A historic agreement between IEC, ILAC and IAF will help reduce cost, time and complexity for the reassessment of certification bodies and testing laboratories that are accredited by IAF and ILAC Member ABs (Accreditation Bodies). One of the most important outcomes of the tripartite MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) that was signed in Shanghai, China, last month will be that henceforth a single reassessment — instead of three — will suffice and be accepted by all three bodies.
This type of cooperation agreement is unprecedented in the conformity assessment world and builds on years of collaboration between the IEC CA (Conformity Assessment) Systems, ILAC and IAF. It directly and positively impacts the certification bodies and testing laboratories that are accredited by IAF and ILAC Member ABs and operate as registered members of the relevant IEC CA System(s).The three bodies have already put in place a successful pilot program to test this new approach, and have set up a dedicated website to implement the tripartite agreement.
Under the MoU a common steering committee was created and held its first successful meeting under the chairmanship of Pierre de Ruvo, IECEE Executive Secretary. Regina Robertson, ILAC AIC (Accreditation Committee) Chair has been named secretary. The steering committee will be responsible for developing cooperation strategies, providing support and dealing with project issues and deliverables.
Another objective set out by the MoU is to facilitate a coordinated application of ISO/IEC standards and guidance documents for the purpose of assessment of certification bodies and testing laboratories operating in the IEC CA systems. This includes a common understanding of the technical issues and the harmonization of the respective assessment procedures. Provisions are also made for joint training and workshops for lead assessors, and when possible, joint work on the development of harmonized procedures and policies.