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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.

UKASUKAS – 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.
Contact us to find out more about ISO certification.
Climate change continues to make the headlines as global temperatures break previous records. February 2016 was the warmest February in 136 years of Nasa’s modern temperature records. Average temperatures in 2017, though not expected to be as warm as 2015 and 2016, are still going to be warm again.

The effects of global warming on populations around the world are already being felt at a personal level with health problems such as:
  • Respiratory diseases caused by poor air quality.Flooded_buildings
  • Infectious diseases spreading due to climate change and insect migration.
  • Hunger and lack of clean drinking water because of extreme weather events.
  • Death and injury from natural disasters caused by flooding.
To help organisations and businesses reduce their impact on the environment and establish effective environmental and energy management systems, there are a variety of ISO standards, one of the most popular being ISO 14001.

ISO 14001 environmental management standard
ISO 14001 provides a management framework for industry to combat climate change by reducing harmful emissions.

Certification also provides benefits to your organisation by reducing waste and improving energy management together with a range of other benefits that will help to increase profits and enhance relationships with your suppliers and clients.

If your organisation is involved in the events sector, ISO 20121 has been specifically developed to support event organisers, venues and suppliers. ISO 20121 improves efficiency and provides a framework to cut costs by improving energy and waste management.

Environmental responsibility
Government policies differ from country to country. Donald Trump is planning to dismantle some of the policies that Barack Obama put in place. However, in a recent keynote speech at the "Seeds & Chips - Global Food Innovation" in Milan, Obama stated that the private sector would be key to tackling climate change with clean energy being the driver.

Ultimately, it will be industry and individuals that will act to reduce carbon emissions and start moving towards a clean energy economy. A management framework that will help identify the most efficient and effective solution will not only benefit the environment; it will improve the organisation.
Revision of these two key management system standards took place in 2015 and organisations will have to transfer to the updated standards by September 2018.

ISO_9001_and_14001_standardsExisting ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 registered companies should now be well into their planning to ensure a smooth transition to the revised standards by this date.

One of the benefits of the revision is to provide a common structure, text and definitions to make integration of multiple standards smoother and quicker to achieve. In the revised standard, Annex XL provides a framework to help achieve this.

Revision benefits
 
1. Integration
For organisations with both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards, taking this integrated approach will save time by streamlining the process of certification and removing duplication.
 
2. Risk management
One of the main areas of change is an increased focus on risk management and the establishment of an effective risk management plan. Risk is documented in most sections of the revised standards, so if you do not already have a risk management plan, this should be one of your first tasks. Typical risk processes include:
  • Risk determination,
  • Risk control,
  • Risk mitigation,
  • Acceptable level of risk.
By taking a risk based approach the intention is to prevent or reduce undesired effects, achieve continual improvement and provide action plans to address these risks and opportunities.
 
3. Management processes
Along with the new high level structure/format, the new standards require a higher priority be given to managing processes and less about documentation.
 
4. Leadership
Emphasis on the importance of leadership from top management will ensure that the organisation’s quality management system achieves the desired results.

Meeting the demands of today’s businesses
The new 2015 revisions reflect the vast changes in technology that have taken place during the last few years. They also aim to improve the speed and flexibility needed in a modern businesses management system to enable companies to compete in the global economy.

If you have any questions about how to plan your transition, call ACS Registrars to find out more.
ACS Registrars have again been accredited by UKAS for ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015.

The process is on-going and not just a one-off achievement. Accreditation can be applied for by a variety of organisations such as testing laboratories, inspection bodies and medical laboratories as well as certification bodies like ACS Registrars.

UKAS (The United Kingdom Accreditation Service) is the sole national accreditation body for the UK and is recognised by the government as the body that provides oversight to ensure that accredited organisations meet the relevant international standards.

Working with UKAS and maintaining its accreditation is vitally important to ACS Registrars. UKAS accreditation demonstrates that ACS has been assessed for competence, impartiality and reliability to ensure the applicable international accreditation standards are met.

This is what the UKAS have to say 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;UKAS_logo
  • 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."

Note; not all auditing organisations are UKAS Accredited.

Relevant and beneficial to business
2016 is turning out to be a year of uncertainty; first Brexit, then the shock win for Donald Trump in the US elections. Businesses are going to need all of their resilience to maintain a competitive advantage.
Management systems such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 help businesses to establish procedures and processes to monitor and manage changing circumstances.

Risk assessment and risk management have been prioritised in the recent ISO 9001 revisions. This will provide management with the means to identify risks and plan how to control or limit the effect of these events on the business.

Whether internal issues or external events, such as the recent political turmoil, threaten to derail the organisation’s plans, having a robust management system in place will put you in a better position to cope more effectively.

A current example would be the recent drop in the value of sterling after Brexit and the impact it will have on manufacturers; whether you are importing raw materials or exporting finished goods. An effective management system will identify the risks and develop a strategy to minimise the effect.

For more information about UKAS and ISO standards please call us or fill in our enquiry form.

 
The speculation is over and the decision has been made to leave the EU. Now we have a new prime minister and the dust has settled, it is probably time for you to try and assess how this is going to affect your business.

BrexitMost commentators agree that we are going to go through a period of economic uncertainty; the recent currency fluctuations are already starting to have an impact and will probably affect us all one way or another.

The effect of these changes will increase the cost of imports so we can expect to see rises in the machinery and technical equipment (mostly imported), needed for our businesses such as industrial machines and computer hardware and software.

Industries that are expected to be most affected are construction, financial services and manufacturing.

ISO standards and Brexit
Many of our clients will be affected by the economic changes brought on by Brexit, some positively, others negatively. Cheaper exports for those companies selling abroad may help to balance the increase in costs.

With all of this uncertainty it is good to know that some things will remain constant.  ISO standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 will remain effective and provide the same benefits during the transition to leave the EU and when we finally leave. ISO accreditation is international and the EU often adopts the ISO standard as the European Standard.

Any changes to this stability will depend on our new relationship with the EU. At the moment we have some influence over European standards which means that our manufacturing and service industries have easy access to sell products and services to all European countries by meeting these standards.
Currently our manufacturers save time and cost by only having to comply with one standard to trade with European and global markets.

We can only assume that the UK will remain committed to the European standards to allow our businesses to maintain ease of access, even though our influence over the standards may be diminished.

 
2015 saw revisions to the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards. The next revision will be to OHSAS 18001 which is due to take place towards the end of 2016. The new standard for occupational health and safety management will be renamed ISO 45001.

One of the fundamental changes being made in these revisions is to the top level structure. These changes aim to deliver advantages by aligning various aspects of the different management systems to improve integration between standards. This structure is called Annex SL and was introduced by ISO to provide consistency throughout all of the ISO standards.

ISO 19001 and ISO 14001 are, for many organisations, the core of their management system and integration will save both time and costs.
  • Other benefits include:
  • Improved efficiency throughout the organisation
  • Less documentation
  • Better risk management
  • Involvement of all levels of the organisation
  • Adding value by maximising performance
  • Reducing duplication

Cogs_integrationAnnex SL
Annex SL will provide a common structure, text and definitions to make integration of multiple standards - ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 (later this year), smoother and quicker to implement.

By taking an integrated approach, documentation, training, audits and reviews will take up less resources and result in a more efficient and effective management system.

ISO 45001
Publication of the standard is expected around the end of 2016 when the transition from OHSAS 18001 can start.

Certification to the new standard will provide all of the integration efficiencies along with the existing OHSAS 18001 benefits to reduce accidents in the workplace and meet legal and regulatory requirements.

Other benefits of ISO 45001 certification include:
  • Improved productivity with fewer disruptions through absenteeism
  • Better employee relations
  • Reduced insurance premiums
  • Lower costs connected with accidents in the workplace
  • Less risk of prosecution and HSE visits
  • Improved reputation with employees and stakeholders
To find out more please contact us.
 
The United Nations Climate Change Conference which started on 30th November and runs to 11th December 2015 will be discussing, amongst other things, the impact industrial development is having on our climate. With the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C, business and governments will be discussing climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the development of renewable energies.

On the 7th and 8th December, as part of the Conference, there will be a business focussed
event. The “Sustainable Innovation Forum” (SIF15), brings together participants from business, Government, finance, UN, NGO and civil society to “bolster business innovation and bring scale to the emerging green economy”.

To add more pressure to the talks, we hear recently that the Chinese government issued a health warning to Beijing residents to stay indoors due to heavy smog.

There would seem to be overwhelming evidence that our climate is warming, with effects such as rising sea levels and extreme weather events. A natural cycle or human impact? Whatever you believe, can we afford to do nothing?

Green_footprintEvery business can help
The recently revised ISO 14001:2015 standard can help to reduce the impact that your operations may have on the environment. This is a global standard with certifications in 171 countries. The standard provides a framework for organisations to meet the challenges of climate change.
The benefits go further than improving the environment for all of us; they can deliver tangible benefits for your organisation:
  • Meet legal obligations
  • Engage employees
  • Improve performance through efficiencies
  • Reduce waste and increasing recycling
  • Provide cost savings
  • Increase profits
  • Enhance brand image

ISO 14001 certification and implementation can have a significant effect on an organisations profitability and performance. By adopting an effective energy management system you will gain a competitive advantage and contribute towards the climate change challenges the world will face in the future.

 
ISO_CertificationCertification to any of the ISO standards provides tangible benefits for your organisation. If you want to grow your business, increase profits and operate more efficient working practices, achieving certification will help, as well as giving you an edge over your competitors.

Whether you operate locally or globally, the standards are recognised worldwide and are relevant to all sizes of business.

Other benefits include:
  • Improved internal processes and efficiency
  • Reduced waste resulting in environmental benefits and cost savings
  • Increased sales
  • Better access to new markets
  • Industry expert consultants providing guidance

Next steps

When choosing a certification body, it is worth pointing out that you should check they are UKAS accredited. UKAS has government recognition and is licensed by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). You can be sure to receive the most appropriate advice by choosing a UKAS accredited certification body. Your long-term success could be undermined if you use an independent evaluation service.

Continual improvement

After successfully completing your first audit, your assessor will set up a process to monitor and improve systems and arrange regular (six monthly or annual) surveillance visits.

These visits will ensure your management systems remain effective and continue to meet the standard.
Ongoing checks will help to maintain your conformity and make your next certification renewal assessment run as smoothly as possible.

To find out more call ACS Registrars (a UKAS Accredited Certification Body - No. 0229).

 
What does ISO 14001 cover?
ISO_14001_environmental_managementThe standard has been developed to provide an audited management process to help organisations reduce their impact on the environment by recycling, saving energy and meeting regulatory requirements.

The ISO 14001 standard can be implemented across all industry sectors and from small businesses to multi-nationals. It will provide an Environmental Management System (EMS) that will benefit the organisation’s reputation, efficiency and customer relations as well as helping the environment.

Benefits of ISO 14001 certification
Achieving certification will establish better management systems for identifying environmental risks and minimising the impact of operations and processes carried out by the organisation. There are also economic benefits to be had from making these environmental improvements. As well as the obvious cost reductions from minimising waste, improving efficiency and lower use of natural resources, there are the intangible advantages of public, employee and customer perception of the organisation.

By communicating your commitment to achieving ISO 14001 and demonstrating a responsible attitude towards the environment, you will gain an advantage over competitors who are not certified, when tendering for new business. You will also enhance your reputation with existing clients. If you operate in global markets the standard is recognised throughout the world and will help you to meet their individual market environmental regulations.
Your organisation will benefit from a robust management system that will reduce risks, prevent incidents and increase awareness of environmental issues to your employees.