Stakeholder News

IAF Advisory Committees Hold their Annual Meetings

IAF’s three Advisory Committees, the Accreditation Body Information Group (ABIEG), User Advisory Committee (UAC) and Conformity Assessment Body Advisory Committee (CABAC), all held meetings during IAF and ILAC’s 2021 annual meetings period from September – November. These committees act as a valuable means for specific categories of IAF Members to share information and collaborate. The ABIEG consists of accreditation body representatives, while the UAC consists of user and industry representatives and the CABAC consists of certification body association representatives.

The UAC meeting in October 2021 marked Sheronda Jeffries’s last meeting as UAC Chair after two highly successful terms. We thank Ms. Jeffries for her service and join her in welcoming new UAC Chair Emmanouil Geneiatakis, whose term began following the 04 November IAF General Assembly.

Accreditation Body Information Exchange Group (ABIEG)

Peter Kronvall and Ekanit Romanyon, ABIEG Co-Chairs

The ABIEG met on 30 September to update members regarding topics for discussion at upcoming IAF meetings, and exchange information. The agenda included reports from the IAF Chair and Main committees, a report on the establishment of a single international organization for accreditation, and a report on IAF CertSearch progress. A short update was also provided regarding the work in the Joint Working Group A-Series and the IAF/ILAC Joint Task Force Group on Cooperation Among Accreditation Bodies.

User Advisory Committee (UAC)

Sheronda Jeffries, UAC Chair (2015 – 2021)

The UAC hosted its 21st meeting on 19 October. Attendees included user and industry representatives from the automotive, feed, food, telecom and energy/electricity sectors, along with a guest representative from the chemical industry. UAC members discussed concerns regarding audits/assessments during and post COVID-19, and automotive, telecom, and food industry sector members shared data/information regarding the effectiveness of accredited conformity assessment audits. UAC members discussed data available from industry sectors regarding the effectiveness of non-remote audit/assessment and expressed interest in leading the update of IAF MD 15:2014 IAF Mandatory Document for the Collection of Data to Provide Indicators of Management System Certification Bodies’ Performance, noting that MD 15:2014 is intended to provide CB performance indicators which would be helpful to users and industry.

Matt Gantley, IAF Database Management Committee (DMC) Chair, provided an update regarding IAF CertSearch. The UAC unanimously agreed in October 2017 to support the database, and UAC members remain supportive of the IAF CertSearch database concept. Members hope that increased communications regarding IAF CertSearch will allow accreditation and certification bodies to continue to work together to improve the DMC proposed model and better meet user, industry and regulators’ needs.

The UAC bids Ciao! to long-time UAC member Carmine Reda who is now celebrating his retirement. Thank you, Carmine, for your commitment to increasing confidence in conformity assessment for users and industry. And welcome to Emmanouil Geneiatakis of FAMI-QS, the incoming Chair of the IAF UAC.

Conformity Assessment Body Advisory Committee (CABAC)

Marcus Long, CABAC Chair

Traditionally, the CABAC met twice a year in person. As the significance of the pandemic became clearer, the CABAC switched to fortnightly remote meetings. This helped collect the key issues around the pandemic, in particular the shift to remote audits. This helped all CABAC members coordinate the key issues so CABAC could work with its IAF colleagues to maintain robust certificates for its certified organisations.

This included the IAF CABAC paper which stimulated some key activities, including the management and updating of the IAF COVID-19 FAQs, the IAF/ILAC/ISO remote survey (link to survey article) and the establishment of the IAF Remote Task Force.

Throughout 2021, CABAC has continued to meet remotely, on at least a monthly basis. With the above actions, remote techniques are still vitally important to the CABAC meetings. CABAC has more recently been able to turn its attention to other key matters such as the potential creation of the single accreditation entity and the continued need for harmonized accreditation.

CABAC will also start to look at other key issues such as building on the almost unanimous support from the IAF/ILAC/ISO remote survey that the use of remote activities creates a strong foundation for future conformity assessment. For CABAC members, this foundation builds two key things:

1.  A future of blended audits where audits are carefully balanced between on-site and remote techniques, taking the greatest benefits of both

2.  New approaches to auditing involving new areas of digitalisation, greater data use, artificial intelligence/machine learning, etc.

Under the principle of both the independence and inter-dependency of CABs and ABs, by actively and collaboratively working at the heart of IAF, CABAC will continue to work to evolve accredited conformity assessment to ensure CABs deliver trustworthy assurance for business, government, regulators and consumers.

Categories: Stakeholder News