The outbreak of Coronavirus at the end of 2019 and the resultant global pandemic has had an impact on almost all types of activity, including conformity assessment. In May 2020, the Strategic Alliance and Regulatory Group of ISO's committee on conformity assessment (CASCO/STAR) surveyed those working in conformity assessment to understand their challenges related to COVID-19.

The findings from the survey have been compiled into a document that should prove useful to anybody who works in conformity assessment and is facing challenges related to COVID-19.

CASCO/STAR COVID-19 SURVEY

CASCO/STAR surveyed those working in conformity assessment to understand their challenges related to COVID-19.

Main areas covered by the CASCO/STAR survey

The feedback presented covers two main areas.

  1. Maintaining business continuity.

  2. Carrying out on-site activities remotely.

The report presents the main conclusions from the survey, as well as some of the concerns and responses that it revealed, and in particular how these relate to both business continuity and remote activities. 

We've also compiled a selection of useful resources

ABOUT THIS PAGE

This page is a mean of sharing common challenges and good practices within the conformity assessment community in relation to the COVID-19 situation. The information reflects the views and experience of the CASCO/STAR members (names and locations have been removed to protect the identity of the parties).
New information and resources are to be submitted to CASCO/Secretariat (casco@iso.org) and will be considered for inclusion by the CASCO/STAR maintenance group.
 

1. Business continuity

The speed and scale of the COVID-19 outbreak caught many businesses off-guard. Few businesses were adequately prepared for impacts to conformity assessment activities across all parts of the supply chain down to the level of individual  products. Risks were also identified for services, operating processes and systems.  Feedback from the Survey indicates a variety of responses and tools that can be used to keep businesses up and running in difficult times.

Good practice identified by the survey

Survey responses have identified business continuity good practice in the following main areas.

  • Communication and procedures, highlighting the importance of stakeholders.
  • ITC, techniques and tools, including remote work procedures.
  • The use of standards for proficiency testing.

For the full findings, consult the CASCO/STAR survey.

We've also compiled a selection of useful resources.


2. Remote activities

Remote activities are understood as activities within the process of conformity assessment or accreditation, which do not require the physical presence of the assessing personnel at the site of the object of assessment.

Remote activities are mainly used as determination activities, but can contribute to all functions of conformity assessment. Remote activities can include virtual meetings,  web-based document review, remote auditing, assessing and evaluating by ICT, review and decision making by electronic communication, e-learning or webinars.

good practice and operating environment

The Survey identified areas that are challenging with regard to remote activities, and have identified good practice for a variety of remote activity scenarios.

With regard to remote activity, the finding are grouped into the following main areas.

  • Electronic tools, mainly information and communication technology. 
  • Awareness and oversight, covering measures to minimize risk and provide reliable results.
  • Organising remote activities, the challenges encountered, and ways of adapting

A list that examines the the limitations and threats regarding remote activities is also provided in the findings.

For the full findings, consult the CASCO/STAR report.

We've also compiled a selection of useful resources.