Gaining certification to any of the recognised standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001 amongst others, requires time and resources. You will want to make sure that the Certification Body (CB) issuing your certificate is suitably qualified to provide the best service for your business.
Achieving certification will benefit your entire organisation and, if done properly, can improve the prospects and profitability of your company. It is therefore, important to check that your certification body is experienced and has been through regular audits themselves, like the audits you must go through.
UKAS – United Kingdom Accreditation Service
If you do not see the UKAS tick and crown logo on your certificate, this means your Certification Body (CB) has not been Accredited by UKAS for the scope of your Certification.
UKAS is the sole UK national accreditation body recognised by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) to assess, against internationally agreed standards.
There is no legal requirement for a Certification Body to be UKAS accredited and some CBs choose to provide consultancy and certification under the same roof to streamline the process. However, UKAS and the IAF do not permit this and require UKAS accredited CBs to refrain from providing any consultancy services, to ensure that the value of Certification is kept as an impartial third-party process.
Checking that you are working with a UKAS accredited CB will ensure that your hard-earned resources are not wasted on certification that may not be recognised by your customers.
Why UKAS accreditation?
Not all certification is UKAS accredited. This means that the Certification Body issuing the certificate has not been audited and accredited by UKAS.
In the same way that you are regularly audited, UKAS is the auditor for UKAS accredited CBs who issue certificates.
By choosing a CB that has been UKAS accredited, you can be confident they are operating to recognised standards and are regularly audited to maintain compliance.
UKAS reviews the CBs management, policies and procedures for the standards they are audited on. They will only be audited on standards where they have proven industry knowledge. Any new industry standards they want to include in their portfolio have to go through the auditing process.
Benefits of UKAS accreditation
One of the many reasons for going through the process of certification is supplier demand. Many multi-national organisations and central and local government will require their suppliers to gain certification to maintain the quality of products and services throughout their supply chain.
For individual companies in the supply chain, this means establishing management systems and frameworks to meet the relevant standard, then continuously monitoring and improving processes to maintain certification.
The benefits to your business of achieving certification from a UKAS accredited CB include:
- Quality of audit is based on recognised standards.
- Audit will be impartial.
- Auditor will have knowledge of your industry.
- Management systems will be established using best practise within your industry.
- Increased efficiency and cost savings.
- Access to new markets at home and abroad because UKAS accredited certificates are recognised worldwide.