With a form of the Brexit coming closer on 29 March 2019, we receive questions about what this means for accreditation. We therefore have listed the most important questions (and answers).
Are certificates and reports with a RvA accreditation mark still accepted in the United Kingdom after Brexit?
Based on the multilateral agreement concluded in Europe by the European Accreditation Cooperation (EA), certificates and reports issued under the accreditation of a signatory of this MLA are considered equally reliable (see EA-INF/04) for all signatories of the MLA. The UK accreditation body (UKAS) remains a signatory of the EA-MLA after a Brexit - also UKAS remain a signatory of the global agreements IAF-MLA and ILAC-MRA) - which means that this principle will also apply thereafter. For the use of accreditation in the context of European legislation the status of UKAS as National accreditation body will however change significantly (see more on this below). It is expected that reports and certificates with the RvA accreditation mark continue to be accepted in the private sector in the UK after Brexit.
Can you still accept certificates and reports with a UKAS accreditation mark within your own activities after Brexit?
Yes. As the mutual recognition of equivalence remains valid under the EA-MLA. IAF-MLA and ILAC-MRA, you can continue to accept certificates and reports with the UKAS accreditation mark in the non-regulated area. For example, you can continue to consider a calibration of your measuring instrument carried out under the accreditation of UKAS as evidence of international traceability.
Branches in the United Kingdom of bodies accredited by the RvA are currently being assessed by UKAS. Will the RvA continue to outsource these assessments to UKAS?
Yes. According to the rules of the EA-MLA, the RvA shall not carry out assessments in countries where the accreditation body is a signatory of the EA-MLA. As UKAS remains a signatory of the EA-MLA after Brexit, the RvA continues to outsource such assessments to UKAS.
Is it possible for the RvA to accredit in the UK after Brexit?
No. According to the rules of the EA-MLA, the RvA shall not accredit organizations in countries where the accreditation body is a signatory of the EA-MLA.
What does Brexit mean for UKAS’ EA-membership?
UKAS remains an EA-MLA signatory. However, the EA will have to make provisions in its rules for continuation of the possibility for UKAS to remain a member of EA as a so-called full member. The EA has two years from Brexit to arrange this, but has already expressed the intention to do so. EA has published an explanation on this on her website. The status granted by the European Union after Brexit to the United Kingdom may play a role in this.
Will bodies in the United Kingdom retain their status after Brexit?
No, the European Commission explicitly stated that UKAS is no longer a national accreditation body as defined in regulation 765/2008 and that the status of nobo no longer applies for the bodies in the UK after Brexit.
For other types of European legislation the activities of bodies accredited by UKAS will no longer be considered to be fulfilment of European requirements. For example: verifiers can no longer issue verification reports under UKAS accreditation according to regulation (EU) 2015/757 and EU-ETS directive 2003/87/EC. For the regulation (EU)910/2014 on electronical identification and trust services, reports issued under UKAS accreditation can no longer be used to demonstrate compliance with the EU requirements.
Can such bodies be accredited by the RvA and thus retain their status?
No. The RvA is not a notifying authority. Whoever is, is listed in NANDO. The RvA accredits bodies in the Netherlands and these bodies may apply for notification at the Dutch notifying authority.
In Europe, the RvA cannot grant accreditation to bodies based in another country having an accreditation body that is signatory of the EA-MLA and therefore RvA shall not accredit the bodies established in the United Kingdom. A number of the bodies in the UK have a branch in the Netherlands and based on the accreditation of this Dutch branche a notification can be requested by a Dutch notifying authority. The RvA has explained its policy in this issue in document RvA-T050. However, the RvA advises interested organizations to first contact the Dutch notifying authority.
What does BREXIT this means for producers, importers and their notified bodies?
The EC has published several documents (including so called preparedness notices) in which explanations are given about the impact of the Brexit for producers, importers and where relevant their notified bodies. We recommend these parties involved in introducing products on the European market to consult these documents. Also the UK government has published information that could be relevant for producers, importers and notified bodies.
Where can you find more information about Brexit (in relation to accreditation)?
Website UKAS (Brexit page)
Brexitloket from the national government (in Dutch)
European Commission (including the preparedness notices)
Or stay informed of the Brexit developments within the accreditation world via our news page, our monthly newsletter (in Dutch) or follow us on LinkedIn.