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Accredited Certification Bodies v non Accredited Organisations

7th April 2015

I recently received a letter from a company offering ISO9001, ISO14001 and ISO27001 certification for a fixed fee based on my turnover and guaranteed to take a matter of weeks.  Further it guaranteed a no pass no fee arrangement.

The company claimed to be accredited by an organisation called IAB and displayed their logo.
In the UK the sole accreditation organisation is UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service); no other organisation may accredit a certification body. 

These Certification Bodies are allowed to display the UKAS accreditation logo, a distinctive crown and tick logo and is displayed alongside the certification body logo.  If in doubt look at the UKAS web-site – www.ukas.com/

Sadly a number of non-accredited companies use a logo which contains a tick. This is not illegal but may give the impression that they are accredited. This can confuse anyone not aware of the difference.

Each country has its own accreditation service – in Germany for instance has Dakks while USA has ANSI-ASQ.  Look at the international register of accreditation organisations by country (IAF) http://www.iaf.nu/articles/Accred_Body_Members_by_Name/52.

You have done all the hard work and your management system is ready for External Certification. It should be straightforward and after one or more days of intensive investigation, the Assessor finally declares your management system compliant to the appropriate standard. The main question is one of recognition. 

If the certificate is issued by a UKAS accredited Certification Body then it is accepted worldwide, if not then it probably is only recognised by the company that issued it.  You may have wasted your money.   You may find this out when sending a copy of your certificate of ISO9001 or ISO4001 to a prospective customer only to have it rejected.

Reputable consultants recommend only UKAS accredited Certification Bodies.

The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.

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