Having a robust supply chain is an essential element of modern business. Verifying that potential suppliers hold essential accredited certification (such as ISO 9001 for quality management or ISO 14001 for environmental management) is a key part of building a reliable network. Many organisations in both the public and private sectors specify that prospective suppliers must hold UKAS accredited certification. Independently checking the authenticity of each applicant’s certification is an integral part of procurement best practice, but can be a time-consuming and fragmented activity.
To help streamline the process, the United Kingdom Accreditation Service is launching UKAS CertCheck; a free online service for independently verifying UKAS accredited management system certifications.
The value of verification
According to the most recent ISO Survey of Management System Standards, there are approximately 1.6million valid management systems certificates in use across the world. Over 90% of these certificates are from one of the three most popular management system standards; namely ISO 9001 quality management, ISO 14001 environmental management and ISO 45001 occupational health and safety management.
Up until now, procurers wishing to verify a supplier’s claims of UKAS accredited certification had to go through a two-stage process; firstly confirm the authenticity and validity of the certification with the issuing certification body, then separately check with UKAS that the certification body is accredited for that particular activity. By automating and combining the certification and accreditation verification stages into one comprehensive yet straightforward online service, UKAS CertCheck brings speed, clarity and confidence to the accredited certification vetting process.
UKAS CertCheck is a database of over 300,000 management systems certifications issued worldwide by UKAS accredited certification bodies. These certifications cover a vast array of widely recognised and commonly used management systems; ranging from the long-established quality (ISO 9001), environmental (ISO 14001) and occupational health and safety (ISO 45001) standards; to newer information security (ISO 27001), energy management (ISO 50001) and supply chain security (ISO 28000) standards; to more sector-specific standards such as food safety (ISO 22000), medical devices (ISO 13485) and road traffic safety (ISO 39001)
Jeff Ruddle, Strategic Development Director at UKAS said:
“The launch of UKAS CertCheck forms part of a wider drive for UKAS to improve its online services for stakeholders, customers and those who rely on accredited services. Providing a quick and easy way to verify the authenticity and validity of accredited certifications, UKAS CertCheck enhances both the procurement and supply chain management processes. It offers those holding accredited certification a more convenient way to prove their credentials to a potentially wider marketplace, whilst simultaneously providing third party assurance to those specifying accredited certification from their suppliers. In addition to speeding up the tendering process, this reduces the opportunity for fraud, helping businesses work together with greater confidence.”
Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said:
“This new service from UKAS will make it easier for businesses to ensure their suppliers are walking the walk when they talk the talk about holding accredited certification. It’s important that businesses and their suppliers meet the correct standards in the service or products they provide, and CertCheck will help them to verify just that.”
Wayne Terry, Chief Executive of the Association of British Certification Bodies said: “It is an unfortunate fact that some unscrupulous organisations or individuals prey upon the complexity of the existing certification verification process, allowing them to pass off fraudulent or misleading claims, which unfortunately, was amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, defrauding the procurement process undermines the hard work that many organisations go through to achieve valid accredited certification. UKAS CertCheck will give confidence to organisations that rely upon accredited certification helping them ensue those claims are valid.
Echoing Terry’s sentiments, Vince Desmond, CEO of the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) commented: “This is a game changer. Quality professionals and their organisations often have to deal with unaccredited and even counterfeit certification. Making this tool available to relevant people in their businesses will help hugely.”
Features and security
Entirely self-funded, UKAS CertCheck is free to use and open to all. Searching on UKAS CertCheck provides a simple confirmation whether a certification is both genuine and current. Users are able to search by either company name or certificate number, with the results showing all the UKAS accredited certifications held by that company. There is also the option of creating a free of charge account, which provides an increased number of daily searches and allows them to monitor certifications, setup notifications for changes in certification status and directly message certification bodies with relevant enquiries.
To help safeguard customer information and prevent data-scraping, UKAS has implemented several state-of-the-art information security practises to ensure that data and information is used appropriately and maintained securely. Security measures restrict volume searching but access can be made available to large scale procurers by arrangement, with automated search and user-integration services in development.