» Letter to Stack Emissions Monitoring Organisations

04 March, 2012

Unannounced Visits to Accredited Stack Emissions Monitoring (SEM) Organisations

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service has been providing accreditation to stack emissions monitoring organisations for many years, and in 2002, the scope of this was expanded to include the Environment Agency’s MCERTS scheme. UKAS accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 for MCERTS has, and continues to, provide confidence to both the Environment Agency and customers of SEM organisations.

One of the assessment tools available to UKAS, as detailed in section 1.5 of the UKAS agreement, is the use of unannounced visits. These can be used as an integral part of the accreditation cycle to provide additional information about the day-to-day operation of accredited organisations or in response to serious concerns being raised about a particular organisation. Customers and regulators of accredited organisations have indicated that they consider unannounced visits a valuable but underutilised assessment tool, which they would like to see used more regularly by UKAS.

UKAS is intending to carry out a pilot exercise to make more use of unannounced visits within our current programme of visits to accredited stack emissions monitoring organisations. It is anticipated that these visits will be conducted during an 18-month trial period starting from 1 st March 2007, although this will be reviewed near the end of this period with a view to extending it further, if necessary. Unannounced visits will focus primarily on technical issues and the witnessing of tests, however management system elements may also be assessed.

To help facilitate this approach, organisations may be requested to provide UKAS with information regarding planned accredited activities. The frequency of any updates to this information and the period for which they will need to be supplied will be communicated upon initial request.

The following information will need to be included as a minimum on programmes of work submitted to UKAS:

  • Date(s) of site visit
  • Site Name and Address
  • Site Contact
  • Sampling and/or Testing to be conducted
  • Whether work is planned to be ISO/IEC 17025 or ISO/IEC 17025 plus MCERTS
  • Any specific requirements for access to the site

It should not, however, be assumed that an organisation that has not been asked to submit its programme of work will not be selected to receive an unannounced visit.

We thank you for your cooperation in this matter, if you have any queries or comments please contact: Jeff Ruddle (Accreditation Manager) Tel: 0208 9178519 email: jeff.ruddle@ukas.com