I have to admit, it makes me physically cringe every time. A CV crosses my desk for an experienced quality manager who has been ‘responsible for maintaining 9001 accreditation’. An exciting new tender comes my way, but I’m required to provide evidence of our ‘accreditation to 9001:2000’.
“No!” I want to shout. I reach for a pen, cross out ‘accreditation’ and write ‘certification’ in big bold capitals. I know no one will ever see it, but it makes me feel better.
For those who are wondering if I’ve lost it right now, let me try to explain.
As a business (in whatever sector), we implement a management system that is compliant to 9001 or similar. That implementation is audited by a certification body, who issues a certificate. The business is now certified to 9001 (or similar).
Certification bodies can be accredited by an accreditation body. This is a confirmation that their processes for conducting certification activities are compliant with the relevant standards.
A small number of accreditation bodies are signatories to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). This provides the governance and expectations for accreditation bodies. The UK signatory is UKAS.
Is your certification body accredited by UKAS?
So, unless you run a certification body, your business is not accredited. And please, for the sake of quality professionals everywhere, stop asking your suppliers for evidence of accreditation – they don’t have it and never will.