Accredited vs Non-Accredited Certification: So what’s the difference anyway?

1 Jun, 2018

We often get asked “What’s the difference between Certification and Accredited Certification?” In principle, the systems are the same, it’s who certificates you and how they do it that’s different.

Updated: Aug 2022

There are many reasons why you may want to adopt a management system.

You could increase your success in tenders, improve internal efficiency, reduce costs or simply prove to your potential customers that you are credible.

The first step however, is to decide which route to take: accredited certification or non-accredited certification.

We often get asked “What’s the difference between accredited and non-accredited certification?” In principle, the systems are the same, it’s who certificates you and how they do it that’s different.

We provide non-accredited certification which means we support each client as they implement one of the internationally recognised management systems such as ISO 9001. When they are ready, we certify them as having a robust management system in place. The support we provide includes templates for documentation, guidance during an onsite visit and telephone support. In the long-term, we revisit them twice a year; once at six months to check that they are still on track and again at the end of the year to re-assess and re-certify them.

Accredited certification, in comparison, is only available after assessment from an accredited body, such as UKAS (UK) and INAB (Ireland). The accredited body cannot provide any help or support, they can only conduct the assessment and give the company a pass or fail.

If we liken this to education, with non-accreditation you take the apprenticeship route and gain the qualification with the help and support of your tutor. With accredited certification, your tutor helps prepare you but the results are based on the final exam… you just have to hope you have done enough.

For many customers, non-accredited certification is more than adequate as it provides the structure needed to improve their business and is well recognised. Should a customer require accredited certification (e.g. if a potential customer, trade association or regulatory body demands it), we can provide ISO Consultancy services to help you get your management system ready for assessment by an accredited body. This helps to increase your chance of passing that exam first time!

Essential facts

Both routes are internationally recognised.

Although, there are occasions when a customer, trade association or regulatory body may request accredited certification, the vast majority of customers only require their suppliers to be certified.

An accredited certification body cannot offer any assistance with the implementation of an ISO Standard.

Next steps

If you’re interested in certification: we offer a range of management systems including the popular ISO 9001 Quality, ISO 27001 Information Security, ISO 14001 Environmental and ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety. A full list of the certifications we offer can be found here.

If you’re interested in our support for accredited certification, we can help you transition from non-accredited to accredited certification in an average of six to nine months. Simply call us on 01905 670303 or email us at info@isoqsltd.com to find out more about our ISO Consultancy service.

ISO Quality Services Ltd are proud to specialise in the implementation and certification of the Internationally recognised ISO and BS EN Management Standards.

Do you want to get ahead of your competition? Win more tenders or save time and money on reoccurring issues? Contact us today on 0330 058 5551 or email info@isoqsltd.com.

Alternatively, you can request a quote by filling out our enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

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