The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS)

By kframe
In January 25, 2019
On ISO
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The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the sole body recognized by Government for the assessment and verification against international standards of certification, inspection, testing and calibration activities in both the private and public sectors. Accreditation by UKAS demonstrates an organization’s competence, impartiality and capability, and helps to underpin the credibility of performance, goods and services in both the UK and international arenas. UKAS has an explicit duty to act in the public interest

Background

UKAS was formed in 1995 with the merger of the National Accreditation Council of Certification Bodies and the National Measurement Accreditation Service—which, together account for over 60 years of experience and expertise in accreditation. A year later the accreditation of engineering inspection was added from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

Scale of operation

UKAS now has an annual turnover in excess of £26M. We employ 230 permanent staff which includes technical and specialist professionals and support staff and have a database of approximately 800 subcontractor assessors and technical experts. We are a private, non-profit-distributing company limited by guarantee. UKAS is independent of Government but is appointed as the national accreditation body by the Accreditation Regulations 2009 (SI No. 3155/2009) and operates under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Every aspect of daily life involves, at some level, adherence by someone to voluntary or mandatory standards. It is easy, perhaps, to think what some of these may be—those related to food safety and labelling, for instance, or health and safety at work and in the home, weights and measures or trading standards. The implementation of many standards may seem less relevant to our immediate existence but will nonetheless impact on our everyday life, such as those related to the structural integrity of building materials, reliability of health care, management systems, financial advice and reporting, or the manufacture of clothing. In simple terms, a standard is an agreed way of doing something. Standards can be recorded or published formally and may apply to a product, process or service. Standards make life safer, healthier and easier for people, organizations, and enterprises all over the world. They enable communication and trade, while allowing resources to be used more efficiently

Why accredit independent evaluators? Accreditation is a means of assessing, in the public interest, the technical competence and integrity of the organizations offering these kinds of evaluation services. Accreditation, with its many potential benefits for the quality of goods and in the provision of services throughout the supply chain, is underpinning practical applications of an increasingly wide range of activities across all sectors of the economy, from fishing to forestry, construction to communications

What are the benefits of accreditation?

For business Accreditation is an essential tool for decision-making and risk management. Organizations can save time and money by selecting an accredited and therefore competent supplier. Accurate measurements and tests carried out in compliance with best practices limit product failure and down time and control manufacturing costs. Accredited testing and calibration laboratories can be a good source of impartial advice and knowledge transfer leading to product development opportunities. Accreditation to internationally-recognized standards can provide a competitive advantage and facilitate access to export markets within the EU and beyond. Using an accredited body to carry out an independent evaluation helps demonstrate due diligence in the event of legal action.

 

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