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ILAC-WADA cooperation: update on activities

MoU between ILAC and WADA to be renewed

The International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) officially formalized their partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 15 November 2007 at the 3rd World Conference on Doping in Sport held in Madrid, Spain. After the initial signing of the MoU in 2007, the document underwent several revisions. The ILAC-WADA MoU has been reviewed and ratified every 3 years as follows:

  • October 2010 – at the ILAC General Assembly in Shanghai, China;
  • November 2013 – at the 4th World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg, South Africa;
  • November 2016 – at the ILAC General Assembly in New Delhi, India.

In 2016, ILAC and WADA agreed to increase the duration of the MoU terms and conditions from three (3) to five (5) years. Consequently, the ILAC-WADA MoU is currently undergoing its regular review process by both organizations, and it is scheduled to be ratified by the ILAC Chair, Ms Etty Fellar, and WADA President, Mr. Witold Bańka, at the WADA Foundation Board meeting to be held on 25 November 2021 in Paris, France.

ILAC-WADA Liaison Group

As stipulated in the ILAC-WADA MoU, the ILAC-WADA Joint Working Group (also known as ILAC-WADA Liaison Group) is the main forum for coordinating the collaboration between WADA and the ILAC Full Member Accreditation Bodies (ABs) involved in the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation of WADA laboratories worldwide.

The ILAC-WADA Liaison Group meets at least once a year. In the period from October 2020 to October 2021, the ILAC-WADA Liaison Group held two (2) virtual meetings:

  • 29 October 2020: At this meeting, for the first time since the establishment of the Group in 2004, full participation was successfully achieved. Taking into account the benefits of the virtual meeting platform to relation to participation and the importance of sharing information relevant to the accreditation of the WADA anti-doping laboratories, the ILAC-WADA Liaison Group Members agreed to extend the membership of the Group to representatives from all ABs involved in the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation of the WADA laboratories. As such, the AB membership of the ILAC-WADA Liaison Group has grown from fifteen (15) to twenty-six (26) AB representatives. 
  • 13 April 2021: Twenty-six (26) AB

The following topics were discussed during the April meeting:

  • New (2021) WADA ISL, Technical Documents( TDs) and Technical Letters (TLs);
  • Third ILAC-WADA Communique published on 1 April 2021;
  • Evaluation of laboratory method validations;
  • Possible solutions for accreditation of 16 Athlete Passport Management Units (APMUs) hosted by WADA-accredited laboratories;
  • MoU between ILAC and WADA;
  • Plans for the next ISL Assessors training.

The next meeting of the ILAC-WADA Liaison Group is scheduled for 21 October 2021.

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SADCA Publishes 2022 to 2026 Strategic Plan

The Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Accreditation (SADCA) has published its 4th strategic plan. The strategic plan covers the period 2022 to 2026. The process started with the development of the Strategic Plan survey questionnaire which was subsequently circulated to stakeholders for completion. Inputs from stakeholders were then collated and analysed, following which two strategic planning workshops were successfully held, one with stakeholders on 25 March 2021 and then with the SADCA Executive Committee on 26 March 2021. All inputs were then consolidated into a draft strategic plan which was then circulated to all members for comment. The comments received were then considered by the Executive Committee following which the final draft strategic plan was circulated to all members and subsequently approved through Resolution 14 of the 25th SADCA General assembly held on 6 May 2021.

With a fresh design and colourful outlook, the 2022 to 2026 Strategic Plan covers the Chairperson’s Statement; SADCA mandate and aims, vision, mission and values; situation analysis; performance environment; organisational environment; performance information; and links to the long-term infrastructure and other capital plans, private partnerships, financial plan, budget, and indicator description.

Speaking during the SADCA General Assembly, Mrs Maureen Mutasa (SADCA Chair) thanked members for their input into the strategic plan; Dr Josias, the facilitator of the strategic planning process; and the SADCA Executive Committee for their hard work which has resulted in a well thought out strategy for the 2022 to 2026 period, during which the SADCA Mutual Recognition will be internationally recognized.  A plan that supports the SADC industrialization thrust and sustainable development in the region, facilitates trade and regional integration and enhances human capital development and competence. A plan where SADCA will work towards self-sustenance of its operational activities and a plan where SADCA’s thrust will also focus on awareness creation on its MRA and designed to also increase membership in SADCA especially private sector involvement in its activities. A plan that avoids unnecessary duplication with the African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC). The 2022 to 2026 Strategic Plan was uploaded on the SADCA website and the link circulated to stakeholders for notification of its upload.

The Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Accreditation (SADCA) is a Cooperation of accreditation bodies in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. SADCA is a Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Cooperation Structure established under the TBT Annex to the SADC Protocol on Trade. SADCA currently has a total of 20 Members:

  • 3 Arrangement Members (MRA Signatories);
  • 12 Ordinary Members;
  • 0 Associate Members; and
  • 5 Stakeholder Members.

 

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EA: How Quality Infrastructures support transition to Industry 4.0

The 2021 edition of the International Congress of Metrology, held in Lyon, France, closed its doors on 9th September 2021. It was the first time the Congress was organised based on a hybrid model: conferences and roundtable talks being held simultaneously in Lyon and broadcasted online to the registered participants. This new model was very successful.

EA has been a partner of the Congress for 20 years and routinely present on the roundtables. In 2021, Maureen Logghe, the EA President, was accepted as a key speaker on the roundtable on “The Role of Metrology and Quality Infrastructures in the Transition to Industry 4.0”. We asked Maureen for her feedback on the event.

Being a speaker in a hybrid format, Maureen explains, creates new constraints and invites you to be creative when communicating to the public and presenting remotely. It takes some time to adapt to the hybrid model, particularly when engaging with participants you can see and, at the same time, those you cannot see and are raising their questions in writing only. Normally you would be able to interact directly with the audience, you can read the faces and how well your message has been received. This is not the case however, when you cannot see the participants on the other side of the screen. You have to change your method of communication to make sure all questions are answered and issues are communicated clearly. Exciting challenge!

On 8th September, the roundtable brought together all main actors of the international quality infrastructure involved in one way or another in what we call Industry 4.0. The EA President sat at the table with representatives of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC),, Organisation Internationale de Métrologie Légale (OIML), Industry, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

All recognised that Industry 4.0 is no longer an issue for future discussion but rather a challenge we are facing at present. In our daily life we already use ‘connected’ objects and the internet is present in every facet of life, as illustrated by our ILAC colleague in their presentation on digital energy meters in our house. In industry or services, the applications of digitalisation are many and create new challenges for metrology, calibration, conformity assessment and accreditation, but also standardisation and regulations.

In Europe, the European Commission made Industry 4.0 a key European-wide challenge with a number of projects and initiatives in the Information & Communication Technology fields. Cybersecurity is just one example. The Cybersecurity Act will cover many areas, products, processes, supporting higher security and performance while protecting personal data. European legislations have for some time already incorporated in their contents the key challenges brought forward by Industry 4.0. however legislation should be future proof.

On the standardisation side, ISO/IEC 17011 has proved very recently to be up-to-date and fit for purpose as it already contained a definition of remote assessments. During the COVID-19 pandemic, its requirements enabled accreditation and accredited bodies to maintain their services remotely with the same level of reliability, competence and confidence. The standard requirements could be translated readily in the new procedures and processes supporting remote assessments. Working from home, by definition, has led to further development of existing and the introduction of new digital processes. ISO/IEC 17011, and the standards used for accreditation have not been an obstacle or a technical barrier. National Accreditation Bodies and Conformity Assessment Bodies have proven to be able to adapt and continue to meet the requirements. It has helped avoid discontinuity and maintain the quality chain in the market.

Testing of medical masks is a good example of how well the chain has been maintained, with manufacturers having to produce very quickly a lot of masks, laboratories to carry out the relevant tests and meet the urgent and big demand, accreditation bodies to perform the assessment of the labs and, ultimately, deliver accreditations to give confidence in the masks placed on the market.

The discussions around the table showed that all parties involved share converging views, interests and approaches. Industry 4.0 is not in the future, but in the present. Regulation, standardisation, conformity assessment, accreditation, all have had to adapt and anticipate “present future” changes. The issues of cybersecurity and artificial intelligence have been touched upon several times. Developing use of digital technologies, IA in particular in the many areas of metrology, calibration or in decision making processes gives rise to new challenges for conformity assessment and accreditation. All involved have to keep up with innovation and technology. EA and its members have proven to be innovative, developing use of technologies in their operations and taking up the new questions arising from use and exchange of personal data. Remote assessments have been implemented. Today, we are at the stage of sharing feedback and experience to reinforce our procedures while maintaining the necessary harmonisation. Back in 2017, EA had clearly prioritised digitalisation in its strategic development plan and now we can pick the fruits.

Even if convinced that the digital route is the route for the future, we have to be prudent. In the accreditation field, it cannot be sufficient just to only observe CAB staff performing tests and analyses remotely, there is still a need for further onsite assessment to see how they work. The human dimension is a major asset in conformity assessment processes. The purpose of accreditation remains confidence, it has not changed, and it cannot be based on virtual control only. Competence still needs face-to-face meetings, interviews and interaction. How to combine the tools and approaches will be the next challenge. It is already on the agenda for EA technical committees and EA members have a lot of experience to share, in many areas, from many different contexts and environments.

Furthermore the discussion in the roundtable panel showed that, individually, each actor cannot do it all. We are collectively, all involved in the quality infrastructure, that we will translate Industry 4.0 successfully in all aspects of economy and everyone’s daily life. This constitutes a fantastic incentive, we all have to make headway at the same pace, jointly.

Working together is nothing new for accreditors. Taking account of stakeholders and interested parties’ views and needs is well embedded in our daily work. We are ready and will continue interaction with all our partners, European and national regulators, industry, services, consumers, CABs. We are well aware of the risks and will take up the challenge.

 

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News from ARAC

1.     New ARAC MLA Signatory: Saudi Accreditation Center SAC

1.1   New ARAC MLA Signatory :

Following the acceptance of the Saudi Accreditation Center SAC as new ARAC MLA signatory, ARAC has 5 MLA signatories are the following:

ARAC MLA Signatory

Calibration

Testing

Medical

Inspection

QMS

EMS

FSMS

Product

Persons

EGAC

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

 

EIAC

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

GAC

Y

 

 

Y

 

 

 

 

 

JAS-AU

Y

Y

Y

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAC

Y

Y

 

Y

 

 

 

 

 

2.      ARAC Regional Workshops:

2.1   ARAC Regional Training Workshop on estimation and statement of uncertainty and the new version of “ILAC P14:09/2020 ILAC Policy for Measurement Uncertainty in Calibration

 With the participation of more than 100 ARAC AB’s personnel involved in the accreditation process [ARAC ABs staff, Lead Assessors, Technical Assessors and Technical Experts and decision makers], the ARAC online Regional on estimation and statement of uncertainty and the new version of “ILAC P14:09/2020 ILAC Policy for Measurement Uncertainty in Calibration” has been successfully conducted during the period 22nd – 23rd  June 2021. The regional training workshop that was very ably facilitated by Eng. Mahmoud Eltayeb covered  the requirements and guidelines for the estimation and statement of uncertainty in calibration and will support ARAC ABs members to implement the new requirements of ILAC P 14, which is based on the Guide to Uncertainty in Measurement (GUM) and retains the common understanding of the term CMC from the joint declaration issued by the BIPM and ILAC.

2.2   ARAC Regional Workshop on ISO/IEC 17043

 ARAC conducted during the period 04 – 07 July 2021 an online regional training workshop on accreditation of the PT provider according to the requirements of ISO/IEC 17043 “Conformity assessment – General requirements for proficiency testing” with the participation of more than 100 ARAC AB’s personnel involved in the accreditation process as well as representative from ARAC Stakeholders’ members. These training sessions will support ARAC AB members to extend their activities in order to include the accreditation of proficiency testing providers, which covered the requirements for the competence and impartiality of proficiency testing providers and consistent operation of all proficiency testing schemes.

[Photo 01: Participants at the ARAC Peer Evaluators workshop on ISO/IEC 17043]

2.3   Regional Workshop on Metrological Traceability and the new version of ILAC P10:07/2020 ILAC Policy on Metrological Traceability of Measurement Results

 in order to harmonize the accreditation practices among ARAC members and support the enhancement of members’ capacities in operating existing accreditation schemes of common interest to ARAC members, ARAC organized the regional workshop “on Metrological Traceability and the new version of ILAC P10:07/2020 ILAC Policy on Metrological Traceability of Measurement Results”. These online training sessions covered the Principles of metrological traceability and the new ILAC policy on metrological traceability of measurement results, which shall be implemented by the ARAC ABs MLA signatories no later than July 2021.  In addition, the training sessions covered the ILAC policy with regard to the metrological traceability requirements for the conformity assessment activities where measurement is involved

[Photo 02:  Participants at the ARAC Regional Workshop on Metrological Traceability]

2.4   ARAC Regional Workshop on the new version of P15:05/2020 Application of ISO/IEC 17020:2012 for the Accreditation of Inspection Bodies

 ARAC conducted during the period 11-12 April 2021 an online regional training workshop on the new version of P15:05/2020 Application of ISO/IEC 17020:2012 for the Accreditation of Inspection Bodies with the participation of more than 80 ARAC AB’s personnel involved in the accreditation process as well as representative from ARAC Stakeholders’ members. This workshop will support ARAC AB members to prepare for the implementation of the new issue of ILAC P 15, which shall start in November 2021. 

3.      Arab Accreditation week:

In its second edition and on the occasion of World Accreditation Day 2021 ARAC organized the Arab Accreditation Week [AAW] during the period 06-11 June 2021 under the theme “Together towards enhancing the role of accreditation in supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Arab region”.

Several on line activities held during the AAW demonstrate the ways for further developing the accreditation infrastructure in the Arab region and highlight the pivotal role it plays in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Arab region, in addition to capacity building activities that implemented to strengthen the ARAC members competencies.

3.1  Webinar on the benefits of ARAC MLA recognition to the ARAC Accreditation Body members and the benefits of accreditation to governments

The event, came in the context of the implementation of ARAC communication strategy, will further contribute to strengthen the visibility of ARAC inside and outside the accreditation community, supporting recognition and acceptance of the ARAC MLA and services/products provided under accreditation issued by the ARAC accreditation body members. By the end of the awareness sessions, the participants had a good understanding on the contributions of accreditation, ARAC MLA and its members for the benefits of:

  • Regulators,
  • Industries and economies,
  • Conformity assessment bodies

[Photo 03:  Participants at the ARAC Regional Workshop on the benefits of the ARAC MLA]

 3.2   Celebration of the WAD 2021

The online celebration covered interventions from ARAC and the regional partner organizations to highlight the role of accreditation in supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Arab region. In addition, examples have been shared on how accreditation and QI services may be applied to meet objectives such as increasing trade, addressing health and safety concerns, and improving the general overall quality of output at national and regional levels.

3.3   Webinar on accreditation in the digital era

This webinar aimed to review the best experiences from the ARAC Accreditation Bodies on how they operate so far under the specific situation of COVID-19 by using information and communication technologies while, most importantly, maintaining the integrity and a robust accreditation system. The event gave ARAC AB members a common understanding and a guidance on how to go digital in a harmonized way with an adequate digitalization tools to operate efficiently and effectively.

3.4   Webinar on gender inclusivity and diversity amongst ARAC accreditation body members:

Within the framework of the implementation of the ARAC gender policy ARAC organized exchange missions amongst the men and women representatives of the national accreditation bodies in the Arab region to share experiences and success stories in the field of gender inclusivity and diversity amongst their accreditation bodies, as well as to learn on the best international practices in gender responsiveness & integration within management and leadership.

[Photo 04:  Participants at the ARAC Regional workshop on gender inclusivity and diversity amongst ARAC ABs]

4.      New ARAC PT programs:

Since March 2021 and with the aim to enhance the measurement capability and traceability in countries and economies of the Arab region through a better regional scientific infrastructure, the following new PT programs has been implemented under the auspice of ARAC:

  • ARAC PT 003: Pesticides in food

Following the request of the ARAC Technical Committee to implement a third PT program on Pesticide in food ARAC launched a mapping in order to determine the number of the laboratories that can participate at this program and types or classes of pesticides. Based on the received feedback a new ARAC PT program ARAC PT 003 has been designed “Pesticides in Fruits and Vegetables” and a competent PT provider was selected to implement this PT program under the auspice of ARAC with the participation of more than 50 laboratories from the Arab region.

In addition, ARAC initiated the following three ARAC PT programs since April 2021 with the participation of more than 60 accredited laboratories in the Arab region:

  • ARAC PT Program PT 004 “Veterinary residues in beef, chicken and fish”
  • ARAC PT Program PT 005 “Dioxins and PCBs in food”
  • ARAC PT Program PT 006 “Aflatoxins in agriculture crops”

It should be highlighted that that the results of the participation of the ARAC AB accredited laboratories at the ARAC PT programs are using in the Peer evaluation process conducted by ARAC with the aim to check the compliance of ARAC ABs with ILAC/IAF A2 and ARAC applicable requirements. In addition, this PT program will enhance the measurement capability and traceability of measurements in countries and economies of the Arab region through a better regional scientific infrastructure.

The contact details of ARAC Secretariat are:

ARAC Secretariat
Email : secretariat@arabarac.org
Tel: + 212 600 78 56 78
The ARAC website address is: http://www.arab-accreditation.org

 

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AOAC INTERNATIONAL: 2021 Annual Meeting

AOAC INTERNATIONAL recently hosted its 135th Annual Meeting & Exposition, August 27 – September 2, 2021. It was a hybrid meeting, with registrants having the option to attend onsite in Boston, MA or virtually online. Over 600 attendees represented more than 30 countries at the event. Highlights included:

  • Opening session with keynote address from Dr. Temple Grandin and awards ceremony honoring hundreds of analytical science leaders.
  • Two-day Analytical Solutions Forum featuring presentations on international capacity building for food safety, next generation biometrology, and the Internet of Things.
  • Launch of new working groups for AOAC’s Stakeholder Program on Agent Detection Assays (SPADA) and of AOAC’s newest program, Analytical International Methods and Standards (AIMS).
  • Scientific sessions on topics like next generation sequencing (NGS), magnetic resonance, COVID-19’s impact on virus testing in the food industry, AI utilization, and more.

 

 

Next up on AOAC’s events calendar are the 2022 Midyear Meeting, March 14 – 18, 2022 in Gaithersburg, MD, and the 2022 Annual Meeting & Exposition, August 26 – September 1, 2022 in Scottsdale, AZ. Visit https://www.aoac.org/meetings-and-events/ for more information.

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ASCOLAB Qualification Process Internal Auditor of Laboratories

In an effort to continuously collaborate with DRC’s laboratories on their accreditation processes,  ASCOLAB have worked with DRC’s laboratories to design an internal auditor coaching programme to meet their objectives.

After the completion of training on Internal auditing based on ISO/CEI 17025: 2017 and ISO 19011: 2018 and after learning the procedures, methodologies, and objectives that a high-quality internal audit must meet, the ASCOLAB experts guide delegates through the entire process and teach them exactly how to prepare thoroughly for their new competencies.

The ASCOLAB experts accompany internal auditor candidates’ local laboratories in all key steps of the audit, and assist in defining the scope, performing the risk analysis, formulation of non-conformances, and establishing the provisional plan, conducting the opening and closing meetings, presentation of the non-conformances, and the effectiveness of corrective actions.

ASCOLAB experts check whether they are aligned with the methodology and the auditing standards, and therefore meet all the quality requirements of the profession.

The ASCOLAB goal is to directly transform the laboratory’s first engagement into a success that brings added value to the laboratory organization.

Based on the online and on-site coaching, the objectives of ASCOLAB are:

  • Developing an internal auditor’s cognitive abilities such as critical thinking and decision-making.
  • Helping competent technical internal auditors improve specific competencies such as communication (including interviewing and presenting).
  • Addressing cognitive and emotional issues that are hindering the internal auditor’s performance.

During 2021, four Internal Auditors of Central Laboratory of Panda GCM/BU/US have been qualified by ASCOLAB.

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News from Eurachem

It has been a busy six months for Eurachem, despite the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic. Travel restrictions meant that once again the General Assembly week and associated workshop in May were virtual events, rather than in Prague as we had hoped. Organised by Eurachem-Czech Republic, the workshop on ‘Trends and challenges in ensuring quality in analytical measurements’ discussed experiences with the revised ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and issues related to ensuring quality in medical laboratories, presented current Eurachem activities in the field of analytical quality assurance, and discussed future challenges from both research and practical perspectives. Copies of the workshop presentations are available on the Eurachem website and recordings are available on our YouTube channel.

Eurachem currently has three events in the diary for 2022 and we hope that those scheduled as face-to-face activities will be able to go ahead as planned:

  • 19-17 January 2022 – free online workshop on ‘Assessment of performance and uncertainty in qualitative chemical analysis’ in collaboration with CITAC and hosted by Singapore Health Sciences Authority (HSA). See https://www.eurachem.org/index.php/events/workshops/394-wks-aqa2022 for details.
  • 16-17 May 2022, Tbilisi, Georgia – workshop on ‘Quality assurance challenges of measurements from field to laboratory with a focus on ISO/IEC17025: 2017 requirements’. The workshop, organised by Eurachem-Georgia, will form part of the annual General Assembly week.
  • 26-29 September 2022, Windsor, UK – 10th Eurachem Workshop on ‘Proficiency Testing in analytical chemistry, microbiology and laboratory medicine’. Registration for this popular event is open at https://eurachem-pt2022.org/.

The Eurachem Working Groups have continued to be active in developing and updating guidance documents. The 2nd edition of the Eurachem/CITAC guide on ‘Use of uncertainty information in compliance assessment’ was published in April. This edition has been amended to take into account the developments in a number of documents including ILAC G8 (Guidelines on decision rules and statements of conformity) and JCGM 106 (Evaluation of measurement data – The role of measurement uncertainty in conformity assessment). The Measurement Uncertainty and Traceability Working Group has also published an updated information leaflet on the use of uncertainty information in compliance assessment to accompany the guide.

The evaluation of uncertainties associated with sampling is an ongoing area of interest for many laboratories. The Sampling Uncertainty Working Group, in collaboration with the Royal Society of Chemistry Analytical Methods Committee (AMC) Sampling Uncertainty Working Group, recently published a new leaflet explaining the concept of the uncertainty factor (https://www.eurachem.org/index.php/publications/leaflets/uncertainty-factor).

Finally, work developing guidance on ‘Assessment of performance and uncertainty in qualitative chemical analysis’ is well advanced with a new guide expected to be published shortly.

In addition to its network of member countries, Eurachem also works through liaisons with stakeholder organisations that share common interests in measurement quality. In recent months the Eurachem Executive has been working to refresh and formalise its relationship with a number of key organisations. The first output of this activity was the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding with NMKL (Nordic Committee on Food Analysis) on 16 August. The MoU provides a framework for future collaboration, with a view to optimising resources to ensure maximum benefit for both organisations’ members and the wider analytical community.

If you would like to keep up to date with Eurachem activities you can:

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ANAB: Surviving the Pandemic in the Training Industry

Similar to many businesses around the world, the ANAB Training Institute faced unprecedented challenges during early 2020.  It seemed like overnight everything stopped and continuing with “normal” training operations was no longer possible. In a matter of days, we went from reaching maximum registrations to having only self-paced training gain any interest. We knew in order to be able to continue offering our training, we had to act and act quickly. 

Our team, at that time, had been together for less than a year and were still getting to know one another, fleshing out our roles, responsibilities, and capabilities when everything was turned upside down. Now, we were faced with the challenge of needing to change the mode of instruction and delivery of training for the vast majority of our in-person training course catalog.   

We knew one thing – Live Online – was the only way we could continue operating in this new world of quarantine, but how?  What system would be best suited for live, instructor-led online instruction? And how would we deliver training in such a way as to maintain ANAB’s long-standing high-quality reputation as a high-quality provider of accreditation related standards and technical training? The internal auditor, and lead and technical assessor courses, which are our most popular, were traditionally done face to face, as these types of courses have a great deal of interaction among the participants and the instructor. We found ourselves asking, is the ‘one approach fits all’ the best way to go or should we take each course and decide how to structure it? How would we overcome the disconnect between trainer and trainee when such interactions are so vital to learning success? What about distractions and overall screen fatigue? And most importantly, how would we keep the participants captivated and involved, and monitor their progress without the typical visual clues one sees in the classroom? We had to answer all these questions in a very short period of time. We were spending days educating ourselves on online systems (e.g., Zoom, WebEx, Go-To-Meeting) and figuring out what would work best for us. All the while, in quarantine and without the ability to be in the same room together, talk about screen fatigue!

We were not successful from day one, our first month of completely online offerings sold very few seats. In addition, we had few instructors with online teaching experience. About two months into the launch of our online training, we finally started to see improved results; we were getting participants and our courses were starting to fill. After our first private training request for an instructor-led online course and with the conversion of all our courses to online delivery, we were confident that this would actually work. Fast forward a year, our operations are back to normal; well, back to the “new” normal. We learned many tricks along the way and are still learning, every session brings something new and continual improvement is constant.

Our current instructor-led online courses are more interactive now than they ever were. We were able to incorporate every in-class exercise to an online exercise and utilize online tools to maximize participant interactivity. In addition, 100% of our in-person course offerings have been transferred to instructor-led live online training. Yes, we even learned that the Internal Auditor, and Lead and Technical Assessor courses can be successfully and effectively delivered live online, using small group exercises, an e-version of flip charts for discussions and debriefs and most importantly various instructor tools and tricks to keep participants engaged. Even our biggest instructor skeptics now happily instruct in this new virtual environment. We may not even be able to convince them to go back on the road! Well, that’s another bridge we can cross when we get there.

We knew then, and are even more convinced now, that this COVID pandemic has changed the way we do business forever. The world is more connected through electronic means now than ever before and it is not necessarily a bad thing. This reality opened-up a tremendous number of opportunities for businesses and individuals. The ANAB Training Institute will never be the same, and we do not want it to be. We are now reaching more participants across the globe than we ever did just short of 2 years ago. We can deliver private and open registration courses to people globally without the expense of travel. The diversity that we are seeing in our open registration courses enriches the experience for all participants. The discussions and exchange of experiences is something we would never have been able to achieve in pre-COVID era.

We hope one day we will be able to go back to face to face training, but for now, our customers are telling us it is not the time. People are not ready, and we are ok with that. Our early 2022 schedule is still fully live online, and although we are open to face-to-face private training, over 90% of our customers request for the instructor-led live online delivery. 

Remote everything will pick up momentum and will not go away, whatever the future brings we have it covered. 

ANAB Training Institute – We are open for business in this new virtual world.

ANAB Training Institute Team

From top left Amy Levasseur, Emma Dutton, Melanie Ross and Natalia Larrimer. Missing from the photo Roger Muse.

 

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BLQS-DMSc: a unified accreditation reform in Thailand

There are four accreditation bodies (ABs) operating in Thailand however, only the National Standardization Council (NSC) – Thai Industrial Standards Institute (TISI) – Ministry of Industry is a full member signatory to both the ILAC MRA and IAF MLA. The Bureau of Laboratory Quality Standards (BLQS-DMSc) – Department of Medical Sciences – Ministry of Public Health, and the Bureau of Laboratory Accreditation (BLA-DSS) – Department of Science Service – Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation hold full membership and signatory status to only the ILAC MRA while the Office of Standard Accreditation (OSA) – National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS) – Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives holds full membership and signatory status to only the IAF MLA. All of these ABs are Government Agencies working as the agency-in-charge for standardization in a specific field of accreditation (such as testing and calibration laboratories, medical laboratories, reference material producers (RMPs), and product certification programs). Their specific scope of activity relates to the National Standardization Act B.E. 2551 (2008) of the national standard committee under the Cabinet approval.

The implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the benefits of the multilateral MRA for greater efficiency, cost savings on the ease of doing business policy, and the ongoing global pandemic of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) provide  significant opportunity for the Thai Public Policy Government to improve its own performance. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a single platform for accreditation was signed between the four ABs to strengthen the cooperation on 15th December 2020. This partnership aims to reduce the redundancy and unnecessity of multiple onsite assessments and accreditations from different ABs with specific areas of accreditation activities  for  customers.

Presently, the unified accreditation reform has commenced with testing laboratory accreditation by using joint assessments between ABs under the ‘single scheme’ of the same standard (i.e. ISO/IEC 17025) and under the ‘multiple schemes’ of different standards (i.e. ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO 15189). Currently a laboratory can apply with only one AB for any scope of testing where that AB has the MRA recognition. For example, currently, a laboratory has to apply for ISO/IEC 17025 testing scope of accreditation with NSC for industrial chemicals; with BLQS-DMSc for pharmaceuticals; and with BLA-DSS for waste water. From now on, the laboratory will be able to apply to just one AB as a single point of contact (“one stop service”), for the entire scope of testing activities, and still be verified compliant with the standard. The platform however, is currently only voluntary, so a customer may maintain accreditation with each individual AB as per usual should they wish.

The next step,  is to set up ongoing monitoring and reporting systems that interface with this platform. We look forward to working with the simplified and harmonized processes and procedures of each AB to expand the unified accreditation model., In the future we plan to establish the “one application – one platform – one certificate” for testing laboratory accreditation, and also expand this platform to other MRA/MLA scopes such as reference material producers (RMP), proficiency testing providers (PTP), management system (MS) as well as extending the scope of the recognition to the MRA/MLAs to cover other conformity assessment body activities in Thailand (e.g. biobanking facilities specifying accreditation complying with ISO 20387 and medical device accreditation complying with ISO 13485).

We held a public hearing addressing these proposed changes on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 via the zoom cloud meeting application to communicate and promote the changes to our customers, and also to receive input and feedback. Approximately 650 participants shared their thoughts with discussion and opinions regarding this joint initiative. This input will allow us to pursue a better modifying process. Participants at the public hearing approved of the initiative and few of the customers have already decided to apply using this platform on their next cycle of assessment supporting sustainability in accreditation. Finally, this joint supporting service was approved to start in October 2021 and is expected to be a  great success with acceptance from customers. It will also help to stimulate competitiveness in the economy, and keep up with global changes especially in this time of COVID-19 restrictions.

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BSCA: Belarusian Industrial and Innovation Forum 2021

On 28-30 September Minsk, Belarus, hosted The Belarusian Industrial and Innovation Forum 2021 – one of the largest international events in the field of industry, high technology, innovation and scientific and technical development. The purpose of the exhibition is to promote innovative industrial equipment, products and technologies of domestic and foreign companies to regional and international markets and to strengthen business contacts and share best practices.

Within this Forum on September 29, 2021 the Belarusian State Centre for Accreditation held a breakout session covering topical issues of accreditation.

The benefits of international recognition of accreditation for governors, industry, consumers was discussed as well as the value of the ILAC MRA and IAF MLA marks on conformity assessment documents for business and industry. BSCA also took the opportunity to draw more attention to the global data base IAF CertSearch as an international online platform to provide the validation of accredited certification worldwide.

 

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