UKAS believes that continued membership of EA brings huge benefits to UKAS accredited bodies and to the UK, mainly through the EA Multilateral Agreement, MLA, which delivers recognition across the European region outside the regulated space. It also enables UKAS to continue to be a signatory to the mutual recognition arrangements operated by ILAC and IAF, providing our customers with worldwide coverage. From 2022, UKAS will continue as an EA ‘Category B’ member, with a reduction in certain rights, such as the ability to vote on issues that impact on the EU and its single market.
The EA General Assembly vote decided that membership categories will be changed from ‘Full’ and ‘Associate’ members to categories A-D (Category A equating to the former full membership). UKAS will retain its full status until the revised Articles of Association come into effect at the beginning of 2022 at which point it will become a ‘Category B’ member.
The main differences between Category A and B members are as follows:
Category B members cannot:
- Be EA President or Vice President
- Sit on the EA Exec Board (this restriction for Cat B members will be reviewed in five years following an EA resolution)
- Chair the Multilateral Agreement Council (MAC)
- Chair the EA Horizontal Harmonisation Committee
- Vote on any changes to the Articles of Association or the associated Rules of Procedure
- Vote on disbanding the EA
- Vote on any issue directly related to the EU e.g. regulation or anything that impacts the EU
Category B members can:
- Chair Technical Committees (e.g. inspection, certification, testing committees)
- Sit on the Technical Management Board (Kevin Belson from UKAS currently sits on this as the Chair of the Certification Committee)
- Vote on issues not related to the EU or the single market, with the exception of those highlighted above
- Be a member of the Multilateral Agreement Council (MAC)
- Be a member of all Committees, including the Horizontal Harmonisation Committee
Despite the restrictions from UKAS’ changed membership status, the reputation and status of UKAS as one of the world’s leading accreditation bodies means the organisation will remain an important and influential EA member. The existing membership of different committees including UKAS’ chairmanship of the influential Certification Committee means that UKAS will remain in a strong position to represent the interests of our customers and broader stakeholders.