Report from PfQ Meeting on 23rd April, 2018 in Munich
B. Ilievski (MK), Chair EPPC Subcommittee Quality
The annual EPO-/epi Partnership for Quality Meeting between EPO/epi took place in main EPO building on 23rd April. The meeting was held as part of the 'Quality for Partnership' program, a continuous dialogue between the epi and the EPO by means of which both organizations exchange their views and update each other on quality matters.
The delegation from the epi was composed by some EPPC chairs and members of the EPPC quality-committees and was headed by the EPPC Chair Chris Mercer and Chair of Quality Sub-Committee Bogoljub Ilievski. The delegation from the EPO included Directors from Operational Support and Legal/International Affairs and was headed by Vice-President Raimund Lutz.
The meeting opened with an overview of the EPO's recent structural re-organization. The participants welcomed the merger of the EPO's User Support and Quality Management departments with the objective to reinforce the link between user needs, EPO services and quality. These measures have all contributed to a steady increase in the users' satisfaction with the searches (74% in 2011, 83% in 2017), examinations (71% in 2011, 76% in 2017) and the services offered by formalities officers (74% in 2011, 89% in 2017).
Further presentations covered ongoing quality improvement measures and efforts to improve timeliness. EPO also informed about numerous developments as Data acquisition, Classification, Search and documentation tools, Translation options.
The epi delegation expressed appreciation for the EPO's commitment to practical engagement with the user community, particularly the in-depth exchanges with EPO legal and operational experts. Participants also congratulated the EPO on its recent ISO 9001:2015 recertification and complimented the Office on its first ever Quality Report. The second Quality report was published on 19.06.2018 and can be already found on the EPO website.
On the other side, the EPO highly stressed the importance of user feedback, remarking the valuable contributions provided by the epi in this regard. The epi welcomed the opportunity to discuss further enhancements and seize the occasion to encourage its members to make use of the feedback mechanisms and bring their input.
As the meeting also aimed to address users' needs, a large part of time was devoted to discussing points raised by the epi delegation and concerns the timeliness, user satisfaction survey and 9-12-15 plan and early certainty that may put more pressure on examiner work and can affect the quality. The quality issues anonymously raised by some epi members were also discussed.
User feedback is a core element of the EPO's Quality Management System (QMS). It supports informed decision-making and enables EPO management to better understand which areas of the EPO's work users are happy with and which aspects they think could be improved. For that reason, if you have any questions/concerns/issues you would like to raise/input relating to the quality of EPO's products and services please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.