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Ensuring the Measurement, Testing, Inspection and Certification sector is able to continue supporting the UK response to COVID-19

Our members test, audit, inspect and certify the conformity of pharmaceutical and medical laboratories, as well as the manufacturers of medical devices and protective equipment, according to the corresponding legislation and relevant international standards. This includes PPE, masks, respirators and medical equipment.

In addition, our members test, audit, inspect and certify essential sectors of industrial production and transport, such as drinking water, food, consumer products and commodities. They also audit critical infrastructures, such as refineries, power plants, pipelines and fuel stations. Our members support the continuity of critical functioning of international supply chains for essential products, in safe conditions for both employees and the general public.

Our sector has made great strides adapting to the challenges presented by the current circumstances; however, there remain a number of areas where the UK Government could act.

Under normal circumstances some of our member companies would undergo re-assessment, re-accreditation and re certification during this period to relevant standards and schemes. At present it is not possible to continue to extend certain certificates / accreditations, which would have expired during the restriction period.

In some instances, the current regulatory framework is unnecessarily restrictive, for example in the use of remote methods. As a result, several member companies cannot deliver their services and their clients cannot continue with their operation.

In this context, we kindly request you to provide a derogation to:

  • Automatically extend the certification / accreditation of companies on the same terms as their current scheme until at least the 1st September 2020 if their present certification/ accreditation expires on or after the 1st March 2020.
  • Address the disturbance in accreditation activities during the outbreak, so that conformity assessment bodies can continue providing services.
  • Ensure that the legislative framework allows and promotes virtual and remote activities to minimise unnecessary travel and site visits.
  • Ensure that the Measurement, Testing, Inspection and Certification sector is part of the plan for re-establishing business continuity after the crisis.

Our members are a critical part of the supply chain ensuring quality and safety and remain fully committed to providing our sector’s expertise to help address the COVID-19 health crisis and support the UK Government in meeting the challenge.

We remain ready to discuss our suggestions and your proposals.

Yours sincerely,

Greg Ward
BMTA Secretary General
T: 01732 897452