IEC, IAF and ILAC increase cooperation
New tripartite Memorandum of Understanding is signed
Cooperation agreements with other standardization and conformity assessment bodies have been on the IEC agenda for many years. One such agreement, made between the Commission’s three CA (Conformity Assessment) Systems, IAF (International Accreditation Forum) and ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation) has proved highly rewarding, with levels of collaboration increasingly constantly.
From day one, cooperation between the three organizations has evolved extremely positively on a number of technical and administrative fronts. These collaborative efforts culminated in the three organizations signing a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) in October 2010. In 2012, the high level of confidence established between them led the IEC CA Systems and the members of ILAC and IAF to expand the scope of the first tripartite MoU.
The new MoU was signed in Rio de Janeiro, on 25 October 2012, by ILAC Chairman Peter Unger, IAF Chairman Randy Dougherty and IECEE Executive Secretary and COO Pierre de Ruvo, on behalf of IEC General Secretary and CEO Frans Vreeswijk.
The aim of the initial agreement was to maximize efficiency when dealing with common CB (Certification Body) and TL (Testing Laboratory) clients. One means of achieving this was by re-assessing these CBs and TLs jointly to avoid duplication of processes. Under the new agreement, collaboration will not be limited to joint re-assessments, but will also cover initial assessments and surveillance as appropriate.
To ensure that collaboration is as full as possible, the three organizations have agreed to coordinate the application of standards and guidance documents for the assessment of the CBs and TLs accredited by IAF and ILAC and operating in the IEC CA Systems.
The MoU also stipulates that joint training and workshops should be organized for the pool of technical assessors that are entitled to perform unified assessments of CBs and TLs.
High-level Steering Committee
In the wake of the 2010 MoU, the IEC-IAF-ILAC Steering Committee was formed to explore the possibilities for further harmonization of the three organizations' assessments and related activities. The Steering Committee is chaired by IECEE Executive Secretary and COO Pierre de Ruvo.
The Steering Committee is responsible for developing the cooperation strategy; establishing working parties to deal with specific issues pertaining to the three organizations; monitoring, reviewing and providing assistance for agreed projects; approving changes to these projects; resolving conflicts and making decisions on formal acceptance of project deliverables.
A dedicated website has been developed to provide information on the tripartite agreement, the Steering Committee and its task forces, relevant documentation and a list of the re-assessments performed since the first MoU came into force.