IAF updates

IAF Virtual 2021 Mid-Term Meetings

IAF and ILAC held a series of virtual committee meetings from 15 April to 12 May 2021 in place of the in-person IAF and ILAC Joint Mid-term Meetings scheduled for April 2021. These meetings were held with the support of Say Something Communications, a conference and event management company that IAF and ILAC have used for a number of other in-person and virtual meetings, and included six of many meetings held throughout early 2021. IAF and joint meetings included the IAF MLA Committee (MLAC), the IAF/ILAC Joint Development Support Committee (JDSC), and the IAF Technical Committee (TC).

The MLAC meeting was held on 29 April. Participants thanked MLAC Chair Norman Brunner, whose second and final term will end at the 2021 IAF General Assembly, for his hard work over the past six years.

A major topic of discussion during the meeting was the proposed modification of the IAF MLA structure in the field of Validation and Verification to change ISO 14065 to a level 4 sub-scope under the level 3 main scope of ISO/IEC 17029. MLAC members agreed on a set of transition requirements to be proposed as a draft IAF General Assembly resolution to the IAF Executive Committee, and subsequently to IAF Members along with the draft resolution regarding the change in structure.

The meeting also included updates on the transition to ISO/IEC 17011, private sector scheme applications and scope extensions. Written reports on evaluation and regional activities were included in the meeting papers. The MLAC Chair noted the publication and revision status of a number of IAF documents, including COVID-19 materials related to peer evaluations.

The JDSC held a meeting on 06 May. The agenda covered updates from the funding policy working group (WG), the International Network on Quality Infrastructure, the IAF/ILAC Joint Working Group on Communications, the International Organization for Standardization’s Committee on Conformity Assessment, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. The African Accreditation Cooperation, Georgian Accreditation Center and Mexican Accreditation Entity provided presentations on remote auditing.

The TC met on 12 May. The main purpose of the meeting was to consider recommendations from WGs and task forces (TFs) that required a TC decision for the TC work program to continue. The TC also considered six discussion papers.

The TC finalized the approval of the WG Accreditation (ISO/IEC 17011). This WG will become the TC’s point of reference for all things related to ISO/IEC 17011. The TC also agreed to establish another TF to develop a document on remote auditing and assessment. The primary purpose of this TF will be to examine the lessons learned from the use of remote auditing during the COVID-19 pandemic and recommend a way forward.

During the meeting, two votes were required due to consensus not being achieved:

1.       The first vote related to the IAF mandatory document currently under development for the evaluation of conformity assessment schemes.  The document was balloted earlier this year and the vote was negative. The TF was asked to review ballot comments and to recommend to the TC whether development of the document should continue. Following a vote, the TC agreed that continuing was worthwhile. The TF was asked to make an amendment to the document, which they completed prior to the document being sent to IAF Members for another 60-day comment period on 04 June.

2.       The second vote related to a discussion paper that sought to elevate four previous TC decisions to GA Resolutions. The goal was to provide a more consistent environment for accredited conformity assessment bodies in cases of accreditation bodies following mandatory documents but not TC decisions. The vote was tied, and no further action was suggested at the TC. However, the matter was also raised at the Executive Committee (EC) meeting on 27th May, where a TF was established to further investigate the issue and report back to the EC.

Other meetings held in 2021 have included many that would normally be held during the 2021 Mid-term Meetings. Aside from the above, they included meetings of the IAF TF on Counterfeiting (19 January), IAF and ILAC communications professionals (02 and 05 February), IAF User Advisory Committee (16 February), IAF TF on Competence of AB Assessors and Experts (24 February), IAF/ILAC Joint Management Committee (17 March), IAF/ILAC Joint Working Group Communications (23 and 25 March), IAF Food WG (24 March), IAF Management Systems Certification WG (06 April), IAF TC Conformity Assessment Schemes TF (10 May), and IAF Board (24 May). The IAF Conformity Assessment Body Advisory Committee has met 13 times since the last IAF General Assembly, and the IAF Executive Committee and Steering Committee on the Establishment of a Single Organization for Accreditation have also met a number of times.

In May 2021, the IAF and ILAC Joint Executive Committee agreed that due to continuing COVID-19 travel restrictions and health concerns, the 2021 IAF/ILAC Annual Meetings should be held remotely. While this decision was disappointing to make, the excellent progress of our committees, TFs and WGs since the imposition of travel restrictions shows how IAF’s work program can still move forward effectively.

Categories: IAF updates