Certification news

BREXIT UPDATE – 29 OCTOBER 2019

The European Council has agreed a flexible extension to the date of the UK withdrawal from the EU, which was accepted by the UK Prime Minister yesterday. This means a new Brexit date of 31 January 2020, but with an option of entering a ‘withdrawal period’ ahead of 31 January 2020.

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20, remains the deal under consideration, the progress may be tracked here:

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20 aims to implement the following, which defines the ‘withdrawal period’:

The ‘withdrawal period’ ensures the continuation of UK Notified Bodies until a minimum of 31 December 2020, and all UK certificates (PPED, PPER, MED) may remain valid until at least the close of 31 December 2020.

Long before the close of 31 December 2020, INSPEC expects to have established INSPEC International BV as a notified body.

 

BREXIT UPDATE – 23 OCTOBER 2019

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20 has passed Second reading stage in the House of Commons, but is currently ‘paused’ as the EU has been invited to give their response to the extension request letter from the UK Government.

If an extension is given, it is expected to be until 31 January 2020 and for the purpose of allowing time for the UK to complete the Introduction and gain Royal Assent of The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20.

The stages of a Bill starting in the House of Commons may be found here:

The progress may be tracked here:

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20 aims to implement the following:

If implemented, the agreement ensures the continuation of UK Notified Bodies until a minimum of 31 December 2020. Meaning, all UK certificates issued against the Personal Protective Equipment Directive (via PPER, Art 47(2)) & Regulation, and Marine Equipment Directive may remain valid until at least the close of 31 December 2020.

Long before the close of 31 December 2020, INSPEC expects to have established INSPEC International BV as a notified body.

 

BREXIT UPDATE – 18 OCTOBER 2019

The UK Government and European Union have agreement the text of the UKs withdrawal from the European Union. It consists of an amending document to the original draft Withdrawal Agreement, and the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

Text of both documents may be found via the following links:

A vote is expected to be held within the UK Parliament on Saturday 19 October 2019, to determine if this deal is accepted by UK Parliament.

If accepted, this agreement ensures the continuation of UK Notified Bodies until a minimum of 31 December 2020. Meaning, all UK certificates issued against the Personal Protective Equipment Directive (via PPER, Art 47(2)) & Regulation, and Marine Equipment Directive may remain valid until at least the close of 31 December 2020.

 

BREXIT UPDATE – 9 SEPTEMBER 2019

The European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 received Royal Assent today, having passed through the House of Commons and then the House of Lords on Friday, 6 September 2019.

In short, this law places a legal requirement upon the UK Prime Minister to request that the current Brexit date of
31 October 2019, be postponed until 31 January 2020, where a withdrawal deal cannot be agreed by the 19 October 2019.

The draft Withdrawal Agreement does contain protections for UK Notified Bodies for a transition period. This, or a similar deal, would allow INSPEC International BV to become established as a notified body and for INSPEC International Ltd to gradually transfer certifications.

A postponed Brexit date to 31 January 2020 may also make it possible for INSPEC International BV to achieve notification by this date.

 

BREXIT UPDATE – 28 AUGUST 2019 

The UK Government is urging the European Commission to reopen Brexit talks. UK opposition parties have made clear that they do not want a ‘no-deal’ scenario for the UK.  Together, this would indicate that the UK Government and its opposition are ready and willing to accept a Withdrawal deal or Mutual Recognition Agreement with the EU. 

Industry groups such as the European Safety Federation have written to the European Commission warning of the risk to industry and users within EU-27 if any action to invalidate UK Notified Body type-examination and approval decisions is taken in the event of a ‘no-deal’. 

The European Council’s draft Withdrawal Agreement contained a framework under which Notified Bodies could transfer certification over a period of at least one year. It is understood that the draft Withdrawal Agreement remains the European Commission’s offer in negotiation, and that this framework would mitigate the risk identified by us and industry groups. 

If accepted by UK Government and Parliament, this Agreement would permit maintenance of existing type-examination and approval decisions in the UK beyond 31 October 2019, and a slow but orderly transfer of them to an EU-27 Notified Body. 

A Mutual Recognition Agreement, though unlikely at this period in the negotiation, would permit INSPEC International Ltd to retain its rights to offer Notified Body Services without need to transfer to an EU-27 Notified Body. 

While we have worked diligently to establish INSPEC International BV as a Notified Body within the Netherlands for Summer 2019, we now project that this will take longer than envisioned.  We do project that Accreditation will be gained in October/November 2019, but Notification will follow after 31 October 2019. 

Where an agreement is reached, this will present no immediate problems for continued access to either UK or EU markets.  Should the European Union invalidate UK Notified Body certificates on 1 November 2019, INSPEC International BV will not be in a position to accept transfers and provide type-examination and approval decisions until Notification is granted.

 

BREXIT UPDATE – 11 APRIL 2019 

The UK Government has accepted the EU-27 offer of an exit-date of 31 October 2019, with an option of an earlier departure should a deal be reached. It is now to be understood that, should a no-deal Brexit occur, in which Notified Bodies of the UK are not permitted to provide notified body services, the exit date will be 31 October 2019. 

We understand that the draft Withdrawal Agreement remains the position from which the EU-27 will negotiate, and UK Parliament has voted in an Act in attempt to rule out a no-deal Brexit scenario. Therefore, we believe any deal will include continued Notification for UK Notified Bodies. 

It now appears likely that INSPEC International Ltd will retain its rights to offer Notified Body Services until at least 31 October 2019, or longer should the draft Withdrawal Agreement (or similar agreement) be implemented. 

It is our intention to complete the establishment of INSPEC International BV and we are confident that we will achieve this in Summer 2019. At that time, our customers will be invited to agree to transition their PPE and Marine Equipment certifications from INSPEC International Ltd to INSPEC International BV. 

Should a deal be reached wherein the UK enters into a Mutual Recognition Agreement with the EU-27, which provides for continued UK Notified Body participation within EU product legislation, transition of certification will not be necessary and existing agreements will continue. 

We believe that the political situation is now developing into more collaborative efforts which will protect the market, and consequently that our certification and hence customers’ access to the UK and EU markets will be assured.

BREXIT UPDATE – 29 MARCH 2019

The UK Government has agreed to proceed with the short extension proposed by the EU-27 in negotiation. It is now to be understood that, should a no-deal Brexit occur, in which Notified Bodies of the UK are not permitted to provide notified body services, the exit date will be 12 April 2019. This date however, is also subject to change.

There will be extensive debates, votes and negotiation during the coming weeks, but we understand that our customers are interested in their ability to place goods on the market.                                  

Please consult the following document for the latest European Commission position on how ‘placing on the market’ may be understood: https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/34622

 

BREXIT UPDATE – 15 FEBRUARY 2019 

To date, INSPEC has been implementing Brexit contingency actions for the notified body work of the INSPEC Certification Services department – namely, personal protective equipment and marine equipment certification services. Other services such as for ISO 9001:2015 and our IC Mark, and other areas of the wider business such as testing, proficiency services and test equipment sales, are unaffected. 

In brief, INSPEC Certification Services has acted to:

  • Register INSPEC International BV in the Netherlands
  • Seek accreditation with Raad van Accreditatie (RvA), the accreditation body of the Netherlands
  • Communicated with notification authorities of the Netherlands, confirming intentions
  • Communicated with legal officers of the European Commission on preparedness and interpretation
  • Communicated with UK departments on preparedness and interpretation
  • Communicated with UK notified bodies, industry and other co-ordination groups. 

INSPEC Certification Services remains confident that we will achieve accreditation with RvA, and subsequent notification with SZW for the Personal Protective Equipment Regulation and with ILT for the Marine Equipment Directive. But we cannot be certain that all of the required processes will be completed by 29 March 2019. 

Despite the arguments within the UK Parliament, UK Industry has forcefully stated that it will not tolerate a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, and we are confident that, before the withdrawal date, agreement will be reached to permit UK notified body activities to continue during a ‘transition period’.  

The European Commission expanded upon their Notice to Stakeholders[i] with the issue of “Questions and Answers Related to the United Kingdom’s Withdrawal From the European Union With Regard to Industrial Products” dated 1 February 2019[ii]

It is our understanding that, while this document and other Notices are not legislative in the form of Decisions, Directives or Regulations, they are the negotiating position of the European Commission. 

If the principles of this guidance are applied - wherein a transition period is not agreed or an agreement concerning continued placement of goods is not reached – then, after the 29 March 2019, Type-examination and Approval decisions (certificates) issued by United Kingdom notified bodies will no longer be accepted by the EU-27 Union Market. Furthermore, in contrast to earlier positions of the European Commission, all certifications will have to be reissued by an EU-27 located notified body. 

The wider global Industry is contesting the European Commission statement that UK certificates will not be accepted post-exit, as it retrospectively nullifies Type-examination and Approval decisions taken by competent bodies, which were monitored by competent accreditation authorities under instruction from relevant authorities within the UK, historically recognised by the European Union. 

However, due to the unlikely event that the Notice to Stakeholders and Q&A is implemented post-exit, we must now explain that it is possible that INSPEC may not achieve formal notification prior to 29 March 2019 - meaning the European Commission, through the EU-27 Member States, may prevent already certified equipment being placed on the EU-27 Union Market, and our PPE and MED certification clients may be without Type-examination and Approval decisions necessary for them to issue their Declarations of Conformity. 

Either through INSPEC International Ltd or INSPEC International BV, we are committed to ensuring that INSPEC Certification Services will be able to provide you with services as a notified body. We will work with you to prepare for the transition of your certification from our UK body to our body in the Netherlands as soon as we are able. 

INSPEC will continue to monitor the Brexit situation, and will inform interested parties upon request, and in response to any significant development. Updates will also be posted on our website. 

INSPEC Certification Services 

[i] https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/industrial_products_en_1.pdf

[ii] https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/qa_brexit_industrial_products_en.pdf

The circumstances under which a client’s certification may be suspended or withdrawn are detailed below.

  • The client’s certified management system has persistently or seriously failed to meet certification requirements;
  • The certified client does not allow surveillance or recertification audits to be conducted at the required frequencies, or prior to the expiry of their certification;
  • The certified client goes into receivership, liquidation, becomes the subject of bankruptcy laws, is convicted of breaking the law of the land or acts in a disreputable manner;
  • Non-payment of fees, or
  • The client has voluntarily requested a suspension.

SUSPENSION OF CERTIFICATION
The certification manager or technical director, in conjunction with a technical panel if deemed necessary, will authorise all suspensions either imposed or voluntary and agree/set the conditions with the client for restoration. The records pertaining to suspension will be retained in the client folder. The INSPEC certificate database will be amended to reflect the suspension. Under suspension, the client’s management system/product certification is temporarily invalid. INSPEC will inform the client of their obligations under the terms of business and to refrain from further promotion of its certification or use of marks, including where applicable INSPEC’s notified body number. In the event that a client fails to meet such obligations, INSPEC will use other measures as appropriate.
Failure to resolve the issues that have resulted in suspension in a time established by INSPEC (6 months) will result in withdrawal or reduction of the scope of certification.

REDUCTION IN SCOPE
INSPEC may choose to reduce a client’s scope of certification to exclude the elements not meeting the requirements when the client has persistently or seriously failed to meet the certification requirements. All such reductions will be in line with the requirements of the standard used for certification. The certification manager will make the decision to reduce the scope of certification and a record will be retained. The certificate database will be updated to reflect the reduction in scope. Where a reduction in scope affects product certification and the ability to apply CE marking, the client will be advised in writing of the constraints by clearly communicating the reduced scope of certification and updating all certification documents.

WITHDRAWAL OF CERTIFICATION
The decision to withdraw certification will be taken by the certification manager or technical director in conjunction with a technical panel if required, and a record kept. Upon notice of withdrawal, the client will be directed to discontinue its use of all advertising matter that contains any reference to certified status, discontinue the use of marks and where applicable the use of the INSPECs notified body number. In the event that the client fails to meet such obligations, INSPEC will use other measures as appropriate.

RESTORATION OF CERTIFICATION
Restoration of a suspended certificate can only take place after all issues have been resolved and verification of such resolution (audit/testing/other) has been undertaken within 6 months from the original suspension. Where scope of certification has been reduced instead of complete suspension of a certificate, this too can be restored following issue resolution and, where appropriate, an audit or testing/other method of evaluation has taken place to confirm and verify resolution. In all cases a certification decision will be recorded.

For use by companies whose certification is covered by INSPEC's UKAS accreditation.

The mark may only be used on company stationery, literature, brochures etc and only in association with the production or service capability covered by a valid certificate and schedule.

The mark shall not be used on vehicles, buildings, flags, calibration certificates, test certificates or similar.   Where any doubt about restrictions exists, reference shall be made to INSPEC.

There are no restrictions as to the form of the mark providing it is easily distinguishable and is a faithful reproduction, with a minimum height of 24 mm. However, in exceptional circumstances, a reduction in height is possible, but the mark must remain legible at all times. Exceptional circumstances include space limitation and cost.

The mark shall be produced in a single colour, which should be the predominant ink colour of the document or letterhead.

The company's certificate number shall be applied in direct association with the mark, together with the relevant standard number.

The proportions and form of the mark will be provided at the application stage and are available upon request.

The mark may only be used on stationery where the address is that of the certified site or a qualifying statement is included in the case of general stationery.

If a company wishes to make reference to the quality management system on products or packaging, then the following phrase is permissible "Products manufactured within a quality management system accepted by INSPEC".

If the scope of certification is reduced or cancelled, for whatever reason, company stationery, literature, brochures etc bearing incorrect references and claims shall not be used.

The mark may not be used on, or in direct association with, products, product packaging or similar in such a way that certification by INSPEC of the product(s) themselves may be implied.

Any use of the mark that is unacceptable to INSPEC must cease immediately.


Requests for information regarding INSPEC clients should be received in writing. Upon request, INSPEC will only provide information already in the public domain or confirm the status of a client’s certification as being: valid, current, suspended, reduced or withdrawn.

All other information will be kept confidential and not disclosed to third parties without the written consent of the client, unless required to do so by law, and in such cases, the client shall, unless prohibited by law, be notified of the information provided.