In 2006-07 we built on the work commenced by the NICNAS/industry focus group which, in 2005-06, initiated a review and oversaw the implementation of avenues for introducing efficiency measures. These flowed from re-engineering of new chemicals application processes and delivery of industry training on notifying new chemicals. Following a presentation on streamlining new chemical operations to the NICNAS IGCC and notice in the Chemical Gazette, agreement was reached with the focus group and the pilot phase of our new screening framework and refund policy commenced February 2007.
Under the screening framework, NICNAS assesses the quality of each application and specifies the timeframe within which the applicant must address any data gaps. Following the administrative and technical screening, the application is determined by the assessor as being complete (ie. assessment clock can start), incomplete (outstanding data that can be easily rectified), or substantially deficient. The timeframe specified for addressing the outstanding matters identified from screening in the case of incomplete applications is 14 days (permits) or 28 days (certificates).
Where the outstanding matters cannot be resolved within 28 days, the notifier also has the option of submitting a timetable for addressing the outstanding matters. The new screening framework allows NICNAS to return grossly deficient submissions or submissions where the notifier does not respond to requests for additional information.
The new procedures also lay out a clear and transparent refund structure where an application is withdrawn or returned prior to the assessment being completed, and is based on the stage of the assessment at the time of withdrawal/rejection of the application.