Accreditation Conference 2015
Germany's accreditation scene meets in Berlin
Nearly 400 guests, 17 speakers, three forums and two locations – the Accreditation Conference 2015 was the largest specialised event of its kind to date. For the fourth time already, the German Accreditation Body (DAkkS) invited experts, decision makers, expert appraisers and representatives of industry and government authorities to Berlin for an exchange of views.
"Accreditation is not merely static; on the contrary it is increasingly concerned with new challenges", said Uwe Beckmeyer, Parliamentary Secretary of State to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, in his opening address. Impending new changes in accreditation were therefore also in the focus of the conference: For the first time, the DAkkS introduced the draft of a new surveillance concept to the expert public.
New surveillance concept places greater emphasis on more individuality
The new surveillance concept places greater emphasis on the individual "performance and stability" of the Conformity Assessment Bodies and sets store by the greatest possible latitude for the appraisal interval. "Of course a number of details remain to be clarified. Nevertheless, the positive feedback of our conference guests shows that we are on the right path with our new surveillance concept", summarised Norbert Barz the plenum debate. "Now it's a matter of implementing this concept". The DAkkS expects the new regulation to take effect in 2016, together with the elimination of a time limit for accreditations. The prerequisite for this is the introduction of a new regulation of fees, currently in preparation in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
Discussions at the international level
Besides important planned changes for the DAkkS, the Accreditation Conference at the Steigenberger Hotel Am Kanzleramt in Berlin also dealt with the international perspective: Hans Ingels, Head of Unit C/1 – Internal Market for Goods and Market Surveillance (DG GROW), as a representative of the European Commission, reported e.g. on the current Canadian-European free trade agreement (CETA) negotiations and possible consequences for accreditation and conformity assessment.
In his speech, the recently re-elected chairman of the European Cooperation for Accreditation (EA), Dr. Thomas Facklam, focused on coming changes in Europe and in this connection referred to the revision of the so-called "Blue Guide" by the European Commission, planned for this autumn. In addition, Facklam referred to the debate about the policy on the traceability of measurement results of ILAC P10: At the European level the EA is currently discussing the issue of restricting the traceability policy as provided for in ILAC P 10 as well as possible to accredited calibration laboratories.
The current traceability policy situation was one of the further focal points of the accreditation conference for which information was presented in one of the three theme forums. The third forum was concerned with the coming changes in the healthcare sector, illustrated with examples taken from practice. Numerous guests used the forums to offer critical comments and exchange expert views with their colleagues.
"Think the impossible also to make innovations possible"
This exchange already began on the evening before, the World Accreditation Day, in the Berlin "Kalkscheune" in the course of a summer get-together. Professor Dr. Manfred Hennecke, chairman of the DAkkS supervisory board, opened the evening, followed by
Dr. Markus Reimer, businessman and auditor for quality management systems. In his keynote address "Innovation – beyond the scope of quality management?" precisely in the area of quality infrastrucure, so dominated by regulations and specifications, Reimer encouraged thinking not only "differently", but for once also "the opposite or the impossible in order to enable innovations".
Next accreditation conference in June 2016
"The enthusiastic acceptance of our guests on site and the enormous interest in the accreditation conference already in advance confirm the importance of such a platform for the exchange of views and establishing professional networks for the expert public", concluded DAkkS managing director Norbert Barz and, at the conclusion of the event, announced the next accreditation conference, to be held in June 2016.
Impressions from the Accreditation Conference 2015
Tuesday, 9th June 2015, at "Kalkscheune" event location, Berlin
Wednesday, 10th June 2015, at Steigenberger Hotel "Am Kanzleramt", Berlin
All Photos: Jens Jeske for DAkkS