Introducing the UK Quality Infrastructure and how it can benefit UK PLC and benefit developing and transition economies
Trading relationships are built on, amongst other things, an important structure of standards, agreements, codes and regulations designed to ensure that when businesses and consumers buy something they get exactly what they expect.
For these standards, agreements, codes and regulations to carry weight, they must be written and implemented rigorously and consistently in ways that give everyone involved a high level of confidence in the outcome. It was to enable this consistent rigour that the concept of National Quality Infrastructures emerged.
The UKQI comprises BSI (British Standards Institution), Office for Product Safety and Standards (formerly the National Measurement and Regulation Office), NPL (National Physical Laboratory) and UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service These institutions oversee standardization, testing and measurement, certification, and accreditation in the UK as part of the UK’s National Quality Infrastructure
- Standardisation – creates the national and international standards that describe good practice in how things are made and done.
- Conformity assessment – testing and certification to ensure the quality, performance, reliability or safety of products meet specifications and standards before they enter the market.
- Measurement – implementation of specifications and standards to ensure accuracy, validity and consistency
- Accreditation – ensures that those who carry out conformity assessment, testing, certification and inspection are competent to do so.
Within the UK, National Quality Infrastructure partners play a vital role in supporting businesses to develop , innovate and commercialise their products and services innovations. Standards underpinned by accredited conformity assessment are a key component of modern economic infrastructure and play a crucial and often invisible role in supporting economic growth.
International work of the UKQI
The UKQI network was launched in 2015 with BEIS funding support to providing a comprehensive range of services to overseas governments wishing to build the capacity of their own National Quality Infrastructure.
NQI partners provide a comprehensive range of consultancy and specialist to governments around the world. These include:
- Capacity building services
- Needs analysis in order to target the intervention in the most efficient and effective way
- Legislative review and advice on how the regulatory framework can be improved
- Consultancy and training
- Technical assistance covering standards, accreditation, metrology and quality assessment