You are not alone if you have considered adopting some compliance standards for your organisation. In fact, the annual global spend on forms of compliance is $33 billion. This blog would likely have been found as you are looking into the best way to become ISO compliant.
ISO 9001 and other popular standards are all considered a badge of excellence with global awareness. You might not have realised there is more to achieving the award than simply finding an assessor. With the awarding body greatly impacting your ISO experience, how can you look for a company that offers the best service?
Continue reading to learn how UKAS impacts this and what you should know when achieving an ISO standard.
What Is UKAS?
Let’s start by breaking down who the official bodies are and what they do.
UKAS stands for the United Kingdom Accreditation Service, the official UK accreditation body that approves top-quality awarding agencies. It is the role of UKAS to assess accrediting companies against the globally-known ISO 17021 standard.
With a role to measure the competence, consistency and impartiality levels of bodies providing audit and certification, UKAS makes it clear for companies to see who offers the best service for ISO certifications. The UKAS scheme accreditation has been backed by lots of regulators and quality management teams as a way to reduce risk when undergoing compliance changes.
The scheme also operates separately from the UK government but with a Memorandum of Understanding. This agreement was created in 1995, with UKAS continuing to assess awarding bodies in the UK for the past few decades.
Who Are ISO?
ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, is a globally operating standards body. Having launched in 1946, the organisation has made changes throughout the years and has continued adapting to meet current needs. The ISO standards span 249 countries and are known for their universal relevance to various industries and sectors.
There are many popular ISO standards which include ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 22301 (Business Continuity Management), and ISO 27001 (Information Security Management). One of the main reasons that they are so popular is that ISO is proven to work for organisations of all sizes and from various sectors. The compliance process involves implementing systems and processes within companies that make for easy management of the topic in question.
ISO 9001, for example, is often considered a legal requirement. Although it isn’t needed by law, so many companies require it for tenders and supply purposes that most companies decide to adopt it. As a quality management standard, this award puts customer experience at the centre of operations. Elements such as product quality, decision-making, and leadership are simplified by bringing together all employees, departments, and business functions. The auditing process attached also means that issues can be depicted quickly, offering companies a chance to minimise risk in every sense. You can also see from which industries require the ISO certification just how popular it is.
That is just one of many standards, but all offer the same effective compliance methods that improve business profitability and performance.
What Is the Link Between UKAS and ISO?
Deciding to go through ISO compliance implementation and achieving the award are two very different process elements. Whilst ISO offers the guidance and tools to upgrade businesses in a fully compliant way, they are not an awarding body. This decision was made so as not to dilute the work and purpose that the organisation carries out. If you have ever decided to become ISO awarded, you will know that finding the right body to support your application can be a complex process. There are many options, but how can you choose the best one?
That’s where UKAS enters the game.
ISO is responsible for creating and testing every element of its standards. UKAS is then responsible for awarding top accreditation status to assessors who meet the highest requirements. With many certification bodies across the UK, it is the job of UKAS to assess who meets the high standards and therefore award them with official auditing status. This is achieved using the ISO 17021 standard.
Companies that want to become ISO compliant can then search the full list of accredited organisations to choose an awarding body to work with.
Can I Only ISO From a UKAS Company?
No, you can become ISO accredited through any official awarding body. The difference is that UKAS brings its mark of excellence, which you will miss out on if using a certification service that is not accredited.
Only UKAS-awarded companies have been chosen as the ones that provide full compliance with ISO standards. You may find that despite having paid for ISO and put in many hours, your certificate isn’t required at all if you also have the UKAS award by proxy. ISO is designed to help a company’s internal operations and its externally-facing image. If you do not achieve the award through a certified UKAS body, you will also find it hard to reap the benefits such as productivity, efficiency and a strong financial ROI.
You can get an ISO certificate from many companies, but only the ones with a UKAS award hold the most weight.
What Benefits Does a UKAS Certified ISO Certificate Offer?
As we have touched upon, there are lots of advantages to choosing a UKAS certified awarding body. These include the following:
Both ISO and UKAS are globally recognised. Companies holding a non-UKAS registered ISO certificate may find it hard to win business or enter new markets.
Whilst it is not a legal requirement, it is becoming common practice that many organisations include the UKAS certification as a must within tender processes. Whilst being ISO compliant is still a great thing to have, as more companies achieve the award, it is important to stand out for meeting the standard pillars to the highest degree possible.
Being UKAS awarded shows that your business was willing to pay what it takes to meet relevant compliance standards worldwide.
Improved Brand Image
When you become ISO certified by a UKAS body, you will gain access to the logo by proxy.
With many markets being saturated, these logos are the thing that will make your business stand out. Showcasing that you don’t just meet the standards but live and breathe them successfully in everyday work positively impacts the brand image.
It can also improve brand awareness and reach as your company will be listed as having the award.
Higher-Quality Adherence to Standard
As we have discussed, one of the biggest benefits is closely meeting the standard pillars. There is no point in spending time or money achieving something and having it for show.
A properly implemented ISO standard can change the way that you do business.
All UKAS accredited assessors will have already ensured that awarding companies operate to the highest standards. With no corners cut or boxes left unticked, you can ensure that your business meets the standards in a way that provides actual results.
How Can Creative Networks Help With The Process?
As experts in how you can achieve ISO 9001 and other accreditations, the team at Creative Networks can help prepare you for compliance success.
We work with organisations from all sectors to help them become ISO-compliant. We do this by implementing systems that fully adhere to the standards. Once companies are ready to be assessed, we can put them in touch with a professional UKAS-approved agency and then support the entire process.
ISO is also a process that doesn’t wrap up when certification is achieved. By offering ongoing help and professional audits, we can keep your business compliant and processes running smoothly.
To find out more and book your free consultation, contact us today. With the world of ISO moving quickly, now is the time to pass the accreditation with a UKAS approved supplier.