Tuesday 16 April 2013

ISO Accreditation and non-accreditation

 A lot of people get confused about accreditation and certification. These are different processes and a company cannot be "accredited to ISO 9001", etc.  An article by UKAS in the April/May edition of the FSB's Business Network magazine was lacking in clarity, so that hasn't helped much. The diagram below shows what the terms actually mean.

So, you become certified to ISO 9001 and the company that certifies you is accredited by UKAS1 for that, and normally other, standards.

Now, you can become certified to ISO 9001 by a non-accredited body, and this at first seems attractive because the costs are normally lower.  There is no legal impediment to stop a company calling themselves a certification body and printing certificates, but such certification is of dubious value.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) recently published a statement which encouraged UK businesses, local authorities to use only accredited bodies. It also stated that any organisation falsely suggesting it is accredited should be reported to Trading Standards.

I'm not a great fan of UKAS, and I believe that the inflexible approach they take drives companies away from accredited bodies, but you must be aware that certifcation by a non-accredited body may be regarded by potential or actual clients as being worthless, not a situation you want to be in when tendering for work. 

There was also an article about a meeting to be held in the USA where the speaker is an
unaccredited ISO 9001 Registrar who thinks accreditation is antisemitic.  One person did some research into this person and found that "he is claiming to have experience in 'medical implants' and is offering unaccredited ISO 13485 certifications for medical device companies. If the FDA isn't paying attention, someone could literally get killed.”

Strategic Safety Systems provide systems for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, ISO 13485, ISO 27001, FSC, PEFC and other standards and have over 170 certifications to date.

See our certification successes.

1 or any National Accreditation Body in another country.

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