With NATA’s long-standing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Commonwealth Government, NATA is considered Australia’s national authority for many of the programs it provides.
One of NATA’s undertakings as part this MOU, is to retain its signatory status to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation [ILAC] Mutual Recognition Arrangement [MRA].
To do this, NATA needs to comply with ISO/IEC 17011 Conformity assessment — Requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies, along with relevant ILAC policies.
This ongoing compliance with 17011 is demonstrated through an evaluation of its accreditation operations by the Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation [APAC], which is the regional body under ILAC.
Every 4-years APAC undertakes an on-site evaluation – similar to a NATA member assessment – of NATA’s compliance with 17011.
This evaluation is conducted by expert peers from other accreditation bodies that are signatories to the APAC MRA and who are qualified by APAC to undertake these evaluations.
NATA’s evaluation will take place March 6 to 10 of 2023 and will be conducted out of NATA’s Victorian office.
The evaluation team consists of seven peer evaluators from the Asia Pacific region. It includes in-office activities as well as on-site witnessing of NATA assessments at member facilities across the range of accreditation programs NATA offers.
As part of this assessment, NATA is seeking to have the scope of its recognition under the APAC MRA extended to cover Biobanking at this evaluation.
Assessment review and evaluation
At the end of the evaluation, a report will be provided to NATA by the evaluation team where compliance or non-compliance with each clause of 17011 will be documented.
NATA will then need to respond to any non-conformances (NC) within a set timeframe.
After the evaluation team is satisfied any NCs have been satisfactorily addressed, the report is submitted to a review panel within APAC.
Once the review panel is satisfied, a ballot of APAC full members will be conducted as to whether NATA’s MRA signatory status should be continued and extended to cover Biobanking.
After a successful ballot, NATA’s signatory status under the APAC and ILAC MRA’s continues for another four-year cycle.
This process ensures we assess and accredit our Members to the highest global standard.