Here, Suzi Daley, External Affairs Advisor UKAS, explains the role of United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and how accreditation can help deliver your policy objectives.
The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the sole body recognised by the UK Government to assess the competence, integrity and consistency of organisations carrying out conformity assessment activities against internationally recognised standards. By conformity assessment we mean organisations offering testing, inspection, calibration, verification and certification services.
UKAS is a non-profit-distributing company limited by guarantee and is appointed as the national accreditation body by Accreditation Regulations 2009 (SI No 3155/2009) and the EU Regulation (EC) 765/2008. It operates under a Memorandum of Understanding with BEIS on behalf of the government.
UKAS is regularly reviewed by international peers to demonstrate its competence to be a signatory to European and International accreditation multilateral mutual recognition agreements (EA, IAF, and ILAC respectively). Through these multilateral mutual recognition agreements, the need for multiple assessments of suppliers is reduced therefore UKAS accreditation also helps to facilitate international trade. This can be demonstrated by the reference to accredited conformity assessment in the WTO’s Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement.
So how is this relevant for government policymakers and regulators?
Conformity assessment and accreditation are important parts of the nation’s quality infrastructure. By providing confidence in goods, services, management systems and people, they make a significant contribution to the economy, health and safety, and environment.
But equally the confidence and assurance that UKAS accredited organisations provide can play an important role in improving the regulatory landscape; providing an opportunity to reduce the burden of regulation whilst ensuring quality standards and important safety measures are not compromised or reduced.
UKAS accreditation has been successfully used by regulators and policymakers to support and complement existing regulatory regimes; enabling regulators to use a more risk-based and outcomes-focused approach which has resulted in better targeting of resources by regulators. Read more