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Accredited and Non-Accredited Certification Bodies

13th August 2019

We see many organisations claiming to have ISO 9001, ISO14001 or other management standards only to find that their certificates are not accepted as evidence of compliance. These certificates are issued by a number of companies but are not accredited by UKAS.

There is a single accreditation body in the UK, this is UKAS, the UK Government decided that there should be only one body tasked with authorising certification bodies.

There are a good number of these and the certificates they issue bear the UKAS tick and crown logo.

These certification bodies must reach, and maintain a high standard to continue to claim that they are in fact an Accredited Certification Body. Regular and strict audits are carried out. One principle is that no certification body can offer consultancy as well as assessment; this would be a conflict of interest and is prohibited.

On the other side non accredited organisations issue certificates claiming to meet the requirements of which ever standard is covered. Some even show a logo claiming to be accredited by some other accreditation agency. This is designed to fool anyone gullible enough to believe it.

Companies like ours have complained that these non-accredited companies are deceiving their customers and should be made to declare that they are not accredited by UKAS. UKAS is not a regulator and sadly has no powers to stop these organisations carrying on. Also the Office of fair trading is not interested in taking action.

A good number of these non-accredited organisations have sprung up; some offer consultancy and certification as a package. The bold claim is that they offer a no pass no fee guarantee. I often say to people who contact me “how can they fail to certify you when they have set up the system? The sad truth dawns on these people when they submit a certificate claiming to show compliance with a Standard only to find that it is not recognised, except by the issuing authority.

One other fact is clear; you cannot set up a system and get it certificated in 30 days (or less in one case) as clearly an assessor must be able to audit what you have done not what you are planning to do. Evidence is just not there under these timescales.

Beware of non-accredited organisations. If it seems ‘ too good to be true’ it probably isn’t any good.


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