» UKAS and Brexit

Following the triggering of Article 50 on March 29, 2017, UKAS has been working to ensure that those within Government dealing with Brexit are aware of the importance of accreditation to the national economy, and also to trade with the EU and internationally. Regular meetings are being held with Ministers and officials in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) and the Department for International Trade (DIT). Following consultation with customers and stakeholders, the key messages being communicated to Government include:

  • Regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, it is vitally important for UK business that UKAS’ recognition as the UK National Accreditation Body continues.
  • Maintaining European and international recognition through continuing membership of EA, ILAC and IAF is extremely important for UKAS, for UKAS’ customers and for users of accredited services.
  • Continued access to notified bodies, or other mutually recognised bodies, will be important for UK businesses.
  • If new trade agreements are required between the UK and the EU, consideration will need to be given to how any required testing or inspection is carried out and how the competence of the organisations is assessed. Accreditation is likely to be required for this purpose.
  • It will be essential for UK industry that accreditation is given due recognition in any new international trade agreements that emerge.

UKAS has prepared a Leaflet outlining the implications of Brexit for accreditation and conformity assessment and setting out these key objectives. This has been distributed to a wide range of Government Ministers and officials.

Progress:

  • Assurances received, including at Ministerial level, that the principles of EU Regulation 765/2008, which provides the legal framework for accreditation, will be adopted into UK legislation by the EU Withdrawal Act and that our appointment as the National Accreditation Body will continue.
  • The European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) has confirmed that UKAS can continue as a member during the implementation period agreed until December 2020 (see the Prime Minister’s letter to business below). EA has also agreed to give further consideration to changes to the membership criteria to ensure that UKAS can continue as a member body beyond this date.
  • The agreement of the implementation period also provides certainty that the work of UK Notified Bodies will continue to be recognised during this time.
  • The Government has confirmed its intention to seek to ensure that ‘products only need to undergo one series of approvals to show that they meet the required regulatory standards’ and that ‘a comprehensive system of mutual recognition’ will be needed to achieve this (see the reference to the Prime Minister’s Mansion House speech and the Brexit White Paper below).
  • Discussions with DIT officials preparing for trade agreements with countries outside the EU during which the principle of mutual recognition of accredited conformity assessment has been accepted.

As the situation develops and discussions with UK government and other relevant authorities progress, these pages will keep you updated on the latest information regarding UKAS and accreditation.

References:

Further information