Home Resources Blog April 2021

Meet Our Partners - Ellenbrooke

26 April 2021
This month we spoke to Ian Sparks of Ellenbrooke. Find out how they might be able to help support you in your quest to attaining certification or improving your management system(s).

What standards can you help NQA clients with?

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About your company

Ellenbrooke is a trading style of Exemplas, a subsidiary of the University of Hertfordshire. Having started in 1985 (as Polyfield Services, a small commercial offshoot of the University, or Hatfield Polytechnic as it was then) we have since supported many hundreds of businesses to gain and maintain a wide range of internationally recognised standards and certificates. Some clients have been with us for over 25 years.

We are a team of employed and associate consultants and trainers working with businesses of all shapes and sizes and in all sectors supporting many clients to integrate their management systems and achieve certification to multiple standards. We are based in Hertfordshire but work throughout the UK.

As part of the Exemplas group we can facilitate access for our clients to many free of charge business support services offered through the range of funded contracts we also deliver. This allows our consultants to provide access to additional support to help our client’s business grow, such as access to finance, innovation support and export advice. As Exemplas is part of the University of Hertfordshire Group we can also help our clients access research, graduate recruitment and knowledge transfer services.

Why do you like working with NQA?

NQA and our original management systems consultancy team were established around the same time and we quickly grew a portfolio of mutual clients, NQA has been our certification body of choice ever since.

We’ve always found that NQA auditors are knowledgable, pragmatic and provide clients with great value from the audit experience; that’s just one reason why we recommend NQA.

For Ellenbrooke, being part of the Associate Partner Programme is really beneficial to us for more than just the consultancy opportunities it brings, attending webinars and training sessions has been extremely valuable to both new and experienced consultants alike.

For me, regular catchups with Simon and his NQA colleagues mean that we always understand common areas of interest and we can also provide independent feedback around our mutual clients and the services that they receive from NQA.

Top tip for people looking at certification?

Certification provides that independent verification which your prospective and existing customers increasingly want to see when they are looking for new suppliers or renewing contracts.

There is lots of advice and expertise available to you through qualified, experienced consultants; if you aren’t confident in documenting your management system and working towards certification on your own then don’t just look for an off-the-shelf solution online, you won’t find one that works for your business. Look around and find the right consultant for your business, you won’t be disappointed with your return on investment.

What do you find is the most common point of misunderstanding regarding certification or specific standards when visiting clients?

Other than the usual discussion around accredited and non-accredited certification, there are probably three things:

  • There is the mistaken idea that a documented business management system will add lots of additional bureacracy and take lots of additional time to manage rather than just reflecting the way that the business works consistently, every day to excellence standards plus some continual improvement.

  • That a management systems consultant will just be able to go away and write something in a day or two rather that working with the client on a tailor-made solution to add value to their business.

  • Finally, that internal audit and management review are just tick box exercises that can be done in a day a couple of weeks before the external auditor arrives rather than being a golden opportunity to drill into processes, culture, relationships, the established way of doing things to challenge, support, verify and really drive improvement across the whole business now and for the future.

For more information please visit us at:

Website: www.ellenbrooke.co.uk

Are you considering NQA Training but not sure which way to turn or which course to book? Our Journey Guide will will point you in the right direction.


* Disclaimer:

NQA does not provide consultancy in order to remain impartial from management systems implementation.

NQA shall not imply that certification would be simpler, easier, faster or less expensive if a consultancy listed on the ACR is used.

ACR Consultants shall not imply that NQA certification would be simpler, easier, faster or less expensive if their services are used.

NQA remains impartial from our partners on our Associate Consultant Register and does not endorse one partner over another.

‘Our consultants’ do not work for NQA, they work as independent bodies in partnership with us through our Associate Partner Programme. In accordance with the accreditation standard ISO 17021-1:2015 NQA does not provide consultancy in order to remain impartial from management systems implementation.