News

SRLA and NAFP Expert Group Meeting

The Southern African Development Community Accreditation Service (SADCAS) is pleased to announce that the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) for SADC Regional Laboratory Association (SRLA) will take place during October 2018 and is intended to promote collaboration with the SADC Regional Laboratory Association (SRLA) and the National Accreditation Focal Points (NAFPs) in order to pave the way for UNIDO’s project entitled ‘Strengthening SADC Sustainable Quality Infrastructure System’.

BACKGROUND

The focus is to strengthen the capacity of food and water testing laboratories.

By strengthening the NLAs through a harmonized approach developed by the SRLA, the NLAs will be capable to disseminate knowledge and provide conformity assessment services to testing laboratories, thereby contribute to SADC region’s quality infrastructure development and export performance.

The SRLA members have been participating in the Test and Measurement Conference (T&MC) organized by NLA-South Africa (NLA-SA) since 2012. The 2018 Test and Measurement Conference: “Turning a new leaf in measurement science and quality assurance” aims to update and support laboratory personnel in the SADC region on new developments in the world of measurement science.  As accredited testing and calibration laboratories are preparing for the change over from ISO/IEC 17025:2005 to the newly published ISO/IEC 17025:2017, the move towards a more risk based approach in line with ISO 9001, among other changes will be highlighted during the Conference. Furthermore, the new standard for the competence of reference material producers, i.e. ISO 17034:2016, new edition of ISO/IEC 17011:2017 for accreditation bodies and supplementary documents for the Guide to Expression of Uncertainty of Measurement (GUM) will be discussed during this event.

In March 2018 at the SADC SQAM meetings in Johannesburg, SADCAS, SRLA and UNIDO agreed to partner together to strengthen the laboratories in the SADC region to obtain accreditation from SADCAS, taking in to account conflict of interest issues. The proposed way forward is to encourage National Accreditation Focal Points (NAFPs) (Government employees who are tasked with promotion of accreditation and marketing of SADCAS as the accreditation body) and the Member State National Laboratory Associations (MS-NLAs) (members of SRLA) to collaborate to identify the laboratories within the region who have started the accreditation process and also those who have expressed interest in starting the process. This will also contribute to ensuring the sustainability of SADCAS.

MEETING DATES AND VENUES

The following meetings will take place:

T&M Conference and Workshop (SRLA)

Date: 8-10 October 2018

Venue: Lord Charles Hotel and Conference venue, Somerset West, Western Cape, South Africa

NAFP preparatory meeting

Date: 10 October 2018

Venue: The National Laboratory Association South Africa, 1 De Havilland Crescent, Persequor Technopark, Pretoria, South Africa

SRLA/NAFP joint meeting

Date: 11-13 October 2018

Venue: The National Laboratory Association South Africa, 1 De Havilland Crescent, Persequor Technopark, Pretoria, South Africa

MEETING OBJECTIVES

The EGM aims to bring together UNIDO representatives from all the SADC Member State Associations and the SRLA in the following ways:

Test and Measurement Conference (T&MC):

  • To raise awareness, update and support NLA’s/laboratory personnel on new developments in the world of measurement science, changes related to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 which is following a risk based approach in line with ISO 9001 etc. 17034:2016 a new standard for the competence of reference material producers and, 17011:2017 a new standard for accreditation bodies.

 NAFP Preparatory Meeting

  • Annual NAFP meeting – identification of potential avenues of cooperation and final preparation of presentations per member state.

UNIDO Project

  1. SRLA Coordination Meeting
  • Reflection on progress made in previous year
  • Progress made on strategic and business plan
  • Discussion on how the regional and national microbiology training went.
  • Present survey results from Laboratory Assessment Tool 2018 and the key areas of technical assistance areas identified.
  • Discuss the website which will be hosted by NLA-SA
  • Discuss potential venues of cooperation with NAFPs
  • Agree upon way forward
  1. SRLA-NAFP Meeting
  • Kick-start the collaboration between NAFPs, SRLA and UNIDO
  • Agree upon key areas of cooperation, activities and deliverables for the next 6 months.
  • Define clear roles and responsibilities of NAFPs and NLAs in the project
  • Agree upon way forward, timeline and deliverables.