3 mins read

Bringing our values to society

In UKAS’s recently published Annual Report for 2023-24, Strategic Development Director, Jeff Ruddle provided an interesting article on how UKAS accreditation serves society.

UKAS’s unique role as the National Accreditation Body requires us to serve the needs of the UK economy and society. The UKAS strategy enshrines how we address these needs through our purpose, vision and mission.

Our interfaces with partners and our operational work enable us to deliver outcomes that benefit all our stakeholders. Our purpose and mission set out our role to deliver the National Accreditation Service: we strive to bring trust and confidence for markets, government and consumers across the breadth of the UK, both within the constituent nations and for the country as a whole. The independence of accreditation and the expertise of our services create a platform to address societal needs. In our vision statement we recognise that we deliver accreditation “for the benefit of society now and in the future”.

In our vision statement we recognise that we deliver accreditation “for the benefit of society now and in the future”.

Under the stewardship of UK government through the Department for Business and Trade’s Office for Product Safety and Standards, and underpinning national legislation and policy, UKAS accreditation is a foundational pillar of the UK’s national quality infrastructure. UKAS, the British Standards Institution (as the National Standards Body) and the National Physical Laboratory (as the National Measurement Institute), along with government and other partners such as enforcement bodies, help to deliver the required quality, safety, performance and fitness for purpose of products and services within the UK.

UKAS’s strategy recognises our responsibility to society and places it at the heart of how UKAS operates. This can be observed in many of the sectors UKAS accredits within today, such as helping to ensure the safety of the UK’s drinking water supply, providing assurance on the 24/7 operations of hospital pathology laboratories whose work is essential to the National Health Service and in underpinning confidence in forensic science which is so vital to a modern criminal justice system.

However, what society needs confidence in tomorrow will be different to today, and the need for the assurance provided by accreditation does not stand still. UKAS must therefore be agile and adaptable. Part of UKAS’s strategy is to ensure that we consider society’s future accreditation needs and this is evidenced through our engagement with rapidly developing areas such as sustainability, AI and net zero.

In many areas where society demands confidence, both today and for the future, accreditation and UKAS are there, providing the assurance needed that conformity assessment bodies are operating competently and with independence and impartiality.