The process of achieving ISO certification can appear complex. Whilst certification to the ISO 9001 standard may help you demonstrate that you deliver quality service, in recent years a number of other standards have risen covering the likes of information security and care for the environment. Understandably, some find it difficult in knowing which direction to take.
The challenge doesn’t stop there. Do we implement an ISO standard alone? Who’s going to take responsibility? Do we need training first? Should we get a consultant instead? Which Certification Body should I go with?
Potentially, there are lots of decisions to make. But you’re not alone – thousands of businesses have made the journey and overcame the same obstacles. We’re here to help – obligation free – to suggest the best route based upon experience, budget, available resource and urgency.
An important decision
If you’re like the majority of our clients, certification can unlock fresh opportunities and secure work with existing customers. However, beware that all certificates are not equal.
There is a European-wide agreement that each country should have a single National Accreditation Body to oversee Certification Bodies like ourselves. The UK’s only National Accreditation Body is the United Kingdom Accreditation Service – more widely known as UKAS.
With the market not being regulated, UKAS provides the assurance that a Certification Body has demonstrated technical competence and meets recognised standards.
Crucially, this is backed and supported by Government. Their policy document says:
“Recommends UK businesses, Government and local authorities requiring third party conformity assessment services to source such services, where they exist, from conformity assessment bodies accredited by a NAB.”
This is key for those looking to qualify for public sector tenders, as the expectation is that you should have an ISO certificate from a Certification Body which is accredited by UKAS.
Be wary of imposters
The UK Government is clear in emphasising the appointment of UKAS as our National Accreditation Body, as detailed in their policy document:
“Appoints on behalf of Government as a whole a NAB for the UK. By means of The Accreditation Regulations 2009 (SI 2009 3155), the United Kingdom Accreditation Service is appointed as the NAB for the UK”
And yet, this hasn’t stopped privately owned ‘alternative’ Accreditation Bodies emerging. And whilst there is no law against this, the question, is whether a certificate obtained via this route will be recognised, regardless of the effort you put into achieving certification.
Why take the risk?
Every day, we receive calls from traumatised businesses that have found that their certificate has been rejected by one or more of their clients, or simply was not recognised at the Pre Qualification stage.
In a few cases, businesses that have transferred to us have found the issue only arose a year or two down the line, but evidence shows that – inevitably – they always get found out. Sadly for those clients, this means they have to pay to start the certification process from the beginning, as none of their prior work can be recognised.
Having a certificate issued by a UKAS accredited certifier is your guarantee that it will be recognised and respected by any procurement team or buyer, worldwide. Use of the coveted ‘Crown and Tick’ UKAS logo is a respected symbol that allows the smallest of organisations to demonstrate parity with some of the world’s largest.