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Monday, 23 April 2012

Non Accredited v Accredited Certification Bodies

Certification to the various Management Standards such as ISO 9001 (the Quality management  Standard and 14001 (the Environmental management standard) have been recognised worldwide as viable qualifications.

The UK Government has appointed a sole Accreditation Body  to accredit certification bodies to issue certificates of compliance to management standards.

"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.

UKAS is a non-profit-distributing private 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 Government through the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills."

I was contacted recently by a company that had been 'certificated' to both the standards by a non UKAS certification body.  The company believed that they met the requirements of the two standards because year after year their 'Assessor' told them that they were compliant.  Imagine how they felt when one of their major customers carried out a vendor audit on them and told them that their certifications were worthless and they were far from compliant with 9001 and 14001. 

It makes my blood boil when I see these so called certification companies issuing certificates purporting to show that full compliance to the international standards has been achieved when in fact they do nothing of the sort.

This company asked me to look through their Quality Manual; it was riddled with errors and did not comply with ISO 9001.  It was confused and woolly, it did not address the six mandatory procedures required by 9001 and did not even reference the correct Standard.  The Company, quite rightly, feel that they have wasted their money and will now have to expend more money to gain proper certification.

These non-accredited certification companies should be severely censured if they do not provide the promised  outcome.  I also believe that UKAS and or Trading Standards should act and prosecute where they can see misrepresentation has taken place.

To be absolutely sure that your certificate gives confidence that your systems actually meet the requirements of the Standards and will stand up to external scrutiny then insist on a UKAS Accredited Certification Body.   If in doubt, look at the UKAS web-site

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