What is accreditation?
Accreditation is an independent assessment that ensures certification bodies have the technical competence and integrity of impartiality to deliver credible certification services. This is essential to building confidence and trust in certification.
UKAS defines accreditation as:
a means of assessing, in the public interest, the technical competence and integrity of the organisations offering evaluation services including testing, inspection, calibration and certification.
We believe in the integrity of standards and rigor of the certification process. That's why it's our policy to achieve accreditation for our services wherever possible.
Our accreditations include:
UKAS - the United Kingdom Accreditation Service for which we have one of the widest scope of accreditation covering most economic sectors
IATF - the International Automotive Task Force for the provision of certification against ISO/TS 16949 (Automotive Quality Management)
- ANAB - the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board in the USA.
These accreditation bodies regularly and rigorously assess us against international standards to ensure our competence, impartiality and performance capability.
Impartiality is a fundamental principle of accredited certification. This means that certification decisions are based solely on objective evidence of conformity and are not influenced by any other interests.
We take potential conflicts of interest very seriously and ensure that impartiality is not compromised at any time. In particular, we ensure that, irrespective of which consultancy may have been employed to implement or maintain a client's management system:
certification will not be simpler, easier, faster or less expensive
certification decisions will be based solely on the objective evidence
NQA's policy is to provide accredited certification wherever possible. Some schemes do not have an accreditation and in those cases we still apply the same rigor, processes, competence requirements and impartiality as if it were accredited.
Unaccredited certification can be an attractive way of achieving certification quickly and cheaply. However, it can have serious shortcomings including:
failure to meet customer requirements, particularly contractual obligations
lack of integrity which can damage reputation
wasted time, budget and resources
The Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) has published a position statement on unaccredited certification on its website (BIS policy on unaccredited certification).