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The power of choosing an accredited certification body

28 February 2024
8-minute read

Join NQA UK Commercial Director Samantha Roberts as she discusses the value of accreditation for businesses eager to advance and succeed in today’s dynamic global marketplace.

Accreditation: A stamp of trust & competence

Businesses worldwide are increasingly required to showcase their management system effectiveness, adherence to standards and regulatory compliance.

Accreditation is a key factor in selecting a certification body for your management system, as it ensures impartiality, competence and consistency according to:

Put simply, accreditation independently evaluates certification bodies like NQA to make sure they are impartial, competent and consistent. This accreditation allows NQA to certify business clients, confirming that their management systems follow vital processes and procedures.

While accreditation may not be mandatory in all countries and industries, having an accredited certification body certify your management system can be a powerful move in the direction of success.

Key considerations when choosing an accredited certification body

Selecting an accredited certification body like NQA involves careful consideration. Some of the factors you might want to consider include:

Key consideration #1: Accreditation scope

Does the certification body's accreditation scope cover the standard or scheme relevant to your business?

For example, NQA supports clients pursuing ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) and many of the other certification standards we are accredited to.

Key consideration #2: IAF MLA recognition

Is your certification body accredited by an organisation aligned to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA), such as UKAS (see below)?

IAF MLA signatories undergo peer evaluation to ensure compliance with standards and IAF requirements, providing a reliable mark of competence.

Key consideration #3: UKAS accreditation

Are you exploring certification bodies in the United Kingdom? If so, a crucial consideration is determining whether they hold accreditation from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

UKAS accreditation is appointed by the UK Government, serving as a robust assurance that the certification body:

  • Adheres to rigorous criteria

  • Upholds impartiality

  • Maintains high-performance standards

How accreditations complement one another on a global scale

The IAF MLA and UKAS exist to make sure that accredited certifications are recognised by those who have agreed to the arrangement. It leads to accredited certifications being accepted in various markets, all based on a single accreditation.

An example is OLR, an Oracle Retail implementation partner and NQA client for ISO 27001 (Information Security Management). With four global locations – the UK, Portugal, India and the USA – the company leverages their ISO 27001 certificate to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to robust information security measures to an international client base. 

The benefits of using an accredited certification body

Opting for an accredited certification body to validate your management system goes beyond a compliance checkbox exercise.

There are plenty of advantages of opting to an accredited certification body like NQA, including:

Benefit of an accredited certification body #1: Reduced risk

With accreditation comes greater confidence and independence in the certification body, reducing the risk for the client.

NQA’s accreditation guarantees that our certification process for your management system adheres to recognised standards and practices.

Benefit of an accredited certification body #2: Global market access

Certificates issued by NQA are recognised worldwide, facilitating access to international markets.

It is because of this global seal of approval that NQA:

  • Operates in more than 90 countries

  • Has issued 50,000 certificates globally

  • Employs over 1,000 people worldwide

Delve into NQA’s international expertise and track record by visiting our About page.

Benefit of an accredited certification body #3: Business growth

More and more government and private organisations are encouraging – if not requiring – services to have certifications from accredited bodies. By leveraging this increasing demand, your business can tap into new opportunities.

For example, the UK National Health Service (NHS) has outlined a net zero roadmap. To support their goal of becoming the world’s first net zero national health service, they encourage supply chain partners to seek conformity to standards like:

Read NQA’s recent blog on ISO certification within the NHS and global healthcare here.

Benefit of an accredited certification body #4: Best practice

An accredited certification body is required to have appropriate sector-specific knowledge.

NQA recruits assessors with appropriate knowledge of different client industries and management systems. Alongside the necessary soft skills such as client communication and pragmatism, every assessor must undergo extensive training – with our minimum competency requirements far exceeding those expected of UKAS.

Why do clients choose NQA as their certification body?

Clients select NQA for various reasons, from value-for-money to exceptional customer support.

For Affinity Water, the UK’s largest water-only supplier and NQA client for four ISO standards, “NQA was selected as an appropriate, accredited certification body due to their experience in the water industry and familiarity with the standards.

The audit team is what makes NQA stand out. The opening meeting, which is attended by senior company management, is presented in a professional manner and provides everybody with a full explanation of the processes to be expected."

Did you know? There is a way to gain insight into a certification body’s performance and reputation. UKAS offers a free search engine, Certcheck, for independently verifying UKAS-accredited management system certifications.

An insight into UKAS-accredited management systems

NQA offers a versatile range of critical management systems covered by UKAS, including:

Looking to explore all ISO standards offered by NQA? Visit our certification page for more details.

Final thoughts from NQA

In the complex certification landscape, selecting an accredited certification body is a decision that resonates throughout your business and beyond.

Renowned certification bodies like NQA are a beacon of trust, competence, and global recognition. By choosing NQA, you deliver on compliance while embarking on a journey of continuous improvement and excellence in the global marketplace.

Learn more about NQA as a certification body. Discover our values and services provided.

Wish to speak about certifying your management system with NQA? Contact our friendly team.