheduled to be held in October 2020 in Montreal have been cancelled, following the cancellation of the 2020 Mid-Term Meetings scheduled in April 2020 in Beijing. However, relevant IAF Committees, Working Groups and Task Forces are making considerable progress during this period of time via electronic means, in particular by remote meetings which are being used more and more.
IAF’s main priority during this time is supporting member ABs, their accredited CBs and certified organizations to maintain robust accredited certification and ensure certified organizations are served in the best way possible, so that accredited certification continues its role to facilitate trade, support regulators and protect consumers and the environment during this period of time in the fight against COVID-19, as well as supporting the resumption of economy.
09 June saw World Accreditation Day. A joint statement by the IAF Chair and ILAC Chair was published to set out the theme of “Accreditation: Improving Food Safety”. It focused on how accreditation improves food safety, supporting the confidence of consumers, suppliers, purchasers, regulators and specifiers in the quality and safety of food.
The new IAF Strategic Plan has been approved by IAF Members, and the IAF Executive Committee is preparing the implementation of its new Strategic Directions and Strategic Actions. I believe IAF will make further great achievements with the strong support received from its Members and partner organizations. I thank you all for your continual support and contribution to IAF activities.
Categories: IAF updates