To gain accreditation to any of the ISO Standards you must be formally assessed to the ISO standard by a “third party” auditor or “assessment body”.
For any ISO certificate to be of any value to you the assessment body you choose must be accredited by UKAS, the United Kingdom Accreditation Service.
After an organisation has decided that they want to apply for their management system to be assessed so that it can be accredited with an ISO certification, this can be done by a ‘third party’ or ‘assessment body’. The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the only accreditation body which can award an ISO qualification to UK organisations.
UKAS are not directly involved in the assessment process because only assessment bodies that have been accredited can do so on their behalf. UKAS is a non-profit organisation which aims to recognise excellence. It is established as the national accreditation body and has been appointed under both the Accreditation Regulations 2009 and EU Regulations. UKAS also operates under a government memorandum (Memorandum of Understanding with the Government through the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills) and is licensed by BIS. In other words, UKAS is a hallmark of excellence which is recognised nationally by the UK government.
UKAS relies on third party bodies, which are referred to as Certification Bodies (CBs), in order to assess whether an organisation should be awarded a certification or not. Assessment bodies, which act on behalf of UKAS, are responsible for confirming to UKAS that an accreditation should be awarded. Information about assessment bodies is available on the UKAS website and they can be contacted in order to arrange an assessment. CBs have a royal crown in their accreditation mark and, without it, it has not been approved by UKAS in order to assess organisations on behalf of UKAS.
CBs can carry out an assessment according to the schedule which an organisation has. Assessment for a qualification might have to be carried out at specific periods of the year and CBs’ will do so. As having a UKAS qualification is vital to organisations, CBs’ can complete it at a time that suits an organisation.
At JR Consultants we recognize this factor and will only use UKAS accredited assessment bodies; for more information on UKAS accredited assessment bodies please click here.