Sunday 9th June 2018 is World Accreditation Day, and this year the theme is ‘Delivering a Safer World’.
This World Day (there are many of them!) is organised and promoted by the International Laboratory Accreditation Corporation (ILAC) and International Accreditation Forum (IAF) both of which are responsible for ensuring the conformity of Certification Bodies. The only British accreditation body is UKAS and they are responsible for assessing Certification Bodies, laboratories and calibration services against internationally agreed standards.
Accreditation and Certification are often used in interchangeably but actually mean two different things:
- Accreditation is where a Certification Body (such as Approachable Certification or IEC or ISOQAR) is formally recognised as being “competent to perform specific processes, activities or tasks (which are detailed in the scope of accreditation) in a reliable credible and accurate manner” (quote from UKAS)
- Certification is where a company has chosen to have their management systems audited and assessed against the requirements by a Certification Body. This demonstrates to their customers that the products and services they offer have been checked by an independent third party and are consistent and reliable
Essentially, individual companies can be certified to a standard (such as ISO 9001:2015 for quality management systems) and Certification Bodies are accredited to provide the certification.
I always check my client’s websites, marketing material and email signatures and have found a surprising amount of companies using accredited when they mean certified so it might be worth checking which word your company is using and making sure it is the right one!