» BSI and UKAS highlight Government-wide role for standards and accreditation

28 June, 2010

Against a backdrop of unprecedented challenges to the public purse and a desire to challenge all aspects of public sector activity, BSI and UKAS held their annual House of Lords reception to raise the spectre of the role standards and accreditation can play in delivering Government policy. The joint BSI/UKAS reception highlighted how standards and accreditation can provide practical, business-focussed solutions to address key areas of Government policy.

In introducing the event, Lord Lindsay, Chairman of UKAS – the United Kingdom Accreditation Service – commented “There is growing recognition that standards and accreditation can make a major contribution to the delivery of public services, especially at this time when departments and agencies are having to find savings in their budgets and are looking for more cost effective ways of delivering services. He continued, “With every penny of public spending being scrutinized, the ability of standards to deliver fast, market-focussed answers to help governments find quick-win solutions has never been more important.””

Mike Low, Director Standards, BSI added “BSI works across a wide range of areas and provides off-the-shelf, cost effective, practical solutions to the issues that governments are addressing, not just in the UK. For example, the Department of Health has adopted BSI’s Business Continuity Management standard, BS 25999, to help with resilience in the NHS. We are also delighted that in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security has just approved BS 25999 as one of three standards for its Private Sector Preparedness program to improve companies’ readiness for disasters and emergencies.” He added, “Many countries have seen the benefit of using standards as a major enabler to more efficient public procurement and we would encourage more of this in the UK. I would also encourage the UK Government to support innovation in the UK by using standards to help reduce the risk of being early adopter and leading the way.”

BSI and UKAS were joined at the Reception by Lord James. With a diverse career from senior roles in the City, to Chairman of the Millennium Dome (and credited with its recovery) and author of the 2005 James Review of Tax-Payer Value, Lord James gave warning of the need for sensible decision making to ensure more can be delivered with less. Lord James commented “There is the need for creative Government initiatives. Not least, these are needed for kick-starting a great many businesses which have fallen into distress in the recession, many of whom are under the recovery arms of banks. Standards and accreditation provide a very positive means of delivering a confident solution to many issues Government has to address, such as assisting struggling businesses. They are a great illustration of how some different thinking could provide real benefit in public service delivery and business support.”