» Preparing to apply for an Extension to Scope
Many accredited organisations apply for an extension to scope, often in response to new customer requirements or changing regulations. In order to ensure that your extension to scope application is managed in the most efficient and timely manner, there are steps that accredited organisations can take to prepare effectively to ensure that any assessment runs smoothly:
- Consider when you need to apply for an Extension to Scope;
- Make contact with UKAS in advance of applying to discuss your requirement and timescales;
- Prepare for the assessment and produce the documentation and information needed to support the application;
- Ensure the application is clear and supporting documentation clearly labelled and referenced.
- Knowing when you need to apply for an extension to scope
If your organisation requires any addition or change to your accreditation schedule you will need to apply for an extension to scope. This falls into three distinct areas:
- Adding a new activity to your schedule of accreditation (e.g. a new method, sector code or scheme)
- Changing an existing activity on your schedule of accreditation (e.g. for a revised version of a standard/scheme or a new technique for an existing method)
- Adding a new location
It is recommended that your organisations senior management are made aware of the circumstances in which an extension to scope will be required, such that they can take the time scales of the process into account when making decisions regarding the business.
- Make early contact with UKAS in advance of applying
It is highly recommended to make early contact with your Assessment Manager to discuss your requirements, even if you frequently apply for extensions to scope. Your first contact for this discussion should be your Assessment Manager, but if they are not available then the Accreditation Manager responsible for the section in which you are managed can be a useful contact point.
This will enable UKAS to advise you on any specific requirements that may apply to your application, as there are often varying requirements across sector schemes and different technical areas. In parallel, UKAS will look at the available resources and outline the likely timeframes for the work.
- Preparing your organisation and producing the documentation and information
At the point of application, your organisation should be in a position to be assessed, having considered and implemented the required policies and procedures for the activity for which you are seeking accreditation. UKAS will assess the implementation within your management system, and not planned or intended work.
The extension to scope application forms provide guidance as to what supporting documentation /evidence will be required. UKAS will assess the extension to confirm that:
- The new activity is adequately and clearly documented within the management system
- Staff have been trained and objectively demonstrated competence for the activity
- Potential impacts on independence and impartiality from the new activity have been considered
- The new activity has been designed and developed to determine its fitness for purpose
- Specifically for Laboratories:
- The equipment has been calibrated and determined as suitable for the method
- The method has been validated/verified, with uncertainty and traceability of measurement determined
- Reference Materials have been used to validate/verify the method and participation in relevant Proficiency Testing
- Consideration has been given to how the method will be quality controlled on an on-going basis
- Specifically for new locations:
- Consideration has been given to how the new location will be managed and controlled by the head office and what if any contractual agreements are in place
- Consideration has been determined that the new location and its staff are operating in accordance with the organisations management system
- The facilities are appropriate for the activities being performed
By addressing the above issues and by providing documentation or information with your application will ensure that UKAS has all information to hand to facilitate the assessment of your application.
- Ensure your application is clear and well cross-referenced
By addressing the questions above, your application is likely to produce a reasonable amount of documentation or information to send to UKAS. To assist UKAS assess the application efficiently it is advised that:
- The application is clear – state clearly the area for which you are seeking accreditation, including specific standards/schemes and versions, in addition to the specific methods and equipment you wish to appear on your schedule. Should UKAS need to seek clarification, this may delay the application.
- The application is well cross referenced – clearly label documents clearly e.g. ‘Staff Competence Records, Method Validation Data) so that the assessor can identify where specific items are in the documentation pack will save time and cut delays in the process. If you submit a larger all-encompassing document (e.g. your quality manual) that address a number of points, please indicate where relevant information to the extension can be found within the document.