Impartiality is one of the cornerstones of accreditation, and is of utmost importance in maintaining the trust that stakeholders should expect from accreditation.
UKAS strongly adheres to the requirement of ISO/IEC 17011: 2017 ‘Conformity assessment – Requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies’ that accreditation shall be undertaken impartially, and the maintenance of impartiality is a key priority at all levels within UKAS.
UKAS is a non-profit distributing company, organised in such a way as to ensure that impartiality is not compromised by commercial, financial or other pressures.
UKAS does not engage in any activities which could compromise its impartiality; it does not provide consultancy to conformity assessment bodies, nor does it undertake any conformity assessment activities itself or have links with bodies providing consultancy to the conformity assessment sector, and it does not promote the services of any such body.
UKAS does provide training to external parties although these courses are confined to the provision of generic information that is freely available in the public domain. Additionally, UKAS can provide advisory services in its area of expertise to stakeholders provided this does not constitute any conflict of interest with UKAS’ role as the UK’s National Accreditation Body. Such services are normally provided internationally to help develop new accreditation bodies or national quality infrastructures.
UKAS applies its policies and procedures in a non-discriminatory way, and its services are available to all UK bodies whose accreditation applications fall within its defined scope of activities. Eligibility is not dependent on size of the applicant, number of bodies already accredited or membership of any association or group.
The impartiality and objectivity of the accreditation services that UKAS provides is tightly controlled. All UKAS assessment personnel and externally contracted assessors, as well as members of UKAS committees, are required to declare any potential conflicts of interest. UKAS takes full regard of this information to ensure the objectivity of the services that it provides. Accreditation decisions are made by competent persons independent of the assessment of the conformity assessment body under review.
UKAS evaluates potential risks to its impartiality on an on-going basis using a number of mechanisms including internal audit, management review and consultation with appropriate interested parties. Where any such risks are identified, UKAS shall put appropriate measures in place to eliminate or minimise them. These measures are monitored for effectiveness.
In the event that customers or other stakeholders have concerns regarding the impartiality or objectivity of UKAS, UKAS has non-discriminatory procedures in place for handling complaints and appeals.