Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Questions (299)

Alan Kelly


299. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the correspondence between her Department and INAB in 2018 and to date in 2019. [39457/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB) is the national body with responsibility for the accreditation of laboratories, certification bodies and inspection bodies. INAB was established in 1985. The functions of INAB include the provision of accreditation in accordance with the relevant International Organisation for Standardisation ISO 17000 series of standards and guides.

INAB is the sole national accreditation body for Ireland as appointed under EU Regulation 765/2008. The provision of the accreditation service for Irish enterprises is managed by the INAB executive and over seen by the INAB Board with the support of externally contracted expertise. INAB acts independently in carrying out its accreditation roles.

Following the dissolution of Forfás in June 2014 INAB became a committee of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).

The primary nature of contact between Departmental officials and INAB officials is related to the appointment of Notified Bodies. My Department is the Notifying Authority for the conformity assessment of certain products being placed on the EU internal market. If a Conformity Assessment Body applies to my Department to be appointed as a Notified Body under certain EU Directives (see attached at Appendix 1) then the Department seeks confirmation from INAB officials that the Conformity Assessment Body has received accreditation from INAB. This arises only in relation to accreditation provided by INAB to a Conformity Assessment Body under a specific number of EU Directives and it is in this context that my Department would seek information from INAB on individual accreditations.

However, it should be noted that the Department has no role in relation to decisions made by INAB as to who should be accredited and/or how the accreditation process should be conducted by INAB as INAB carries out this role independently.

In addition, officials from my Department have been in regular contact with INAB officials for the last few years in relation to matters concerning accreditation processes in the context of Brexit. INAB officials have participated in a number of publicity events organised by my Department, and other Departments, in order to highlight the potential impact of Brexit on Irish businesses who currently use UK based accreditation services.

Other interactions between officials from my Departments concerning INAB include interaction with the HSA on the financing and staffing of INAB in the context of the overall operational management and staffing of the HSA.

INAB is also a member of the Market Surveillance Forum, an inter-Departmental/Agency forum, chaired by my Department, involving all the Market Surveillance Authorities within the State in addition to other relevant stakeholders, this forum meets on a quarterly basis.

Given the above the Deputy will appreciate it is not possible to account for each individual exchange of correspondence for the period requested by the Deputy in this reply.

However, if the Deputy has a particular topic in mind, my Department will be pleased to assist him.