ISO Certificates Aren’t All Equal

19/04/2016

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As the number of companies seeking ISO certification is accelerating quickly so are the number of companies who offer to audit and certify companies, charities and organisations. But not all certifying bodies are equal.

Once you gain your certification the business benefits can be huge.

Your success rate in winning tenders and bids will rapidly increase. And we believe that organisations that have invested in ISO certification should have an advantage over their competitors. But only if they have the right certificate; one issued by a UKAS accredited company.

This is a challenge for the entire ISO certification industry and one that UKAS is spearheading. It’s a campaign that we are very happy to endorse.

Just to be clear not all certification bodies are equal

Anyone can set themselves up as a certification body, audit customers and issue certificates & logos. There are either ‘accredited certifying bodies’ or unaccredited companies. Accredited certifying bodies have been checked out, tested and are monitored by UKAS. UKAS are appointed by HM Government to regulate accredited certifying bodies. This regulation and monitoring doesn’t apply to unaccredited companies.

An increasing number of organisations who ask to see your certificate will only accept a certificate issued by a UKAS accredited company. If that’s the case, the certificate issued by your unaccredited certifying body will be worthless.

Each day we receive calls from companies who’ve found out that their ISO certificates were rejected because they were not properly accredited by the Government backed United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). We’re also asked to ‘confirm’ that certificates are valid. This is what the UKAS website says about accreditation:

“Accreditation is the formal recognition that an organisation is competent to perform specific processes, activities, or tasks (which are detailed in a scope of accreditation) in a reliable credible and accurate manner.  The provision of accreditation must:

  • be objective, transparent and effective;
  • use highly professional competent assessors and technical experts in all relevant fields;
  • use assessors (and subcontractors) that are reliable, ethical and competent in both accreditation processes and the relevant technical fields.

Accreditation delivers confidence in certificates and conformity statements. It underpins the quality of results by ensuring their traceability, comparability, validity and commutability.”

Businesses need to be aware that there is a difference. We strongly recommend that you check that you are being audited by a UKAS accredited certification body.

But how do you know?

UKAS has an excellent webpage and search function so that you can check. Given that ISO certificates cover serious matters – such as quality and safety of work – councils, large companies and other authorities risk selecting unfit suppliers, and significant repercussions.

As a UKAS accredited Certification Body, we’d like to help spread the word on the importance of UKAS accredited certification to create a win-win situation for buyers and suppliers.


For more information, contact our award-winning ISO specialists on 0800 404 7007.

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