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What is Accreditation?

Accreditation in the UK is performed by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) who are the sole body authorised to perform such services in the UK.

Accreditation is most often sought where some form of independent verification is required to confirm something e.g. a product, service, process, person etc meets specific requirements such as durability, capability etc.

Accreditation is used in order to reduce risks associated with the use of products, processes, systems, measurement etc, for example:

  • To guard against product failure
  • Reduce health risks
  • Protect company reputation
  • Meet legal or customer requirements

Anything or anyone can be subjected to evaluation and therefore accreditation - products, equipment, people, management systems or organisations.

Accreditation is the process of ensuring that those who carry out that independent verification have the necessary competence, act impartially and have the performance capability necessary to perform effectively by carrying out assessments against internationally recognised standards. We refer to those accredited bodies as:

  • Testing laboratories
  • Calibration laboratories
  • Certification bodies
  • Inspection bodies

By using an accredited body it gives manufacturers of and users of products and services the confidence that they are making decisions based on objective evidence (reducing to the minimum any risk of selecting an incompetent evaluator and paying for or potentially acting upon invalid results) from a competent evaluator free from improper influences. This provides a clear differential between accredited and non-accredited bodies offering certification, testing, inspection and calibration.

UKAS accreditation means the evaluator can show to its customer that it has been successful at meeting the requirements of international accreditation standards.

You can find out more about UKAS at their website http://www.ukas.com/