ISO, the International Standards Organization, was formed in 1947 and is an independent, non-governmental organization made up of 165 member countries that are national standards bodies around the world.
The aim of achieving ISO certification is to ensure services are safe, reliable and of good quality. It is also a strategic tool that reduces costs by minimizing waste and errors and increasing productivity, as well as often being a ‘licence to trade’ in many industries.
Certification bodies in the UK fall into two types, UKAS (government backed) and non-UKAS, both of which have a market in the UK but for very different reasons. Only UKAS certification bodies can award a UKAS badged certificate (tick and crown symbol) and most customers in a supply chain will specify that only UKAS accredited certificate will be recognised.
UKAS certification bodies are prohibited from offering advice or consultancy services to customers, although they are permitted to provide a ‘gap analysis’ ie. point out the failings. These rules are in place to retain confidence in the process, and ensure the highest quality in government backed certification.