United Kingdom Accreditation Service
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|Type||National accreditation body|
|Legal status||Company limited by guarantee|
|Conformity assessment bodies, primarily British.|
|UKAS Board (Chairman – Lord Lindsay)|
|Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy|
|Remarks||Appointed as the sole National Accreditation Body, by the British Government as required by EU Regulation 765/2008.|
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 (between UKAS and the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills). 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.
UKAS is a non-profit-distributing private company, it is operated in the public interest as a company limited by guarantee. It employs 190 staff and over 250 technical external assessors / experts.
UKAS has members (instead of shareholders) who represent those who have an interest in accreditation – national and local government, business and industry, purchasers, users and quality managers. The present members are:
- Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
- The Association of British Certification Bodies
- British Measurement and Testing Association
- Confederation of British Industry
- The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- Federation of Small Businesses
- The Local Authorities Coordinating Body of Regulatory Services
- Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply
- The Institute of Quality Assurance
- The Safety Assessment Federation
- Food Standards Agency
- Defence Procurement Agency
- Health and Safety Executive
- Public Health Laboratory Services
- British Retail Consortium
In 2010 UKAS acquired the CPA (Clinical Pathology Accreditation) from the medical royal colleges. It started ISAS (Imaging Services Accreditation Scheme) for the Royal College of Radiologists and the College of Radiographers. The healthcare industry is expected to be a major growth area for accreditation.
Its office is situated in Staines, Surrey, just west of 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 15189
- 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 society needs 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’.
- "About us". United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "About the QA - United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS)". www.quality-register.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
- "ILAC MRA Signatory contact details: United Kingdom Accreditation Service". International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "IAF MLA". International Accreditation Forum. Retrieved 12 January 2015.