Accreditation is a formal, third party recognition of competence to perform specific tasks. It provides a means to identify a proven, competent evaluator so that the selection of a laboratory, inspection or certification body is an informed choice. UKAS accreditation means the evaluator can demonstrate to its customer that it has been successful at meeting the requirements of international accreditation standards.
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 organisations.
Accreditation by UKAS means that evaluators: testing and calibration laboratories, inspection and certification bodies have been assessed against internationally recognised standards to demonstrate their competence, impartiality and performance capability.