» Stakeholder engagement

03 April, 2018

Stakeholder Engagement

As the National Accreditation Body, UKAS is required to serve the interests of a broad range of stakeholders. These range from our direct customers, major purchasing organisations, large and small business, to consumers and government regulators. In order to keep in touch with the needs of these stakeholders, UKAS has a number of well-established forums for seeking their input into strategy and policy development. These include the Policy Advisory Forum (PAF) and Council (PAC) and a range of Technical Advisory Committees (TACs). The effective working of these groups is extremely important to UKAS.

The PAF meets annually with the most recent meeting held on 13 March at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in London. Around 40 representatives of stakeholder bodies attended to hear presentations from BEIS on the newly formed Office of Product Safety and Standards (see separate article) and from UKAS on its strategy and business planning process, preparations for Brexit and a recent stakeholder survey.

On Brexit, the PAF was informed that UKAS had established good contacts with the relevant government departments and that good progress was being made to ensure that the mutual recognition of accreditation and accredited services was properly covered in the trade agreement being negotiated with the EU. Attention was also drawn to the new UKAS and Brexit page on the UKAS website which consolidates in one place all the information about UKAS’ response to Brexit.

Following the presentations, opportunity was provided for PAF members to provide feedback to UKAS using interactive technology. The feedback received in this way will be extremely valuable to UKAS in taking forward its strategic plan for the next three years.

Despite the valuable input received from the PAF, PAC and TACs, UKAS recognises that these forums are not routinely used as a means of gathering feedback on the value and benefits of UKAS accreditation, and more specifically whether those stakeholders who specify accreditation, are satisfied it is delivering market confidence.

Considering the above and as the breadth and depth of UKAS accredited activities continues to grow within the UK, it was determined by UKAS that it would be beneficial to develop a mechanism for gathering feedback from stakeholders who specify accreditation. This feedback, in parallel with UKAS’s existing mechanisms, will enable UKAS to gather valuable insight into the perceptions of accreditation in the market place, what works well and what may need to be improved to support the ongoing integrity of the accreditation process.

To gain this feedback from UKAS stakeholders who are specifiers of accreditation, a short on-line survey was developed and sent out in December 2017. The results of this survey have recently been received and UKAS is currently collating and reviewing the responses.