Cybersecurity compliance is fast becoming the most important accreditation for organisations across the world to have. This is backed up by evidence that speaks for itself on the importance of quality compliance across various departments and functions. In the UK, the amount lost due to non-compliance within businesses sits at around £18 million annually.
You will likely have come across various compliance standards, including the popular ISO 9001 and ISO 22301, but the picture gets a bit cloudy when figuring out how you obtain them. The answer is that UKAS-accredited organisations are the only bodies with such power.
Continue reading to learn all about UKAS and how it impacts your company’s road to compliance success in both the long and short term.
- Who Are UKAS?
- What Is the Purpose of UKAS Accreditation?
- What Is the Difference Between UKAS and ISO?
- What Are the Benefits of Using a UKAS Approved Awarding Body?
- How Do I Find UKAS Approved Awarding Bodies
- How Can Creative Networks Help Me?
Who Are UKAS?
UKAS stands for the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. This body is the official UK accreditation body responsible for awarding certain compliance standards and certification rights to governing companies.
If you have ever tried to apply for an ISO compliance standard or other global awards, you may have been shocked to learn that the creators themselves do not hand out the certificates. Instead, as is the case for some other standards, it is the role of accredited professional agencies to assess applicants and decide their suitability.
UKAS is pivotal in many sectors, with some of the most closely linked including healthcare, construction, hospitality, manufacturing, and engineering. As all of these industries require transparency in operations to meet the high standards that modern customers have, only the best of accreditations will do.
It is the role of UKAS to ensure that companies meet the ISO 17021 standard, which contains the requirements for the competence, consistency and impartiality of bodies providing audit and certification. The key here is consistency, as that is what ISO, and other governing bodies, are known for. As achieving different standards is prestigious, those awarding the certifications must judge all applicants professionally and fairly with the same criteria in mind.
Although not managed by the UK government, UKAS is the only body recognised as the official provider of these services. They work closely with the government and different bodies with an official Memorandum of Understanding to ensure transparency and consistency.
What Is the Purpose of UKAS Accreditation?
The UKAS accreditation is a clear indicator for companies looking to achieve a conformance award, which awarding body would be ideal for them to work with. Although UKAS only work within the UK, they are aware that many of the companies who go on to receive accreditations operate globally. That is why the ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 is used to assess all businesses.
If you are an IT agency or a company that specialises in awarding ISO awards, you need the nod of approval from UKAS. Without it, you risk not being taken seriously and losing business to other UKAS-approved organisations.
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 aligns with all UK government-backed policies about business activities, making it relevant for all British-based organisations. With a tagline to ‘shape a better UK together’, UKAS works with accreditation providers across all sectors.
What Is the Difference Between UKAS and ISO?
The relationship between ISO and UKAS can be slightly confusing if you do not have prior knowledge of compliance standards and the awarding process.
In simple terms, ISO is responsible for creating the standards which companies should adopt if they want to work efficiently and with reduced risk. ISO standards are internationally recognised and agreed with, offering the highest level of compliance that has global notoriety. Although ISO creates both the standards and the audit process for how they are assessed, they do not have a role in awarding to different agencies. Instead, UKAS have the responsibility for saying who has this power. 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.
ISO has a say in this as far as the criteria that awarding bodies must meet, but UKAS confirms who is best placed to conduct the audits. Not only do companies have to achieve the UKAS award, but it is a good idea to only work with businesses as there is a high chance of the standards not being implemented effectively by those without the highest form of approval.
One of the most popular ISO certifications we help award is the ISO 9001 quality management standard. As you will understand, if you look into the ISO 9001 accreditation, the standard is hinged on the quality of people and processes. Ticking the boxes is not enough when it comes to quality. Instead, a business needs to live and breathe the associated systems if they want to benefit from increased business, improved customer satisfaction and reduced insurance costs.
UKAS ensures that only organisations with a keen eye for detail and a proven understanding of every pillar are officially approved to award the certification.
ISO makes the rules, but UKAS implements them.
What Are the Benefits of Using a UKAS Approved Awarding Body?
UKAS accreditation allows businesses a clear view of which awarding bodies for standards are ideal for them to use. If an ISO standard is promoted which has been approved by a UKAS backed organisation, it will hold much more weight.
Brand authenticity and legitimacy directly impacts its reputation. If a company holds both an ISO and UKAS certification, people are more likely to have trust in them. This means that winning more business, impressing new suppliers, and being competitive in the market is all made much easier.
Align With Global Standards
Achieving a compliance award that is UKAS certified also means that a business gains international awareness. It also makes tender processes and new market entries much more accessible as more companies are asking for UKAS-certified awards as a must-have requirement.
UKAS also ensures that the awards being given out by their approved auditors meet global consistency measures. This means that companies who achieve the awards are given the tools and information needed to operate transparently in all markets.
Ensure Technical Competence
Another benefit is that companies who achieve the standards can do so with complete confidence that they are set up for long-term success. Achieving an ISO award can cost you thousands, with lots of time also needed to ensure it is a success.
UKAS ensures that the processes companies follow to meet the highest level of technical competence to give them the best chance of reaping the benefits of their hard work.
How Do I Find UKAS Approved Awarding Bodies
Finding UKAS-approved suppliers is simple; you can search the full list of accredited organisations here. This list is updated regularly to reflect the latest approved suppliers.
You will also notice that any award-bodies who have achieved this level of excellence will want to shout about it in their marketing materials. If you are looking for a UKAS-approved supplier, you will find the logo quickly if they are compliant.
Once you achieve the standard you are applying for, you can also use the fact that you are UKAS audited within your own marketing messaging for improved reach and awareness. Having that stamp of quality will mean more sales and a stronger IT network which we think every business should strive for.
How Can Creative Networks Help Me?
Creative Networks work with a range of UKAS approved suppliers to ensure that our clients only have the best chance of becoming ISO audited. We offer a range of ISO certification services proven to meet the highest standards which we can help businesses achieve with an approved UKAS auditor.
To learn more, contact our knowledgeable team today.