» Working with Local Authorities

UKAS is the UK’s national accreditation body to assess and declare the competence of organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services. UKAS is independent of Government but is appointed as the national accreditation body by the Accreditation Regulations 2009 (SI No 3155/2009) and the EU Regulation (EC) 765/2008 and operates under a Memorandum of Understanding with Government through the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

It is Government policy to recommend the use of UKAS accredited conformity assessment services whenever there is an option. UKAS accreditation supports Local Authorities to deliver improved public services by:

  • Assuring the Authority’s own activities
  • Assuring the products and services the Authority procures
  • Assuring the products and services the Authority specifies
  • Supporting the work of Trading Standards and Environmental Health Officers

Accreditation is increasingly being recognised as a valuable tool across a wide range of local government policy areas including better local regulation, good governance, fair markets and public confidence.  It is already being used by local government as an effective market-led tool for delivering policy more efficiently and to help deliver on its obligations in areas as diverse as adult social care, food safety, construction and building safety, data security and animal welfare:

  • supporting local authority enforcement and monitoring
  • increasing consumer and business confidence
  • reducing the need for local authorities to employ additional specialist assessment staff

 

Assuring the Authority’s own activities

Local Authorities can seek accreditation to demonstrate competence and impartiality in areas such as:

  • Food safety – supporting the work of Public Analysts
  • Environmental Services – testing of air quality, waters, and land contaminations
  • Building Safety – asbestos testing and surveying, legionella risk assessments
  • Construction – highways testing, building acoustics, ambient noise, sound-proofing
  • Calibration – Weights and measures

A step-by step guide through the accreditation process is available here.

Local Authorities are also using accredited services to improve their operations. It may gain UKAS accredited certification to demonstrate compliance to a quality management system (QMS), environmental management system (EMS), information security management system (ISMS) or Energy management system (EnMS). See the list of UKAS accredited organisations.

Case Studies:

 

Supporting Local Authority Procurement

Local Authorities can demonstrate that organisations they procure from are competent and will therefore deliver to expectations. These services could include:

  • Environmental Services – testing of air quality, waters, and land contaminations
  • Building Safety – asbestos testing and surveying, legionella risk assessments
  • Construction – highways testing, building acoustics, ambient noise, sound-proofing
  • Fire safety – materials testing, safety inspections and risk assessments
  • Management Systems Certification
  • Testing of sports grounds and playgrounds

See the list of UKAS accredited organisations.

Case Studies:

 

Assuring services specified by Local Authorities

Specifying the use of UKAS accredited services in local authority contracts can support the delivery of this work. This will ensure that work is carried out in line with requirements, and maintain the local authority reputation. These areas will include:

  • Adult care homes – inspection
  • Planning and Building Control
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Highways and Construction
  • Animal welfare
  • Waste Management

 Case Studies:

Supporting Local Authority Enforcement and Monitoring

UKAS accreditation underpins a wide range of activities that support trading standards from the national measurement system to health and safety. Many trading standards officers have used UKAS accreditation to inform their work for many years - the presence of accredited testing, inspection or certification can be taken as a sign that a business is looking to provide a quality product or service but also that it takes its legal obligations seriously. This provides valuable information for Trading Standards Officers and allows them to focus on where the risk of non-compliance is highest.

Further information is available in a briefing for Local Authority Heads of Service – a guide on how accreditation can help you.

 

Local authority staff who are involved in specification and procurement can visit the Public Sector Assurance website to see how the public sector in the UK and other countries is using standards and accreditation in key policy areas. This is supported by independent research and supporting information.

 

Further information