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Everyday impact of accreditation

For her article in the UKAS Annual Report, our Operations Director, Lynsey Poyner describes her formative experiences at the UK’s national accreditation body and how the customer journey is central to her vision of how accreditation will remain the foundation enabling seamless supply chains and confidence in products and services.

As the newly appointed Operations Director, I am honoured to be part of UKAS and to have the opportunity to propel our operational performance in the pursuit of excellence. What is evident in my early tenure with the organisation is the clear and committed drive from individual colleagues and their awareness of the collective contribution that this makes to UKAS’s vision to be the world’s foremost accreditation body, recognised and respected for the development and delivery of accreditation services for the benefit of society now and in the future.

It is abundantly clear to me that the pathway to achievement of this vision, is to ensure that the services we provide are efficient and meet the needs of customers and the wider society that we exist to serve. If accreditation is to remain the foundation that enables seamless supply chains and assures confidence of the products and services we procure – the customer journey in the pursuit of this must also be seamless. Focus must be placed on the customer experience and where we can collaborate with our stakeholders to ensure that we are responsive to their needs.

This is not a one size fits all approach. Last year’s report outlined desires to use exemplars of methods from the pandemic to ensure an approach to assessment that satisfied both technical rigour and utilised the technological innovations that we find available to ourselves. UKAS will work to continue this trajectory; refining practices that bring together a global network of experts and peers that make options such as remote and blended audits available, not just as a response to a crisis – but as an efficacious tool that brings together a multitude of benefits for all involved. The necessity for on-site assessments will always prevail – but understanding the value of disrupting the status quo and a constant evaluation of what is appropriate in each industry is key to remaining agile and adaptive to today’s world.

As the value of accreditation is recognised and flourishes, so must UKAS. It is imperative that we endeavour to ensure all colleagues at all levels feel empowered and confident to deliver our services. Last year’s report indicated a high level of growth within UKAS in the mission to meet these demands and this evolution continues. Focus will remain on building our skilled resources to meet demand, alongside a careful appraisal of the technical integrity of the induction process. This will ensure continuation of the quality of services all colleagues provide are in line with our strategic objectives – namely ‘to excel in areas of technical expertise and service’. When reflecting on the benefits of accreditation, I am drawn to the promotion of a learning culture; to never tire of the idea that continuous improvement is exactly that, continuous, and it is with this ethos I lead our operational teams.

With the strive for operational excellence at the heart of our activities here at UKAS, it is worth noting that our strength lies in the engagement between all disciplines within our organisation. The natural breadth of the work of the Operations team means that collaboration and understanding the input all the UKAS directors have in each other’s missions will be of the upmost importance. It is with this vigour I look forward to working with my fellow directors to achieve our mission: to build a world of trust and confidence in the products and services accreditation underpins.