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Assessing the impact of UKAS CertCheck in its first year

It has been over a year since the launch of CertCheck, the free-to-use UKAS online database of management system certifications. The database now contains over 400,000 certifications from over 100 Certification Bodies. Widely used ISO standards, such as ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management), ISO 45001 (Health and Safety Management) and over 15 other international standards and schemes can be searched for within the system, helping users verify the accredited status of management system certifications quickly and easily in their supply chains.

Users can register for a free account with CertCheck, allowing them to set up alerts that notify them of any changes in the status of accredited certifications in their supply chain.

UKAS CertCheck has proven to be an effective tool in speeding up the supply chain management examination process.

Covering a wide range of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, construction, environmental management and many more, CertCheck provides a number of advantages to users, leading to enhanced efficiency and potential commercial benefits.

The centralised platform allows users to verify both the accredited status of the issuing Certification Body and the current status of the issued certification, reducing what was once a two-stage process into one simple search. The ability to add certifications that form part of the supply chain into a ‘watch-list’, means the system will automatically notify users of any changes to the accreditation status of these certifications, circumventing the need to check manually.

Because it is mandatory for all Certification Bodies issuing management system certifications to regularly upload their certification data into CertCheck, users conducting searches can be certain of the accuracy of what they return and can trust that it is up to date. Additionally, the CertCheck database has enabled UKAS to detect fraudulent claims of UKAS accreditation and fake certifications, providing strengthened safety measures for purchasers and those taking advantage of accredited certification services. It has also helped to enhance trust in the worth of accredited certification.

CertCheck, which has been in operation for a year, has been received positively by government and other industry stakeholders. Paul Scully, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, highlighted the usefulness of the system by stating “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.”

UKAS Certification Bodies that are required to upload their data into CertCheck have also provided positive feedback about the system. Certification Bodies expressed that they wanted to make it clearer that their certifications could be verified on CertCheck, because of the credibility this gives them. In response, UKAS developed a range of marketing assets which could be shared with their own customers to explain the value and importance of this service.

Taking into account responses from the people who use CertCheck to gain valuable assurance about the robustness of their supply chains, UKAS has implemented an improvement to the system that permits users to carry out their weekly quota of searches in a more efficient manner. This adjustment does not impact existing safeguards against scraping data, yet it does allow users to complete their tasks faster, and without being disrupted.

Over the past year, as the system has been used to house data and for users to conduct searches, UKAS has been monitoring this valuable market data and has begun the process of analysing it to discover and track trends and identify insights into the UKAS accredited certification sector.

By staying informed about changes in certification status, businesses can adapt their strategies and stay ahead of the competition. Overall, the market data stored in CertCheck could help businesses to make informed decisions, identify market trends, and stay competitive in their respective industries.

UKAS intends to use the data contained within CertCheck to better serve the certification industry in a number of ways:

  • Market analysis: By analysing the data, UKAS can identify market trends and patterns in certification activity. This information may increase understanding around the demand for different types of certifications.
  • Performance evaluation: UKAS can used the data to evaluate the performance of Conformity Assessment Bodies. By monitoring certification activities and outcomes, it will be possible to identify any areas of improvement or potential risks in the certification process.
  • Industry benchmarking: The data can be used to establish benchmarks for certification processes. UKAS can compare the performance of different Conformity Assessment Bodies and identify best practices that can be shared across the industry.
  • Policy development: The insights gained from the data can inform the development of policies and regulations related to certification. UKAS can use the data to assess the effectiveness of existing regulations and propose improvements or new measures based on industry trends and needs.

The introduction of the CertCheck database has made significant enhancements to the confidence held in accredited management system certifications by streamlining the validation process for businesses and ensuring compliance more efficiently. Moving forward, UKAS CertCheck aims to further refine its service, bolster its technological capabilities, and extend its reach to cater to a broader array of industries. As the future unfolds, UKAS CertCheck continues to amplify the proficiency of supply chains, bolstering the confidence held in accredited certification and delivering exceptional value to those that rely on it.