Following trials in 2018, JAS-ANZ is introducing a self-evaluation mechanism (SEM) for accredited conformity assessment bodies (CABs) over the next few months. The SEM is intended to assist CABs to self-identify areas where they perform well and where they need to lift performance to meet the relevant requirements or qualify for continued accreditation by JAS-ANZ.
What is a self-evaluation mechanism?
The SEM consists of a list of evaluation questions that the CAB must answer to determine current performance and will require an in-depth knowledge of their processes. The SEM is not a substitute for, or duplication of, assessment. It uses evaluation principles and methodology and will look and feel significantly different from a standard audit process.
The SEM results will be reported to JAS-ANZ and reviewed to inform scheduled surveillances including initial and re-accreditations and has the potential to impact upon the frequency of future surveillances.
The SEM is designed to be a comprehensive method for CABs to understand, sustain and improve their performance. It does this by promoting better understanding and alignment of the CAB’s business activities with the relevant accreditation requirements and the sectors it operates in.
Done well, it will better prepare CABs for JAS-ANZ assessments and help improve CAB conformity assessment activities and processes, including the information and evidence about the impact on certified organisations and benefits for end users of certified services and products.
Lessons from the trial of the self-evaluation mechanism
For larger more complex CABs the SEM needs to involve various layers of the organisation including senior management. It also should involve a representative scope of the CAB’s business activities. For smaller CABs with less complex operations, the SEM should reflect the ongoing self-reflective activity that the CAB normally undertakes.
In either case, the SEM ideally will become an ongoing influence on the performance of the CAB and not just something that is done as a one-off in preparation for a JAS-ANZ assessment.
What does JAS-ANZ want to achieve with the SEM?
JAS-ANZ wants CABs of whatever size and complexity to exercise a high level of self-responsibility for the quality of their operation in conformity assessment. CABs should end up with better information and evidence about their performance and where it should be improved. This in turn should mean that CABs are better prepared when submitting initial applications leading to a potential shorter lead time to accreditation and later for re-accreditation – with consequent benefits for certified organisations’ clients and customers/end users.
A specialised version of the SEM has already been implemented for CABs seeking to be accredited as approved quality auditors under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The SEM will be applied to new CAB applications from October 2018 and then potentially for re-accreditation assessments mid 2019. A review of the initial rollout of the SEM will be undertaken prior to rollout for surveillances and scheme scope extensions later in 2019 early 2020.