Buyer Beware: The Importance of UKAS Accreditation

12/12/2017

Wondering which certification body to choose to perform your ISO audits? UKAS accreditation helps companies like yours find a reputable and professional organisation to work with – find all the facts you need in this article.

What is UKAS accreditation?

UKAS stands for the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. They are appointed by the government to be the sole agency authorised to assess the ability and competence of organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services.

UKAS ensure that certification bodies meet the ISO 17021 standard for conformity assessment. Achieving UKAS accreditation is a long and arduous process for certification bodies. They undergo thorough head office reviews that delve into management, policies and procedures, alongside a test of competence.

If you want to know that the company performing your audits is of the highest possible standard, this is the accreditation you need to see front and centre of its offering.

Companies that achieve UKAS accreditation should be shouting about it. The internationally-recognised accreditation gives your business a competitive advantage, opening access to new markets within the EU and beyond.

Consulting bodies’ standards are maintained via regular annual checks. At the end of the process, companies that choose UKAS approved certification bodies offer the most robust assurance of best practice.

Getting your company in shape for ISO 9001 certification is the first part of the process. Having a UKAS accredited body perform your audits is the gold stamp for success on the global stage.

UKAS accreditation helps you win business

Going through ISO Certification requires investment in terms of both time and resources. Once completed, you want to be sure that your certification is internationally recognised. UKAS accreditation is the safest way to ensure that your certification will be universally accepted when you’re bidding for contracts in both the private and public sectors.

ISO certification through a non-UKAS accredited company may mean that your organisation risks missing out on important contracts and business opportunities. Some clients may simply not recognise your ISO certification or could require you to go through additional steps during the tender process. Which negates one of the most important benefits of certification.

For example, many purchasing departments across both the public and private sector use a publicly available specification known as PAS-1. It verifies that a potential supplier can provide a consistently high level of service delivery and it stipulates UKAS accredited certification as a non-negotiable requirement.

Most SMEs and large organisations understand ISO certification and UKAS accreditation. Going through the ISO process proves that your company consistently delivers an excellent standard of customer satisfaction. Getting your UKAS accredited certification announces to both your competition and clients that you’re taking these standards seriously.

“A lot of the big procurement portals insist that your certification is from a UKAS accredited body.”

David Burton, ISO consultant

What to check for when selecting your certification body

More companies than ever are realising the benefits of ISO certification. One stop shop certification organisations have started to crop up in order to fulfil this need. Receiving consultation on the implementation of your ISO standards and then certification may seem like a convenient option, but in reality, it’s like asking your driving instructor to issue you with a driving license.

Companies that provide consultancy are strictly forbidden from applying for UKAS accreditation. This means that any organisations offering you this fast-track combined service will not be able to give you the final verification that gold stamps your certification.   

Don’t be fooled by low prices and promises of speedy certification. In the long run, going through the proper process and getting UKAS accreditation will give you a far better return on investment.

With UKAS accredited certification you’re getting access to the highest levels of insight from tried and trusted assessors. Their advice can help you to maximise cost savings from efficient processes that consistently meet or surpass your customer satisfaction targets.

Going forward with ISO certification

Hopefully, you now have all the tools at your disposal to find the right certification body to work with your company. ISO certification represents an important step in the journey of any company towards lasting success. Take the time to find a UKAS accredited certification body to reap the maximum benefits available to you through ISO certification.

“Make sure that they are UKAS accredited. You could go with a non-UKAS accredited body, but it wouldn’t be the same. It’s not recognised by certain clients and you will find the process more arduous, more difficult.”

Sally Pearson, KKB Group

 

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