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Technical Assessors News November 2017

In this issue:

ISO/IEC 17025 Revision
- Annual General Meeting
- NATA Celebrates 70 years
- New premises for Adelaide Office
Training calendar for 2018 and ISO 15189 Expression of Interest
-
 Technical Assessors Honoured


ISO/IEC 17025 Revision

NATA is pleased to announce that a positive vote on the Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) of ISO/IEC 17025 has been received.  It has been approved by 99% of voting members in ISO and 100% of voting members in IEC.  

In the next few weeks, editorial comments submitted during the ballot will be addressed and necessary editorial changes will be made. Following this, the ISO production team will work on the finalisation of the Standard and prepare the draft for publication.  It is understood ISO is aiming to publish the Standard by the end of November 2017.

Standards Australia will adopt the Standard as an Australian version once the ISO version is released.  The timing of this, however, cannot be confirmed at this stage.

NATA is in the process of finalising its implementation policy and gap analysis documents.  These will be released following the publication of the ISO version.  It is important for all interested stakeholders to note there will be a transition period of a few months whereby accredited facilities can become familiar with the new Standard before assessments are conducted against it.  

The details will be contained in the implementation policy but it will follow that seen with the release of the new ISO 17034 standard for Reference Material Producers.  NATA Policy Circular 49 Implementation of ISO 17034:2016 in NATA's Reference Material Producers accreditation program is available on the NATA website for anyone interested in seeing what the ISO/IEC 17025 policy will look like.

In late September 2017, Members and Technical Assessors were sent a short survey to complete seeking an expression of interest for participation in information sessions in the first quarter of 2018.  We thank those Members and Technical Assessors who took the time to complete the survey as the responses received will assist NATA in sourcing appropriate venues in which to hold these meetings.  Details regarding these information sessions will be released in the near future.

As always, keep an eye on the NATA website for further updates.

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Annual General Meeting

Our Annual General Meeting was held at our Sydney office on 11 October.

The Board and staff welcomed Members who attended in person as well as those who took advantage of the webinar option.  

In addition to regular business, Members passed a Special Resolution to amend clauses 23.3 and 23.4 of the Constitution to replace stakeholder organisation nominees with Board nominated candidates for three of the four positions on the Board.  

The NATA Rules are being updated accordingly and will be published soon.

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NATA celebrates 70 years!

In February 1947, the world's first national laboratory accreditation system was established in Australia. 

NATA has grown and flourished from those early days and we have cemented our place as a world leader in the provision of accreditation and related services. 

A key part of this success is our pool of volunteer Technical Assessors. Their expertise, along with the use of technical advisory committees and industry driven evaluation criteria, ensure that NATA remains current and relevant.

While proudly acknowledging our past achievements, NATA’s vision is firmly fixed on the future.

By maintaining regular contacts with Commonwealth and State governments and industry representatives, we will continue to ensure our staff and programs are as up-to-date as possible using the best practice methodology to ensure we deliver excellent service to our Members and Stakeholders.

As part of our 70th Anniversary celebrations, we have put together some information on our history which includes a timeline and a video which can also be viewed on our YouTube channel.

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New premises for Adelaide office

NATA’s Adelaide office recently re-located to new premises. 

The new office is located at:

Level 1
203 Fullarton Road
Eastwood  SA  5063
Phone:  (08) 8179 3400
Fax:      (08) 8179 3499

Susan Harry, State Manager for South Australia and Northern Territory, was pleased with the smooth transition and that the disruption to staff, Members and Technical Assessors was minimal

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Training calendar for 2018 and ISO 15189 Expression of Interest 

NATA’s Training Services Group (TSG) has just released the calendar dates for 2018.

The calendars can be downloaded from our website as a National calendar across all States and Territories or for individual areas.

TSG is also expanding its course portfolio to offer more training choices to our Members and Stakeholders. 

The first of these new courses is an online version of Understanding NATA’s ISO 15189 – Accreditation Requirements for Medical Laboratories.

The launch date is still some weeks away but if your facility is assessed against the ISO 15189 Standard and you’d like to be one of the first to know when the online course is released, send your Expression of Interest to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Further details of new courses will be released in 2018.

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Technical Assessors Honoured

NATA is grateful for the knowledge and experience of its 3,000 volunteer Technical Assessors who support the provision of services to Members and the community. We profiled three of our dedicated Technical Assessors in this year's Annual Report. They are:

AGNES TAN

Agnes Tan’s career began as a food technologist at the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries in New Zealand. A brief role as a factory chemist with Henry Jones Pty Ltd in Port Melbourne gave her an insight into complex industrial operations before she moved to the University of Melbourne where she remained for almost 30 years as the Senior Scientist in Primary Investigations. This unique role allowed Agnes to combine laboratory and on-site investigations of food borne outbreaks. She then moved into the role of Senior Scientist in Quality which allowed her to focus on accreditation and compliance management. It was during this period that the laboratory became the first facility to be accredited to the Forensic Operations Module (FOM).

Agnes currently operates her own consultancy but combines this with being a Sessional Lecturer at Monash and Melbourne Universities, Chairing a number of high level Standards Australia committees including FT020-01 Legionella and FT035 Food Microbiology and Chairing NATA’s Biological Testing Accreditation Advisory Committee. 

Agnes has represented Standards Australia at the ISO TC34/SC9 Food Microbiology Plenary meetings since 2007 as Head of Delegation and has been recognised with their Outstanding Service (Community & Materials) Award.

She is also sought after as an Assessor for the Singapore Accreditation Council and as a Technical Expert for International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ).

Of her early days, Agnes recalls being mentored by Dr Jos Forsyth and Dr Geoff Hogg (NATA’s current Chair). She began as a Technical Assessor in 1981 and remembers that during her training, she was part of the team observing an assessment by the late Professor Nancy Millis.

In their nomination, staff mentioned that she was very thorough, had extremely in-depth knowledge and was very modest - this was borne out by her absolute surprise at this nomination.

Agnes looks forward to continuing her work with NATA and the broader accreditation community both in Australia and internationally.

 

GAVIN ROSE

When Gavin became a Technical Assessor in 2001 he brought with him almost four decades of experience in the field of chemistry.

This experience was gathered from roles in the Chemical Residue and Environmental Labs in Wollongbar; as Senior Research Scientist (Organic Chemistry) for the Department of Environment and Primary Industries and continues now as Research Fellow, with the Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification and Management (CAPIM), Melbourne University. Gavin is also the resident residue chemist providing advice and management of chemical analysis for CAPIM projects.

Often the assessments Gavin takes part in are in food and environmental testing laboratories but he also helps out with nutrient and metal testing. 

Gavin recalls that a highlight of his role as Technical Assessor was a visit to Ho Chi Minh City in 2013 with Des Hadjmichael of NATA’s Sydney office, to assess Vietnam’s National Measurement Institute for ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation. It was clear this accreditation was critical to Vietnam being able to verify the residue status of its exported products and assist the country’s economic development. 

In the nomination, staff mentioned Gavin’s incredible depth of knowledge and generosity in sharing that knowledge. This, combined with his open and collaborative manner, allows him to successfully undertake even the most difficult and complex assessments.

In his spare time, Gavin enjoys spending time with his grandchildren in Brisbane and Sydney and on his macadamia orchard south of Byron Bay. He also keeps fit by training to race several triathlons every year and has also run two half marathons in the last year with his oldest daughter.

 

JOHN McKENNA

John McKenna’s career began as an apprentice fitter and cadet chemist with NSW Government Railways. 

He worked his way through industry as State Manager for SGS in Western Australia, Associate Professor at the University of Technology, Papua New Guinea (PNG) to Superintendent of Occupational Hygiene & Environmental Chemistry with Bougainville Copper Ltd and finally as Chief Scientist for Placer Dome in the Porgera Gold Mine in PNG, a role he held until his retirement in April 2004.

Retirement for many people means taking things a little easier. However, this was not the case for John who began his own consultancy company. As Principal Consultant, he has since carried out audits and projects around the world including West Africa, Thailand, China, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates and most recently in Laos. 

Because of his extensive experience and wide range of competencies, John has completed hundreds of assessments as a NATA Technical Assessor since he began in 1970.  Nominees all mentioned that John’s opinion is highly respected and that he has a pleasant and down-to-earth manner which sets everyone at ease. 

It hasn’t been all scientific pursuits as John has also served as President of a Rotary branch and is currently a volunteer tour guide at a Chinese Temple. 

Future options are to keep visiting China and perhaps teach English there, to help others pursuing scientific matters and to be more attentive to his farm. 

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