The NCC attended a recent virtual seminar hosted by BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and OPSS (Office for Product Safety and Standards). There were a number of questions raised by attending businesses that are relevant to members, including ones on labelling and Declarations of Conformity. Below are the resulting Q&As.
The affirmative Statutory Instrument (SI) that Government is to lay on 14 October will amend the existing Product Safety & Metrology EU Exit Amendment 2019 SI (known as “the Mega SI”). It will offer easements for a period of 24 months.
This will allow for the labelling of the product or documentation with the details, and also include a labelling option for 24 months for the UKCA marking too.
In addition, for the purposes of products already placed on the EEA market before the end of the transition period, economic operators who move individual goods to GB either from the EU or from NI, will not have to assume importer responsibilities. The same applies to economic operators moving these goods from GB to NI.
In both cases, the businesses will keep the status of the economic operator they had when the goods were first placed on the EEA or UK markets so if they were distributors, products on the market will not need to be re-labelled to show their (importer) contact details, although other requirements, such as the need to have a Responsible Person may still apply.
Q. Does the manufacturer’s address have to always be on the product?
A. The difference now is that if it is not UK based manufacturer, a UK-based address also needs to be added. However, easements have been included in the SI to allow for the details to be on accompanying documentation for a period of 24 months after the transition period ends (i.e. post 31 December 2020)
Q. Can you explain the difference between a “UK Approved Body” and a “UK recognised body” please?
A. An approved body is the new name for Notified Bodies (NBs) in the UK – to avoid confusion with the EU.
Q. Does UK NANDO = UK MCAB?
A. Yes, going forward UK Market Conformity Assessment Body (UK MCAB) will list all approved conformity assessment bodies.
Q. If a UK-based manufacturer currently uses a Notified Body based in Germany for products they sell in both the UK and EU markets, how do they ensure that any products being ‘placed on the market’ (i.e. coming through UK ports) in January 2021 can legally be placed on the market? Will UK Approved Bodies be able to issue certificates before 1 January 2021?
A. Although they won’t become approved bodies until 1 Jan 2021, testing of a product with the UK notified body can begin before then. They will then automatically become a UK approved body, and that’s how you’ll get your certificate.
Q. Can you display the EU and UK Energy label on the same product? (e.g. TVs) EU Legislation does not allow energy labels that ‘mimic’ the EU one.
A. Both versions of the energy label can be displayed, as long as the label does not mislead or confuse customers on energy consumption and usage. Therefore, if the exact same information is used in terms of grading, energy usage and testing, this would be permissible. We cannot comment upon how other EU Market Surveillance Authorities might interpret this.
Q. The requirements for placing goods on the Northern Ireland market will continue to be via CE marking after the requirement for UKCA marking applies in GB. What requirements apply in other UK territories such as the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Gibraltar etc?
A. Those issues are for them to determine. Those territories mentioned have their own legislative arrangements and are not part of the EU or subject to UK legislative requirements.
Q. Follow up question: It would be useful for Government to make it clear as industry needs to have some clarity. If the government has contacts in place that can help.
A. We will look into this and provide clarification once available.
Q. What provisions are there for UK access to RAPEX (or UK equivalent) at the end of the year, please?
A. Access to EU databases are subject to negotiations – these haven’t yet concluded. We did take a contingency measure to build the Product Safety Database for the UK. This has been live for just over a year and has positive feedback.
Some aspects of RAPEX are publicly available too.
There are adequate provisions in place for sharing information between UK regulators.
Q. Will there be a consideration now or in the future for a White Goods Repair Standard?
A. The UK is committed to having regulations in place for product safety (including second-hand products). We are also currently delivering training courses to Local Authorities to help.
Q. How will officers decide on which standard to use to determine products are safe?
A. The obligations are on manufacturers, suppliers and distributors to make sure they are supplying safe product – this is not up to officers to determine.
However, we are looking at steps’ retailers are taking in: supplying; checking products aren’t subject to recall; doing effective screen testing that suppliers of second hand good have steps in place to ensure goods are safe.
Q. Can products being exported to the EU be dual-marked or can they only have the CE mark? What is the EU’s point of view on this?
A. As long as both marks are compliant with relevant legislation, they can both go on the product. We are the UK government so cannot comment on the EU’s view.
Q. Will it be possible to produce a dual-Declaration of Conformity for products with a CE mark – i.e. one document with 2 headings (UK DoC and EU DoC) which lists both sets of legislation and standards? Or are two separate documents the only option?
A. As we leave, EU legislation will be virtually identical to the UK’s. However, as time goes on, the UK may diverge, in which case, businesses will need to comply with the UK requirements and the declaration of conformity establishes that.
Q. Will we have to refer to ‘BS’ versions of standards on declarations and labels?
A. Normally standards will be prefixed as BS, BS EN, or ETSI. The designated standards will appear on gov.uk.
Q. Manufacturers are keen to avoid any need for repeat testing / certification. Do files need to be transferred to UK Approved Bodies before 31 Dec 2020?
A. No, they don’t. The files don’t need to be transferred before 31 December 2020. We are advising businesses to speak to their notified body to arrange the transfer of their certificate of conformity.
Q. Could we have a statement now that the mechanics of UKCA marking (testing, AVCP/FPC, declaration documents, etc.) will start off as broadly the same as for the same products for CE marking? Definitive detail by product area can follow.
A. Please see our guidance on UKCA marking. Government will be sending out “letters of appointment” to UK Notified Bodies before the end of this year. This will outline their responsibilities which will be largely the same as before.