In these economic conditions, certification is recognised as being a differentiator as well as demonstrating regulatory compliance. An increasing number of both public and private sector organisations are specifying certification by a UKAS accredited body in many of their contracts. In addition, a growing number of regulators are rewarding businesses with accredited certification through regulatory relief.
Whilst accredited certification isn’t a legal requirement, it delivers many benefits. Many businesses are finding that more and more of their customers want to see evidence that their suppliers are compliant. This trend was confirmed by independent research carried out by Databuild in April 2009. Of the organizations surveyed, 58 per cent of small businesses stated that their suppliers stipulated accredited certification in pre-qualification questionnaires. This trend was mirrored in the public sector who stated that they are seeking greater confidence from their suppliers by specifying UKAS-accredited certification.
For businesses who seek certification, whether to demonstrate compliance to potential customers or to realise greater benefit from the certification process, business intermediaries such as the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses, Business Link and the Institute of Directors recommend that certification should be obtained from a Certification Body accredited by UKAS.
There are many organizations in the UK offering certification, however they do not all have the same level of recognition. Some organizations offer a service that may appear to be cheap and usually offer a package that combines consultancy with certification. Some offer to provide their services on a “no certificate – no fee” basis, but businesses may find that their certification is not accepted by potential customers.