The COVID-19 pandemic caused a substantial shift to remote working. Organisations such as accreditation and conformity assessment bodies now provide much-needed services such as certification, inspection and testing and related accreditation activities remotely, in a dramatic shift from a preferred use of on-site techniques.
A joint IAF/ILAC/ISO survey of more than 4000 participants showed that a large majority of respondents prefer remote or blended audits, assessments, and evaluations, feel that remote activities provide as much confidence as on-site, and would like to see continued or increased use of remote activities in the future.
Respondents saw many benefits to use of remote activities during pandemic conditions including:
- Maintenance of status of recognition/ accreditation/certification – 98% felt remote activities were beneficial or somewhat beneficial
- Reduced travel time and costs: 96%
- Reduced travel risk: 95%
- Reduced environmental footprint: 95%
- Efficient use of personnel being audited/ assessed/evaluated: 87%
- Opportunity for witness activities in one or more sites/facilities: 82.5%
- Keeping to strict time/schedule of the audit/ assessment/evaluation plan: 82%
For the future
- 79% said that they would like to see blended (remote and on-site) or remote procedures used
- 80% agreed that remote procedures give the same confidence as on-site audits
- 91.5% felt that a substantial increase in remote techniques will stimulate the use of new processes
- 97.5% agreed to some extent that new technologies and alternative techniques should be used.
“Pre-pandemic work supporting the use of remote techniques, followed by the reaction of the conformity assessment community to the pandemic, has also been demonstrated in the survey results with the high level of acceptance of the wide-spread use of remote techniques. We will build on this to ensure the benefits are maintained and further enhanced where appropriate “
— Etty Feller, ILAC Chair
See full survey results here: https://bit.ly/3EuCiDZ