Importance of UKAS accreditation

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the sole National Accreditation Body for the United Kingdom. UKAS is recognised by government, to assess against nationally and internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide conformity assessment services such as certification, testing, inspection, calibration and verification.

Accreditation by UKAS demonstrates the competence, impartiality and performance capability of these evaluators. In short, UKAS ‘checks the checkers’.

It is Government policy to recommend the use of UKAS accredited conformity assessment services whenever this is an option. The Conformity assessment and accreditation policy in the UK requires UK conformity assessment bodies seeking accreditation to do so from UKAS as the sole NAB for the UK.

UKAS is appointed as the UK’s national accreditation body under the UK Accreditation Regulations 2009 for the purposes of Article 4(1) of RAMS (Regulation (EC) 765/2008, as amended and has effect in Great Britain), setting out the requirements for accreditation.

UKAS is independent of Government but operates under a Memorandum of Understanding with Government through the Secretary of State for Business and Trade (DBT). UKAS is licensed by DBT to use and confer the national accreditation symbols which symbolise Government recognition of the accreditation process.

UKAS is a non-profit-distributing private company, limited by guarantee. It operates as an independent body providing a public authority activity and operating in the public interest. UKAS is self-financing and charges fees to conformity assessment bodies to cover operational costs and other expenditures.

As UKAS’s sponsor department within government, DBT provides funding to undertake public interest activities (i.e. non-fee earning activities) in representing the UK’s interests in the global accreditation system.

UKAS’ involvement in international accreditation groups such as EAIAF and ILAC, provides for mutual recognition of accreditation and accredited services. This reduces the need for multiple assessments of suppliers, and as a consequence helps to reduce barriers to trade for organisations who hold UKAS accreditation or certificates issued by a UKAS accredited body.