UNIDO Publish Remote Conformity Assessment Paper

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is pleased to announce the launch of a publication titled “Remote conformity assessment in a digital world: Opportunities, challenges and implications for developing countries”.

The publication provides a high-level overview of how remote assessment/audit techniques have developed in recent years and applied in different conformity assessment contexts. It also highlights the associated benefits of such techniques along with the challenges and implications for the future. 

Quality Infrastructure is the combination of initiatives, institutions, organizations, activities, and people that help ensure products and services meet customers’ requirements. Conformity assessment is a central part of this important work as it links regulation, industry, and markets. Evidence shows that establishing a Quality Infrastructure can assist a nation in pursuing a development track in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Remote assessments/audits play a crucial role in the context of digital transformation of Quality Infrastructures around the world, with the global disruptions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic having accelerated this process and injected urgency into the adoption of new technologies. where the use of remote assessment techniques to ensure the continuity of conformity assessment and confidence in its outcomes became a strategic imperative.

The need to stay abreast of the latest developments to ensure that no country is left behind in the increasingly digitalized world of conformity assessment makes this publication relevant for developing countries and a wider audience. Pragmatic steps that can be taken to address this need are presented accordingly.

UNIDO remains committed to continuing its support to developing countries, assisting them in overcoming the challenges and making the most of the opportunities posed by the growing use of remote assessment techniques.

ABCB Receive Association of the Year Award

ABCB are delighted to announce that they are proud winners of the Association Awards 2021 for ‘Business Member Association of the Year’.

Wayne Terry, Chief Executive of ABCB said “we are absolutely delighted to have won this prestigious award, and we thank the Association of Executives and the judging panel for bestowing the award on ABCB. This is truly recognition of the commitment of all of our members in collaborative thinking for the betterment of all certification bodies and the UK quality infrastructure”.

ABCB calls for an exemption for Certification Body Staff

TPS 74 – A Triumph in Collaboration

The big question facing the world of accreditation is what will the new normal look like when travel restrictions are lifted following the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Undoubtedly, during the pandemic the industry responded quickly and moved to remote auditing to ensure business and supply chains could continue. But what will happen once travel restrictions have been lifted, will we go back as we were before, or will we build on the lessons learnt in the past year or so?

With this mind ABCB approached UKAS who agreed to set up a joint task force under their Management Systems Certification Technical Advisory Committee to build upon and adapt the lessons learned into a more normal working environment, defining a framework for the provision of a blended approach to auditing that ensures the same level of confidence in accredited certification, whilst realising a more sustainable and flexible approach to its delivery.

This successful collaboration has produced UKAS TPS 74 – UKAS Guidance on the Use of a Blended Approach to Auditing for Management Systems by Certification Bodies, which has now been published.

Wayne Terry, ABCB Chief Executive said, “TPS 74 is a wonderful example of true collaboration and I want to thank UKAS for their foresight and cooperation and I also want to thank other stakeholders who contributed to this work, particularly IIOC and FCB who’s contributions were valuable to the overall outcome”.

Preferential Recruitment Services for ABCB Members

ABCB and HRP (Hinton Recruitment Partners) are delighted to announce their strategic alliance bringing preferential recruitment services to members of ABCB.

HRP offer a personal and transparent recruitment service, building long term partnerships and working as a resource partner to their clients.  HRP’s staff have extensive experience working within Certification and Testing sector and have a strong network within UKAS accredited and associated organisations as well as extensive recruitment experience.

Wayne Terry, Chief Executive of ABCB said “I am really excited to bring this added value to ABCB members, finding the right people in the quality infrastructure sector is never easy, so I’m delighted that ABCB members will be able to work with HRP. I’ve no doubt it will be of great advantage to help secure the right people for members organisations”.

HRP offer a range of preferential recruitment services to ABCB members that include:

Employer Services

  • General recruitment
  • Search & Selection – A more targeted approach to attracting individuals who can help improve and grow your business
  • Consultancy – With over 30 years recruitment experience HRP can offer advice and guidance around most recruitment scenarios and needs
  • Salary Benchmarking

Services for the Individual

The following services will be offered free of charge to individuals who have recently left the employment of, or individuals facing redundancy from an ABCB member.

  • Career Consultancy
  • CV & online profile advice, application strategy – how to widen prospects and general advice around career development and job hunting

Steve Bennett, HRP Director said “I would like to thank Wayne for the opportunity to work with him and ABCB members to offer a personal recruitment service.  Having worked in the sector for a number of years I am grateful for the opportunity to help the membership attract and retain individuals who can add value to their organisations.”

To find out more please contact Steve Bennett sb@hintonrp.co.uk or Wayne Terry wayne.terry@abcb.org.uk or visit https://www.hintonrp.co.uk/ or http://79.170.40.235/abcb.org.uk/

Collaboration – the Future of Audits Post-COVID-19

During the COVID-19 Pandemic we saw a dramatic change in the way audits were delivered in order to maintain accreditation and certification and to keep supply chains operational, necessity required the significant adoption of remote auditing in many countries around the world. There is no doubt that speed with which the industry adapted was in large part due to the support and guidance provided by the IAF family, and the swift collaboration between its membership groups, Accreditation Bodies and Certification Bodies alike.   

This rapid change has driven numerous innovations in remote auditing techniques, methodologies, and tools as well as a great deal of experience gained by the certification and accreditation community leading to fantastic advances and most of all lessons learned. Much of this was shared via the excellent IAF FAQ resource.

But post lockdown, what will the future of assessments look like? How will these learnings and benefits be utilised to improve their effectiveness and enhance the benefits of ISO standards to end users? Wayne Terry, Chief Executive of ABCB, thinks collaboration will shape the future as the quality infrastructure develop a collaborative approach to Blended Audits.

ABCB recently began discussions with UKAS to discuss the move back to “normality” as lockdown restrictions lift and in particular how the approach to remote auditing and the guidance around it will change to retain the benefits gained whilst at the same time maintaining the value and the integrity of accredited certification.

There is no doubt this is a very important topic facing all Accreditation Bodies and Certification Bodies, so with this in mind a joint task force was initiated by the UKAS Management System Certification Technical Advisory Committee involving other CB representative bodies and key stakeholders  to develop an agreed approach to what will become the new normal.

Naturally, the approach will need to ensure that the integrity of the audit process is maintained in line with the current framework of IAF guidance and mandatory documents. Although previous restrictions on remote audits (such as the 30% limit contained in ISO 27006,) have currently been relaxed there will need to be a review to facilitate the adoption of a more risk-based approach that takes into account the way individual clients deploy and maintain their systems and industry specific factors.

Although the origins of the project will initially focus on the UK, once complete, it is intended to take the output for discussion at regional level through EA and then onto IAF thus bringing all the various elements of the IAF together through collaboration to shape the future of audits post COVID-19.

Given the extent of collaboration and speed of action by the industry during this crisis, I am very hopeful that we can have an agreed approach ready as each part of the globe exits this difficult situation.

ABCB Lead the Way on Remote Auditing

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, ABCB developed a remote auditing guide for its members that continues to serve them well, but what will be the norm post lockdown?

The UK conformity infrastructure is conscious that post lockdown the value and integrity of accreditation remains intact, so we need to start preparing for what the new ‘acceptable’ might look like, with focus on a suitable, acceptable and consistent approach as the world returns to work.

To help maintain the value of accreditation a joint ABCB/UKAS task force is being set up (to include other industry stakeholders), to develop a post lockdown ‘Guide to Remote Auditing’ bringing together the numerous innovations in remote auditing methodologies, tools as well the wealth of experience gained by the certification and accreditation community.

Work is expected to start mid-July – watch this space!

ABCB Celebrates World Accreditation Day 2020

June 9th 2020 marks World Accreditation Day (#WAD2020), a global initiative established by ILAC and IAF to promote the value of accreditation. This year’s theme focuses on how accreditation supports food safety, bolstering the confidence of consumers, suppliers, purchasers and specifiers in the quality and safety of food.

joint statement released by the IAF and ILAC Chairs introduces the importance of accreditation in food safety, noting how it ensures competent and impartial inspection, certification and testing services in every part of local, national and international food chains. In doing so, accreditation supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3).

IAF and ILAC have produced a brochure and poster to highlight worldwide examples of the role accreditation plays in food safety; further examples and research are available on the Public Sector Assurance and Business Benefits websites. A video is also available on the IAF/ILAC YouTube channel. We welcome you to add your logo to the materials, and to encourage your customers and stakeholders to do the same.  

Follow IAF and ILAC on Twitter for more information about accreditation in the food safety sector in the days leading up to WAD. While the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social distancing policies may disrupt physical WAD events, we encourage you to celebrate with us online using the hashtag #WAD2020.

ABCB Calls on Accreditors to Act Now

Rules are rules and the accreditation world has more than most, and rightly so.

COVID-19 has already seen total shut down in some parts of the world so it’s vital that elsewhere the wheels of industry continue to turn. Accredited certification plays a big part in this and Accreditation Bodies must lead to ensure national and global trade continues.

ABCB calls on all the worlds Accreditation Bodies to act together via IAF on their corporate and social responsibilities to protect staff of CB’s, their client’s staff and everyone’s families and immediately implement a blanket suspension of physical audits.  The rules are there to allow it so act now!

IAF CertSearch – A Single Source of Truth

The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) has officially launched the world’s exclusive global database for accredited management system certifications, providing businesses and governments the ability to digitally validate an organization’s certification(s) to determine if a certificate is valid and if the Certification Body issuing the certificate is accredited to issue certifications to that standard.

IAF CertSearch, the largest global database for accredited certifications, currently includes around 400,000 valid certifications across more than 150 economies covering a range of sectors.

With over 4000 certification bodies and 68 IAF MLA signatory accreditation bodies globally, validation of certifications across supply chains can be difficult. The aggregation of certification data in one global database – IAFCertSearch – makes the validation process simple and efficient. 

IAF Director for Users and Industry, IAF UAC Chair, Sheronda Jeffries said, “Via IAF CertSearch businesses and governments can ensure all suppliers in their supply chains hold valid accredited certifications and can be instantly alerted if the certification is suspended, withdrawn or expired”

IAF Chairman Mr Xiao Jianhua said, “IAF CertSearch is a game changer for accredited certification, improving the awareness, integrity and value of accredited certification. Organizations will no longer be able to claim to have an accredited certification when they do not.”  Mr Jianhua added, “Launching the database is a great milestone! Trading with certified organizations is a way businesses and governments can demonstrate they have high quality, compliant, transparent global supply chains.” 

The database also helps organizations demonstrate that organizations in their supply chains meet environmental, social, and governance standards.

If you have any queries regarding the new IAF CertSearch database, please contact  info@iafcertsearch.org.

Leading industry players discuss IAF CertSearch https://youtu.be/oDEaHPawzVA