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Monday, 20 December 2010

ISO9001 and Non UKAS Certification Companies

"The United Kingdom Accreditation Service is the sole national accreditation body recognised by government to assess, against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services. Accreditation by UKAS demonstrates the competence, impartiality and performance capability of these evaluators."

A certificate of conformance to ISO9001:2008 issued in the UK by a UKAS Accredited Certification Body guarantees that the organisation meets the requirements of the Standard. It will be accepted by everyone as evidence of compliance. Unfortunately a certificate issued by one of the non-UKAS companies does not.

A prime example of this can be shown where we were asked to carry out a 2nd Party audit of a supplier for a Client of ours. We are IRCA accredited to carry out these type of audits. The Supplier showed us a certificate issued by one of the non-UKAS companies.  We undertook the audit but had to call a halt after finding that no internal audits had been carried out in that year and Management reviews did not cover the elements described in ISO9001. (Major non conformities)  It was clear that this company did not meet the requirements of ISO9001:2008.

Interestingly enough the day after our 2nd Party audit, the non-UKAS company carried out their annual  surveillance visit and declared that they were satisfied that this Supplier met all the requirements of ISO 9001:2008.   I think that says it all. 

 The real pity is that the Supplier believed that they did comply with ISO9001:2008 and are now faced with conflicting information.   The only thing we can say is that if another accredited auditor carried out a 2nd Party audit they would come to exactly the same conclusion as we did, in that this Supplier is non- compliant.

UKAS regulations state that consultancy and certification must be independent from each other.  The non UKAS companies are not governed or regulated, set up the system and then assess it; how could they fail?

We firmly believe that it should be illegal to claim that an organisation meets the requirements of this Standard or any other when it does not;  in the same way that it is illegal to claim that a product does something that it clearly does not (Trade Descriptions Act).

Look for the UKAS mark when selecting a certification body to ensure that your certificate is valid and will be accepted worldwide.

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