Accredited bodies must meet deadlines for applications
Conformity assessment bodies (CABs) wishing to change their accreditation and to coordinate this change with planned surveillance or a reassessment should apply as early as possible. Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle (DAkkS) advises CABs that applications must be submitted at least three months before the planned assessment date.
Since the ruling of the Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG) of 19 September 2018 on the limitation of accreditations, DAkkS has granted accreditations without limitation for all accreditations in the statutory area. This applies to all accreditations for which there is no specific statutory time limit.
This has implications for applications for extensions by accredited bodies, because together with the elimination of the need for an application for reaccreditation, CABs now also no longer have the option of adjusting the scope of the granted accreditation directly with the reassessment.
Only applications submitted in good time can be considered for reassessments and surveillance
For an unlimited accreditation, the reassessment covers only the scope of accreditation already granted. If a CAB wishes to adjust the scope in the context of the time of the reassessment, an application for amendment of the accreditation is required. The application must be submitted to DAkkS in good time to ensure that for the planning of the assessment teams, both the scopes already accredited and the amendment being sought can be coordinated in terms of content and dates. In the announcement of reassessment, which takes place approximately five to six months before the planned date, DAkkS advises that amendment is possible and that the application must be submitted in good time.
Please note that DAkkS cannot consider applications for amendment submitted at short notice just before or during a reassessment. The same applies to amendments in the context of the time of surveillance. As a rule, an application with a lead time of three months is sufficient to coordinate the amendment during the scheduled reassessment or surveillance.
An amendment of accreditation can of course be requested at any time. DAkkS also processes these applications outside of its normal surveillance activities. To reduce the cost and effort for the accredited body, however, it is advisable to coordinate any amendments being sought with reassessments or other surveillance assessments.
DAkkS has now removed the time limitation for the majority of accreditations granted. DAkkS certificates therefore no longer have an expiry date for the accreditation. This development is by all means advantageous for accredited CABs, because it means that the application for reaccreditation that used to be required is no longer necessary. If the application was not submitted or not submitted on time, bottlenecks and time pressure on the part of both DAkkS and the CAB were not uncommon. Occasionally, the newly granted accreditation did not follow on seamlessly from the preceding accreditation period – with all of the disadvantages that entails.
Although accreditations in the statutory area are in principle granted for an unlimited period, DAkkS is required to comply with certain time limits as set out in the requirements of DIN EN ISO/IEC 17011. For the so-called accreditation cycle, for example, the standard specifies a maximum duration of five years. The first cycle in a case of accreditation begins with the decision on initial accreditation and ends with the decision following the subsequent reassessment. As with an initial assessment, the reassessment covers the entire scope of the accreditation granted. The additional cycles are each determined by the decisions taken following successive re-assessments. DAkkS is responsible for adherence to this five-year limit. The relevant case managers in each case determine the schedule for reassessment and contact the CAB in good time.