Since the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak imposed severe restrictions on travelling and social interaction, which limited the possibility of on-site assessments of Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs). This led National Accreditation Bodies (NABs) to quickly adapt their practices by developing remote assessment techniques to maintain confidence in accredited conformity assessment activities.

National Accreditation Bodies noted the benefits and the limitations of remote assessment techniques.

The European Accreditation Cooperation (EA) published a general framework to provide guidance. The document includes the basic requirements, elements for the preparation and the conduction of the remote assessment, the reporting, and circumstances where remote assessment may not be appropriate.

Each NAB has the sole responsibility of designing the most appropriate assessment process, taking into account the phase of the accreditation cycle, the objective of the assessment, and the relevant risk factors, and ensuring that the same objectives and outcomes have been achieved. If the assessment is for initial accreditation, then the assessment will, under normal circumstances, have to include on-site elements.

Click here to read the document EA-2/21 G – Guidance on remote assessments