United Kingdom Accreditation Service
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (August 2011)|
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (May 2012)|
|Type||National accreditation body|
|Legal status||Company limited by guarantee|
|Membership||Conformity Assessment Bodies, primarily British.|
|Main organ||UKAS Board (Chairman - Lord Lindsay)|
|Parent organization||Department for Business, Innovation and Skills|
|Remarks||Appointed as the sole National Accreditation Body, by the British Government as required by EU Regulation 765.|
The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the sole national accreditation body recognised by the British government  to assess the competence of organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services. It evaluates these conformity assessment bodies and then accredits them where they are found to meet the internationally specified standard.
An organisation accredited by UKAS can demonstrate competence, impartiality and reliability in its ability to deliver results. Accreditation ensures that everyone from specifiers, purchasers, and suppliers to consumers can have confidence in the quality of goods and in the provision of services throughout the supply chain.
- UKAS assesses conformity assessment bodies for competence against internationally recognised standards
- UKAS accredits (recognising competence of organisations to provide conformity assessment tasks)
- UKAS issues accreditation certificates and schedules showing the limits of the accreditation for a particular conformity assessment body and permits the use of the UKAS mark on accredited certification provided that it is accompanied by the UKAS Accreditation Number of the accredited body. The validity of an accreditation should be checked on the UKAS website. UKAS Certificates do not bear an expiry date.
It was set up in 1995 under a Memorandum of Understanding with the British Government which is between UKAS and the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills.
UKAS is a non-profit-distributing private company, it is operated in the public interest as a company limited by guarantee. It resulted from the merger in 1995 of NAMAS (National Measurement Accreditation Service) and NACCB (National Accreditation Council for Certification Bodies). NAMAS was itself the result of a merger in 1985 of NATLAS (National Testing Laboratory Accreditation Scheme) formed in 1981 and BCS (British Calibration Service) formed in 1966. It employs 190 staff and over 250 technical external assessors / experts. UKAS has 18 Members but no shareholders.
In 2010 UKAS acquired the CPA (Clinical Pathology Accreditation) from the Royal Colleges. It started ISAS (Imaging Services Accreditation Scheme) for the Royal College of Radiologists and the College of Radiographers. The health care industry is expected to be a major growth area for accreditation.
Its office is situated in Feltham, West London but most technical staff work from their homes. The largest number of accredited entities are measurement laboratories (testing or calibration) whereas the accredited entities issuing the most certificates into industry and business are Certification Bodies (ISO 9000 registrars).
- ISO/IEC 17025
- ISO/IEC 17020
- ISO/IEC 17021
- ISO/IEC 17024
- ISO/IEC 17065
- ISO/IEC 17043
- ISO Guide 34
- ISO/IEC 14065
- BS 25999-2
Why accreditation is important:
- Successful societies need accurate information on measurement, safety, products, quality and capability.
- UKAS calibration, testing, inspection and certification bodies provide assurance that such information is available.
- For this information to be valuable it must be reliable.
- To have confidence in this information you need to know the organisation carrying out the evaluation activity is competent.
Accreditation through Multilateral Recognition Agreements  is now established in over 90 economies, with internationally recognised standards helping work towards the ideal of ‘accredited once, accepted everywhere’.