What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is an endorsement of an organization's competence, credibility, independence and integrity in carrying out its conformity assessment activities.
Accreditation is a service undertaken in the public interest so that business users, final consumers, government departments and local authorities can have trust, right through to the final link in the production and distribution chain, in the quality and safety of the goods and services available in an increasingly globalized market.
Usually the reason for getting something independently evaluated is to confirm it meets specific requirements in order to reduce risks. Obvious examples are product failure, health risks, company reputation or to meet legal or customer requirements. Anything or anyone can be evaluated - products, equipment, people, management systems or organizations.
Did you know that 'ISO Accreditation' does not actually exist? What people really mean is 'ISO Certification'.
Strangely enough there is, in point of fact, no such thing as 'ISO Certification'.
Nevertheless many Consultants and Certification Bodies will offer 'ISO Certification' and choose not to explain this very common misnomer to potential clients through fear of confusing them.
ISO do not issue, authorise the issue of, or recognise any type of certification.
What we are in fact looking at is a 'Certificate' from an Independent Qualified Third Party which states that your 'ISO Systems' have been Independently and impartially audited by a Qualified Auditor and have met the requirements of the particular ISO Standards in place.
In most situations this is all that is required in order for an organisation to prove to their clients that their management systems have been externally and impartially audited.
In some circumstances, an existing client or potential client may request that both Audit and Certification are provided by an Accredited Certification Body which has itself been independently audited, certified and accredited by one of the only three recognised UK Accreditation Body which AIUK.
The Certification an Accredited Certification Body holds is called 'Accreditation' which is the qualification of the Certification Body, which assures you that they are a fit and proper organisation to carry out audits and provide valued and accepted certification.
This 'Accreditation' is achieved when the Certification Body is able to demonstrate by means of External and Impartial audit by AIUK that they work to the requirements of ISO 17021:2011, which is the International Standard for 'Accredited Certification Bodies'.
Remember: Certification Bodies get 'Accredited' by Accreditation Body AIUK and Certification Bodies issue 'Certification'.