It is important to understand that ISO certification and ISO accredited certification are two different things. ISO accreditation or ISO accredited certification is when a company has achieved an ISO and / or a BS standard by a certification body that is accredited by UKAS or equivalent.Every country has its own version of UKAS (i.e. for Ireland its INAB) and although they are not akin to government, they act as the governing body for certification companies.
Please note that there is only one true accreditation body in each country and any other forms of ‘accreditation bodies’ maybe be misleading. In most countries accreditation is a choice and not an obligation. BSI and the International Organisation for Standardisation themselves actually state that ‘the fact that a certification body is not accredited does not mean that it is not a reputable organisation, for example a certification body operating nationally in a highly specific sector might enjoy such a good reputation that it does not feel there is an advantage for it to go to the expense of being accredited’.
Whilst neither may be viewed by the majority of clients as better than the other, there are a few major differences that are worth being aware of. The main difference being an accredited certification body is unable to implement the systems into the business during the certification process the way we or any other certification body is able to. They can only perform the functions of an assessment / audit body and must not have any involvement in the set-up process. This can therefore mean having to employ a company such as ourselves as the consultant to implement the system and have the accredited body in the certify it.
This not only adds additional expense to the client but also can delay the time it takes to achieve the certification. On the other hand, not only can a certification body act as the consultant to implement the systems into the company, they can certify the company once compliance has been met and then offer support and guidance throughout the year to ensure the company maintains its certification and most importantly uses the systems to the benefit of the company on an on-going basis.
You can read more about these differences and ISO certification on the ISO website here or you can read our article.