BMTA Newsletter BMTA Newsletter - Spring 2020 | Page 9 ACCREDITATION GUIDANCE Wayne Terry Chief Executive ABCB COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on 11th March 2020 following the global spread of the virus, which has already seen total shut down in some parts of the world. Accreditation plays a major role in national and global trade so it is important that CBs must strike a balance between supporting trade whilst protecting the wellbeing of staff. Although maintaining certification is paramount, it is important that CBs consider their corporate and social responsibilities and take appropriate measures to protect staff, their client’s staff and everyone’s families. ACCREDITATION GUIDANCE IAF IAF have stated that in theory it is possible, that all requirements can be evaluated remotely, including observation of activities. However, this could change for specific schemes. The IAF Statement on COVID-19 references the use of remote assessments and the mandatory document to be used by ABs and CBs – IAF MD4:2018 IAF Mandatory Document for the Use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Auditing and Assessment Purposes. In addition, there is also an informative document on principles for remote assessments – IAF ID12:2015 Principles on Remote Assessment that can be used in this instance. It is necessary to bear in mind, however, that regulatory bodies, scheme owners and purchasers might have specific requirements that may need to be adhered to, and which could take precedence. IAF ID3 Management of Extraordinary Events or Circumstances may also assist. See Appendix 2 for IAF Frequently Asked questions. EA On 23rd March 2020, EA provided a guidance statement on remote auditing, which in essence advises CBs as follows: Under the current circumstances EA recognise that although not all the applicable standards foresee the use of remote assessment techniques, including document reviews, and recognising that these assessment techniques may not always enable exactly the same objective to be achieved as on-site assessments, EA suggests the use of these techniques whenever needed to substitute or complement on-site assessments. It is recognised that, in certain circumstances, CBs will have to take difficult decisions that could include stopping the provision of certain services or temporarily deviating, in order to be able to provide the services, from certain requirements included in the standards or in the accreditation rules. When facing these situations, CBs are required to act responsibly, analyse the risk of providing services with deviations from the requirements and importantly, not to provide them if such deviations jeopardize the technical validity of that specific activity. EA expects CBs to act with full transparency, informing affected clients of any change in the procedures and keeping records justifying the decisions taken. UKAS CBs should also refer to UKAS TPS 62, the Management of Extraordinary Events or Circumstances Affecting UKAS Accredited Certification Bodies and their Certified Organisations and TPS 73, UKAS Policy on Accreditation and Conformity Assessment During the Coronavirus Outbreak.