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1 CEOC International Annual Conference Rome, 26 May 2008 THE DEVELOPMENT OF EA European co-operation for Accreditation Lorenzo Thione Chairman EA – European.

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Presentation on theme: "1 CEOC International Annual Conference Rome, 26 May 2008 THE DEVELOPMENT OF EA European co-operation for Accreditation Lorenzo Thione Chairman EA – European."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 CEOC International Annual Conference Rome, 26 May 2008 THE DEVELOPMENT OF EA European co-operation for Accreditation Lorenzo Thione Chairman EA – European co-operation for Accreditation

2 2 Content The new role of EA The key drivers for the EA’s development The strategic objectives of the EA’s development The principles for the EA’s development The EA Development Plan The EA Development Project Conclusions

3 3 The new role of EA On February 21 2008, the European Parliament approved, at first reading, a key legislative package on the “revision” of the New Approach. This new legislative framework – that consists of a Regulation setting out requirements for accreditation and market surveillance and of a Decision on a common framework for the marketing of products – among others establishes a legal base for accreditation ratifying its juridical recognition as public authority activity with monopolistic character, provides for the recognition of EA as the official European accreditation infrastructure and strengthens the use of accreditation in the mandatory area. The formal adoption of this new package by the Council of the EU is foreseen for June 23 2008.

4 4 The new role of EA The issuance of this legislation will be followed by the establishment of Guidelines defining the cooperation between EA and EC, EFTA and competent National Authorities and ruling the implementation of the new role, and by the stipulation of a Partnership Agreement between EA, EC and EFTA that will place EA in the same position of other organizations of major European interest, such as the European Standardization Bodies, the JRC and similar.

5 5 The new role of EA The use of EA MLA accreditation as a basis for notification will provide effective and harmonized criteria for the initial qualification of CABs and the surveillance of the maintenance of their conformity to the applicable requirements. To this purpose, accreditation must be able to ascertain and confirm in depth that CABs have the specialist knowledge and expertise required to operate in the different technical sectors and that such know-how is properly and consistently applied to the assessments.. In few words, accreditation and accredited conformity assessment services shall make a definite “move from the culture of procedures to the culture of results”, this being indeed the basic commandment that should inspire the best accomplishment of the new role of EA. Cooperation with CABs organizations and National Regulators is essential for the effective pursuance of this objective

6 6 The key drivers for the development Needs for improvement exist even without considering the new role of EA as official European Accreditation Infrastructure. Accreditation principles and practices must be continuously developed to meet the evolving needs of economy and society and their effective and uniform adoption must be continuously and rigorously ensured, to maintain and consolidate stakeholders confidence, particularly in those sectors where the credibility of accredited conformity assessment services is being seriously challenged.

7 7 The key drivers for the development The obligations related to the new role, stemming from the Regulation on accreditation and market surveillance, from the “Cooperation Guidelines between EC, EA, EFTA and the competent national authorities” being defined and from the Partnership Agreement to be signed between EA and EC and EFTA, do introduce indeed a further thrust to the continuous EA’s development process. Improvements are needed, in fact, in the structure, organization, operation and financial capabilities of EA for the best fulfilment of the provisions of the Annex A to the Regulation (Requirements for the body to be recognized under the Article 14) as well as of the many expectations from EA highlighted in the Cooperation Guidelines.

8 8 The strategic objectives of the EA development In line with the obligations associated to the new role, the overall strategic objective if EA is « to reinforce its capability of performing its public mission of official guardian of the European accreditation and of the value and credibility of the accredited conformity assessment results delivered on the European market and beyond, by ensuring the optimal performance of accreditation and, based on this, providing timely and appropriate response to the requests of the European and national authorities and to the needs of the European economy and society ». This implies, beyond the technical excellence, the ability of taking informed decisions in all respects and circumstances and ensuring their prompt and effective implementation. In short, EA needs to become a more professional organization.

9 9 The strategic objectives of the EA development Related to the above global target a number of specific objectives are identifies, such as: - to further the continuous improvement of accreditation rules and practices; - to ensure that the accreditation bodies are properly following the applicable rules and duly enforcing their observance by the accredited CABs. - to establish a solid partnership with the European Commission and EFTA. - to strengthen the cooperation with all European stakeholders. - to promote cooperation with the ABs of countries falling within the EU Neighbourhood Policy and countries in general connected to the EU through association and trade agreements. - to promote the European model of accreditation, by reinforcing the collaboration with other regional accreditation co-operations and enhancing the EA’s influence within ILAC and IAF, including promoting the establishment of a unified front of the worldwide accreditation.

10 10 The principles for the EA development The objectives recalled above can be pursued by a variety of development models that may imply more or less significant and gradual changes of the structure, of the organization and of the technical and administrative functioning of EA. Whatever the model will be, there are, however, basic principles that should be fixed and observed in planning and implementing the development.

11 11 The principles for the EA development The above basic principles are: - EA is and shall remain an Association and, as such, its governance shall continue to be based on principles of democracy and cooperation among members. - A major asset of EA are the technical competence and expertise of its members and their willingness and ability to work together for the pursuance of the common objectives. - The operation of the peer evaluation system and the management of the related Multilateral and Bilateral Agreements is a “central” activity in EA, essential for the credibility of the European role of the Association. - Core activities (technical work, peer evaluation) and support activities (organizational, administrative, financial, etc.) are correlated and complementary. This means that such aspects – and chiefly the financial ones, both in terms of achieving better financial resources and make the best use of them – should be taken into consideration in planning and implementing the development.

12 12 The EA Development Plan EA is going to build up on its strengths, meanwhile overcoming its weaknesses, by a number of actions being implemented in the frame of a Development Plan for the period 2007 – 2013. In line with the strategic objectives, the Plan foresees “political” development, structural, organizational and technical developments, development of relations with European and international stakeholders, and financial developments. Top political developments have been already achieved or are in an advanced stage of realization. Technical developments are part of the continuous EA’s improvement process and those specifically related to the assumption of the new role are being dealt within an ad-hoc Project on “Enhancing European Accreditation”. Developments of relations with European and international stakeholders are in progress too.

13 13 The EA Development Plan Development actions are presently being focussed on: - the improvement of the structure and organization of EA, to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of its governance, including the necessary amendments of the statutory and regulatory documents. - the reinforcing of the operational capabilities of the EA Secretariat, in terms of human and instrumental resources and including aspects such as unification and seat, employment of the staff, consolidation of the administrative process, management system, etc. - achieving and duly allocating the necessary financial resources, taking into account that nothing can be done in a real professional way if money is not available to pay for the corresponding services.

14 14 The EA Development Project This Project is integral part of the Development Plan and is mainly focussed on the assumption of the new role in the regulatory area pursuant to the new European legislation, although positive feed backs are expected for all accreditation activities in both voluntary and regulated spheres. The Project is structured into 5 sub-projects: - Sub-project 1: Harmonization of technical assessments; - Sub-project 2: Information and knowledge data base; - Sub-project 3: Communication with National Regulators; - Sub-project 4: Relationships with the European Commission; - Sub-project 5: Enhancing the peer evaluation process with special regard to the mandatory sector.

15 15 Conclusions A robust and trustworthy conformity assessment infrastructure, delivering credible attestations of conformity to mandatory regulations and voluntary standards, is needed for both purposes of protecting public general interests and supporting the progress of the economy. Accreditation has proved to be an effective tool for the development, consolidation and optimal exploitation of such infrastructure.

16 16 Conclusions EA is committed to provide Europe with an effective and reliable accreditation system serving at best the needs of the European economy and society, pursuant its role of official European Accreditation Infrastructure. EA is committed as well to promote the diffusion of the European accreditation model, as defined by the new legislation, at the international level, to facilitate the trade relations between Europe and third countries, by enabling the attestations of conformity accompanying the products exported to Europe be issued under authoritative and reliable accreditations complying with the European requirements.

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