YIR 2021: Summary and Highlights
Singapore Accreditation Council Year In Review 2021: Summary and Highlights
The Year In Review (YIR) event was held jointly by the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) and Singapore Standards Council (SSC) on 27 September 2021. Together with SAC and SSC, Enterprise Singapore has been spearheading the development of quality frameworks in Singapore, including both standards and accreditation programmes. Quality and Standards continues to play an integral role in supporting the needs of industries, and helping businesses connect to the world.
The introduction of the Singapore Standard (SS) 661: Specification for Clean and Green Urban Farms was announced at the event. The standard, developed by SSC and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), sets guidelines to minimise contaminants in food production and sustainable practices on resource and waste management in urban farms. SAC also announced its development of a new accreditation programme to ensure independent Certification Bodies competently assess and recognise farms that meet SS 661 requirements. To better illustrate how quality frameworks are applied to support real-world needs, urban farm ComCrop was invited to showcase its operations and how it has worked towards meeting the requirements of the Clean and Green Urban Farms standard.
Additionally, through Singapore’s involvement in the international standards and accreditation fora over the years, this has aided us in cross-sharing of knowledge with international and regional counterparts towards the development of new standards and accreditation programmes. Firstly, it would help us gain awareness of emerging trends and anticipate new needs. Secondly, it would help our SMEs connect to global markets. As signatory members of IAF, ILAC and APAC’s Mutual Recognition Arrangements, or MRAs, our SMEs can expedite the time it takes to export their products and services, removing the need to retest or re-certify.
Ms Choy Sauw Kook, Director-General (Quality & Excellence), Enterprise Singapore noted that, “Consensus building is key when standards and accreditation programmes are developed at the international and regional levels. The stakeholders have their own priorities and diverse needs and they come together to agree on programmes that will impact businesses globally. When Singapore is represented at these levels, we have a stake in developing them and can seek clarity or include details and specifications to support our hub status and centre for innovation.”
In 2021, accreditation programmes are mainly centred around Digitalisation, Sustainability, and Resilience, as enterprises recognised the importance of strengthening quality and trust in products and services. Accreditation in the field of Digitalisation supports industries in their transformation and digitalisation journeys, by adopting digital tools which are secure and reliable to conduct businesses. As such, assurance is especially critical in areas such as data privacy and cybersecurity. For example, to address needs in the construction sector where there is an increasing adoption of technology and automation, SAC is in the midst of developing a programme to enhance the assurance of conducting building façade inspections using drones with artificial intelligence.
Accreditation also seeks to build the relevant infrastructure and skills to address the increasing emphasis on Sustainability. Apart from the Clean and Green standard and its guidelines, SAC raises consumer confidence and trust by ensuring that all certification bodies adopt the relevant competencies, knowledge, and processes in alignment with international standards when conducting assessments. Lastly, as the COVID-19 situation remains fluid, businesses have discovered the importance of being resilient and adaptable to change. Accreditation programmes support our economy and assist businesses in building capabilities by enabling them to execute cutting edge research & development, whilst maintaining quality infrastructure and standards.
Mr Tan Kai Hoe, Chairman of the Singapore Accreditation Council, said, “For consumers and businesses to trust what they buy and use, they must be certain that regulators and industries are equally committed to comply with internationally recognised and peer reviewed best practices. They must also be sure that there are quality infrastructure, enterprise capabilities, a skilled and experienced workforce to safeguard these best practices. One cannot exist without the other. That is why Quality and Standards are considered twin pillars that support Singapore’ economic growth. It will be even more important to industries, in this post COVID business environment as business prioritise transparency and accountability across supply chains to achieve sustainable and resilient outcomes.”
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