United Kingdom

Case studies, Research and Supporting Materials specific to United Kingdom.

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Accredited organisations exempt from SFA’s apprenticeship approvals

The Skills Funding Agency, an executive agency of the Department for Education (DfE), has set a policy goal of creating 3 million more apprentices by 2020. To support this goal, the agency provides funding in the form of grants for small businesses and levy relief for large organisations. The aim of this policy is to boost the skills of the UK workforce and in turn help to improve economic productivity.

Apprenticeships are full-time paid jobs which incorporate on and off the job training. A successful apprentice will receive a nationally recognised qualification on the completion of their contract. Apprenticeships take between one and five years to complete and are available in 1,500 occupations across 170 industries varying from construction to manufacturing through to IT and the creative and digital sectors.

In order to measure the effectiveness of the apprenticeship programme, the government has put in place a rigorous system to ensure that the content of each apprenticeship is of high quality and that the apprentice will be assessed fairly and consistently at the end of the apprenticeship, to ensure they have full occupational competence in the job. The Skills Funding Agency runs a register of organisations that are approved to carry out the assessment of apprentices.

Their guidance for applicant assessment organisations provides for the possibility of an exemption from some of the application requirements for UKAS accredited organisations. More information about the register is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-of-apprentice-assessment-organisations-how-to-apply (See section 25).

Accredited certification underpins Veterinary Medicines Agency’s work

The UK Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) protects animal health, public health and the environment. VMD is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

It is responsible for:

  • monitoring and taking action on reports of bad effects from veterinary medicines
  • testing for residues of veterinary medicines or illegal substances in animals and animal products
  • assessing applications for and authorising companies to sell veterinary medicines in the UK and the EU
  • controlling how veterinary medicines are made and distributed
  • advising government ministers on developing veterinary medicines policy and putting it into action
  • making, updating and enforcing UK legislation on veterinary medicines

The organisation has accredited certification for quality management (ISO 9001) and information security management (ISO 27001) to demonstrate the systems and processes they have in place, the quality of staff and their commitment to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the services they provide to customers.

Further information is available on the UK Government website.

Scotland’s Environment Agency uses accreditation to monitor operator emissions.

In line with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) implementation of the Regulatory Evidence Strategy (RES), which provides a framework for SEPA’s approach to collecting information about the activities they regulate, the Agency has introduced the Measurement Assurance and Certification Scotland scheme (MACS). The Scheme, which forms part of the Agency’s better environmental regulation programme, relates to operator self-monitoring.

In order to establish a robust quality assurance framework, and to have confidence in its regulatory decision making, the MACS scheme is based on accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025. SEPA requires laboratories to be UKAS accredited to perform environmental analysis. The scheme covers the entire monitoring process: from planning and scheduling to sampling, analysis and data reporting.

The scheme is a further example of how accreditation can be used to support policy objectives. Further information about the scheme can be found on the SEPA website.

Accreditation ensures reliability of paternity testing

UK Courts can ask for a scientific DNA paternity test to check the parentage of a child if parties cannot agree on whether a DNA test should be done. Paternity tests, instructed by a Court, can only be carried out in a laboratory that is accredited for this scope to ISO/IEC 17025.

Further information is available on the HM Courts and Tribunals Service website.

Ensuring the safety of animal by-products

Processors of animal by-products, such as animal carcasses or kitchen waste, need to test samples of their products to check they are safe to use. Processors include organisations such as composting facilities, petfood factoiries, fertiliser factories, biodiesel plants, blood processors, and milk processors. In order to ensure their safety, testing of samples must be carried out by an accredited testing laboratory.

Further information is available on the UK Government website.

Noise emission in the environment by equipment for use outdoors

If a business uses or manufactures machinery designed for use outdoors, such as lawnmowers or generators, the UK the National Measurement and Regulation Office (NMRO) relies on accredited testing to support its enforcement of the noise emission regulations. Equipment must be tested and passed by a notified body which is accredited by the national accreditation body. 

Further information is available on the UK Government website.

Ensuring the effective use of CCTV through accredited certification

The UK Government has introduced a surveillance camera code of practice contains 12 guiding principles to ensure that cameras are only ever used proportionately, transparently and effectively by the relevant authorities (police, police crime commissioners, local authorities and non-regular police forces). Accredited Third party certification enables organisations to clearly demonstrate that they comply with the surveillance camera code of practice. Certification enables organisations to demonstrate to communities that they use their CCTV systems transparently, effectively and proportionately. It also indicates best practice and compliance with the code.

The scheme is open to any organisation operating a public space CCTV system. The certification process is carried out for the Surveillance Camera Commissioner by UKAS accredited certification bodies.

Further information is available on the Home Office website.

Reliability of Soil testing results supported by accreditation

The UK’s Environment Agency has established a Monitoring Certification Scheme (MCERTS) to deliver high quality environmental measurements involving the chemical testing of soil. The scheme involves the accredited product certification of instruments, the competency certification of personnel and the accreditation of laboratories based on international standards.

The benefits of MCERTS for the chemical testing of soil are that the scheme:

  • provides formal accreditation of laboratories in accordance with European and international standards
  • provides assurance to all stakeholders (including industrial process operators, laboratories, regulators and the public) of the reliability of data from tests
  • establishes a level playing field in this competitive market, based on the Environment Agency’s requirements
  • indicates that the chemical testing of soil is a critical component in producing defensible data for regulatory purposes
  • promotes and raises the professional standing of laboratories by establishing “quality standards” to which all should aspire and be judged.

Further information is available on EA website.


Construction tenders in Northern Ireland require accredited EMS

In Northern Ireland, all construction works contracts procured by a Centre of Procurement Expertise (CoPE) will include a requirement that all main contractors seeking to tender shall have and maintain an Environmental Management System (EMS) certified by a third party.

Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) in conjunction with the CoPEs will approve and accept third party certification of an EMS provided that:

  • it is based on a recognised standard – for example, ISO 14001, BS8555 or equivalent and
  • it is construction focused incorporating site inspections and
  • the third party certification body is accredited or recognised

Further information is available on the Department website.



World Bank-GFDRR report cites accreditation to support building control

The World Bank-GFDRR report Building Regulation for Resilience: Managing Risks for Safer Cities released in April 2016 outlines the benefits of strong and effective building regulatory frameworks. The report provides a resource to assist policy makers, governments, donor entities, as well as key private sector players in leveraging good-practice building regulation to underpin risk reduction strategies. It addresses vulnerability reduction in cities across the developing world and proposes to support disaster-prone countries in implementing effective regulatory reform.

The use of accredited testing, inspection and certification are referenced as tools to support local regulators and building control.

Download the Report | Executive Summary

Accreditation supports forensic activities of UK Tax Office

HMRC, the UK Tax Department, uses accredited forensic science services to support investigations including questioned documents, DNA analysis, examination of road oil fuel, examination of drug traces on money and digital and telecommunications analysis.

Further details of the service can be found here.

Accredited certification supports healthcare information

The UK’s Department of Health has adopted an accredited certification scheme to support people in using health and social care information and, in doing so, help people to make confident, informed decisions about their health and social care. The Information Standard mark can help people make these decisions with confidence because it offers reassurance that health and social care information carrying the mark is from a reliable source.

The Information Standard can be part of helping people to:

  • understand their health and care
  • make effective decisions for themselves and their families
  • help with uncertainty as to what information they should trust

Further information is available here.


Accredited food assurance schemes guarantee defined standards of food safety

In the UK, food assurance schemes help to provide consumers and businesses with guarantees that food has been produced to particular standards. These schemes are mainly voluntary arrangements although many food businesses make certification in an assurance scheme a specification requirement for their suppliers.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) maintains close contact with assurance schemes because of their potential to promote farm practices that contribute to recommended policy. They also monitor whether communications and claims made by assurance schemes are accurate.

Generally, food assurance schemes are run as accredited product certification schemes. These schemes use regular independent inspections to check that members are meeting specific standards and often use logos on consumer products to indicate this fulfilment. Examples of the schemes include:

  • Assured Food Standards (Red Tractor)
  • Lion Eggs – a quality code of practice that ensures eggs have been produced to the highest standards of food safety
  • the Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) – offers consumers a legal guarantee that the meat they buy has come from animals that have spent their whole lives being raised to very strict standards
  • Farm Assured Welsh Livestock (FAWL) – strengthens consumer confidence by providing assurance of farm standards in Wales
  • the Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (NIFQAS) – provides high standards for farmed meat in Northern Ireland
  • Scottish Quality Cereals (SQC) – a food safety certification scheme for crops that ensures high standards of farm management and operations and therefore the wholesomeness or safety of the food produced or the health of the environment or countryside
  • the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) – an assurance scheme for animal feed and fertiliser sold to professional and non-professional users, and on documentation accompanying grain for feed and food use

There are also a number of smaller ‘niche’ schemes that aim to meet particular consumer demands, such as higher animal welfare and environmental or organic standards.

Further information is available on the UK Government website. 

Vehicle type approval

The Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) is an Executive Agency of the United Kingdom Department for Transport (DfT), charged with operating the system of automotive type approval in the UK. VCA is the designated UK Approval Authority and a Technical Service for all type approvals to automotive EC Directives and most United Nations (UN) Regulations. VCA is accredited to provide assurance to the market.

Further information is available on the DfT webiste.




Gaming machines and online gambling underpinned by accreditation

Licence holders must ensure that gambling products have been tested by a test house before they are released to the market. The UK Regulator, the Gambling Commission, publishes a list of approved test houses that are approved to test compliance against the relevant technical standards and requirements including:

The list includes details of which technical standards and requirements each test house can check compliance against. All test houses be accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 by an ILAC Signatory accreditation body.

Further information is available on the Gambling Commission website.

MHRA recommends use of accredited point of care testing

Management and use of IVD point of care test devices

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) states that Any site providing a POCT service should undergo accreditation. Accreditation is assessment, by an external body, of the competence to provide a service to a recognised standard. By having this independently confirmed, POCT providers are able to give reassurance to users of their service.

Further information is available from the MHRA website.


Accredited dog breeding licence controls to protect puppies

DEFRA, the UK’s Government Department responsible for Farming, Agriculture and the Environment, has recognised the value of accreditation as it looks to strengthen the regulations around dog breeding and pet sales.

Local authorities are able to better target their enforcement activity by directing less resource at responsible businesses, for example those who are controlled by the Kennel Club’s accredited Assured Breeders’ Scheme – which has 6,000 members. This will free up resources to follow-up on reports of poor welfare at backstreet breeding establishments.

Further information is available on the UK Government website.



NHS requires cancer screening to be carried out in accredited laboratories

NHS England has issued a service specification requiring that all pathology laboratories dealing with cancer screening programmes are formally accredited by United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) or equivalent, to ensure the quality and reliability of results.

Further information on NHS requirements is available here.

Supporting the Welsh Government with approved Quarantine Units

The UK is proposing to establish a project to develop accreditation for the certification of Quarantine Units (QUs). This is in support of the Welsh Government’s plan to introduce changes to the standstill rules relating to cattle, sheep and goats, for farms operating approved QUs.  A pilot programme is inviting expressions of interest from organisations that wish to seek accreditation under ISO 17065 for the certification of QUs.

Further information on QUs is available in the Welsh Government’s public Consultation on the Introduction of Quarantine Units.

UNECE: Equipment Used in environments with an explosive atmosphere

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE or ECE) has published a Common Regulatory Framework for Equipment Used in Environments with an Explosive Atmosphere 2011 requiring the use of accredited conformity assessment bodies.

Part 4 – Common Regulatory Objectives, Recognition of conformity assessment bodies 

Clause 33             
The accreditation of conformity assessment bodies and test laboratories has to follow the applicable ISO/IEC International Standards. The accreditation body has to be member of International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation/International Accreditation Forum (ILAC/IAF). One member of the assessor team needs competence in the field of explosion protection.

Clause 34
Certificates have to be in line with ISO System No. 5 requirements of the applicable ISO/IEC Guide

Clause 35
Certificates have to be in line with ISO System No. 5 requirements of the applicable ISO/IEC Guide

Further information is available on the UNECE website.

Accredited laboratories supporting genomics to benefit patients in England

The reconfiguration of Genetic Laboratory service provision in England is supporting the creation of a world class resource in the use of genomics and genetic technologies within the NHS, and the provision of high quality, equitable and cost effective services across the pipeline from sample acquisition, to data analysis, validation and clinical interpretation, with support for patients and families. This will be critical in ensuring that genomic information and genetic testing is integrated across the NHS together with clinical genomic services to improve the prevention and diagnosis of disease and to support treatment decisions by identifying the right targeted therapies in order to maximise efficacy and outcomes and to reduce adverse effects.

The development of genomic medicine in the NHS will lead to improvements in the ability to diagnose, treat and prevent disease and to provide high quality personalised care for all. It will support the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases and the impact will affect all ages as the interaction between genetic factors and environmental modifiers is understood better thus improving diagnostic services for patients more generally.

Further information is available on the NHS England website.

Buildsafe Northern Ireland stipulates Third Party Certification

Action 2 (a) of the Buildsafe-NI Action Plan has a requirement that all contractors seeking to tender for public sector works contracts shall have a health and safety management system certified by a third party.

Government Construction Clients recognises third party accredited certification of a health and safety management system, such as OHSAS 18001.

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Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service certified to OHSAS 18001:2007

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service was recommended for registration to BS OHSAS 18001:2007, and have subsequently been awarded certificate No. OHS 571434.

Notable outcomes of achieving this certification are:

  • A safer and competent workforce
  • Increased regulatory compliance
  • A reduction in workplace accidents and injuries which directly impact on Sickness Absence
  • Organisational cost savings
  • Increased employee awareness and involvement with health, safety and wellbeing
  • Greater positive image and improved reputation with customers and stakeholders

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European Commission support for road safety initiative which encourages use of ISO 39001

PRAISE is a project co-funded by the European Commission and implemented by European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) on Preventing Road Accidents and Injuries for the Safety of Employees (PRAISE). The project aims to advance work-related Road Safety Management and provide the know-how to employers who have to take on that challenge. It also aims to present the work-related road safety standards of EU Member States and carry out advocacy work at the EU level: work-related road safety is an area of road safety policy that clearly needs renewed political commitment.

Their 2012 report ‘Preventing Road Accidents and Injuries for the Safety of Employees: Work Related Road Safety Management Programmes’ stated that, ‘ISO 39001… will provide a useful framework for the continual improvement of road safety work.’

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ISO 39001 part of UN’s Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020

As part of Pillar 1 on Road Safety management, the UN’s Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 Activity 3 is to, ‘Develop a national strategy (at cabinet or ministerial level) coordinated by the lead agency ‘promoting road safety management initiatives such as the new ISO traffic safety management standard ISO 39001’.

This global plan was set up by the UN General Assembly under resolution A/RES58/289 on “Improving global road safety”, a task taken forward by the World Health Organisation.

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Leading ISO standards key component of UK Government’s guidance on cyber security

Cyber Essentials is a new Government-backed and industry supported scheme to guide businesses in protecting themselves against cyber threats.

Cyber Essentials is for all organisations, of all sizes, and in all sectors – we encourage all to adopt the requirements as appropriate to their business. This is not limited to companies in the private sector, but is also applicable to universities, charities, and public sector organisations.

Cyber Essentials is mandatory for central government contracts advertised after 1 October 2014 which involve handling personal information and providing certain ICT products and services.

‘The technical controls within (the Cyber Esentials) document focus on five essential mitigations within the context of the ‘10 Steps to Cyber Security’. They reflect those covered in well-established and more extensive cyber standards, such as the ISO/IEC 27000 series’.

Further information here

Supporting the inspection of mortuaries

UKAS, the UK Accreditation Body, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) relating to work in the post mortem sector. The collaboration between the UKAS and the HTA aims to reduce the burden of regulation on organisations that are subject to site-visit inspection by the HTA and assessment by UKAS, whilst maintaining public confidence in post mortem services.

Further information on how accreditation is supporting the regulation of post mortems and mortuaries is available on the HTA website.

World Organisation for Animal Health specifies ILAC MRA

The World Organisation for Animal Health requires diagnostic tests for aquatic animals to be carried out by laboratories accredited by ILAC MRA signatories.

A copy of the manual can be downloaded here.

Further information is available on the organisation website.

ISO food standards drive food safety

The ISO website ‘Using and referencing ISO and IEC standards to support public policy‘ references a wide range of instances where different standards are used to deliver food safety policy.

Leading food standards include ISO 22000, Food safety management systems — Requirements for any organization in the food chain and  ISO 22005, Traceability in the feed and food chain — General principles and basic requirements for system design and implementation.

The work of the ISO Technical Committee responsible for food safety standards (TC 34) has been a key contributor to the CODEX International Food Standards, with over 100 standards generated by TC 34 endorsed by CODEX.

Further information from the ISO website

Leading ISO standards support environmental management

The ISO website ‘Using and referencing ISO and IEC standards to support public policy‘ references a wide range of instances where different standards are used to deliver environmental policy.

Leading standards include ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard and ISO 50001 Energy Management System standard, as well as standards used to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere (ISO 14064 series & ISO 14065).

These standards have been used in a variety of mandatory and voluntary schemes from carbon trading to sustainable development policy.

Further information from the ISO website

Accreditation: a tool to ensure food safety and food crime prevention

In response to the Horsemeat scandal in Europe, the UK Government published a report to recommend that accredited testing, inspection, and certification provides a mechanism to ensure food integrity and to prevent food crime. A copy of the full report is available here.

US and UK Police generate savings from accreditation and accredited certification

In the UK, Lancashire Constabulary set a precedent by being the first Police Force outside of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to set up their own in-house Forensics Service, thereby saving over £500,000 a year.

To ensure compliance to ISO/IEC 17025, the Forensics Lab has achieved UKAS Accreditation for a number of tests enabling it to run crime scene investigations and demonstrate its capability for forensic provision equals that of external providers and private companies. (UK)

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In July 2003, the Records and Identification Bureau of the Phoenix Police Department, Arizona, became the first law enforcement unit in the United States to certify its quality management system to ISO 9001. This case study describes the pioneering implementation of the standard in an “industry” where life-altering decisions are made 24/7 – 24 hours a day, seven days a week and resulted in savings of $11 million. (USA)

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Forensic science supported by standards and accreditation in UK

The Forensic Science Regulator in the UK ensures that the provision of forensic science services across the criminal justice system is subject to an appropriate regime of scientific quality standards. Following the privatization of the sector, the regulator recognised the value of accreditation to demonstrate the competence of private sector providers. (UK)

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Accreditation of medical laboratories supports Healthcare Regulators

IANZ (International Accreditation New Zealand) accreditation is applicable to all organisations providing medical examinations, including community laboratories and those in the public hospital system. With accreditation, medical laboratories receive formal recognition of the organisation’s technical competency after assessment of their processes, resources, facilities, staff and other key factors and skills which relate to, and impact on the quality of the service provided.

Most medical testing laboratories in the private sector and in hospitals around the country are accredited by IANZ, giving assurance that tests essential for human health are carried out accurately and competently.

Accreditation is based on ISO 15189 Medical laboratories – Requirements for quality and competence. This standard is based upon ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO 9001. (New Zealand)

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Health Authority in Dubai (DHA) requires that to be licensed all clinical laboratories are required to be accredited by any accreditation agency such as ISO: 15189 Medical Laboratory Standards adopted by Dubai Accreditation Center (DAC). (Dubai)

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Chief Inspector of UK Hospitals releases Policy Statement outlining how existing accreditation schemes can help to inform Care Quality Commissions programme of inspections.

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Accredited certification assists local government to meet their environmental objectives

In south Wales, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council have used certification to both ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 to prove its commitment to a responsible approach to the environment and quality, with certification to both delivering these and matching the expectations of its local residents who expect a proactive, transparent approach to council management. (UK)

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Accredited inspection ensures the safe management of asbestos on maritime vessels

Following the 2009 Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as Amended (Resolution, MSC.282(86)), the IMO Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (2009; SR/CONF/45) and subsequent IMO circulars, the installation of asbestos products into new vessels has been banned since 1 January 2011. Asbestos (and other hazardous products) detected on board the existing ship must now be listed within an ‘Inventory of Hazardous Materials’ to enable a safe environment for crew, passengers and visitors. Accreditation based on ISO/IEC 17020 for asbestos surveying on marine vessels demonstrates compliance with the International Marine Organisation (IMO). (UK)

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Accredited inspection plays a central role in the safe management of asbestos in buildings

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive strongly recommend the use of an accredited surveyor to safely manage asbestos. The regulator recognises that accreditation provides clients with an assurance of a surveyor’s competence. (UK)

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Accredited inspection plays a key role in the safety of the UK nuclear new build programme

The HSE and the nuclear industry in the UK are working with Accreditation to develop new accreditation for inspection bodies and agencies that work in the nuclear industry. Their new service is intended to help organisations that verify items or services, in terms of technical specifications, tests, design and construction for nuclear plants. (UK)

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Emergency services use accredited certification to deliver a safe workplace environment

In Eastern England, the emergency services at the Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service‘s use of OHSAS 18001 certification has helped deliver a safer environment for the employees, with the management system being especially beneficial given a mobile workforce often located in different places. (UK)

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Governments use standards and accreditation in the construction sector

Pressure equipment and cranes must be inspected by an inspection body accredited by an MRA partner to comply with Government policy. (New Zealand)

Civil materials in general have to be tested in IANZ accredited labs as part of contract requirements. (New Zealand)

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The Minister of the Department of Labour (DoL) recognises the use of Risk Based Inspection (RBI) implemented by users of pressure vessels and steam generator in industries. These regulations are enacted through an accreditation programme that recognises that certification bodies will certify risk based inspection management systems. The benefit for industry will be reduced downtime of equipment, and potentially lower insurance premiums. (South Africa)

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Local regulators, the Public Health & Safety Department & Building Department in Dubai require that lifting equipment including cranes and lifts shall be periodically inspected by the accredited inspection/certification bodies. This helps to regulate the sector in better way. (Dubai)

Local government requires that laboratories want to provide testing services in governmental construction projects and conducts environmental testing shall be accredited. (Dubai)

MINVU, the Department of Housing and Urbanism in Chile, requires the use of accredited laboratories to test building products such as asphalt, elements and components, concrete, wood, metals, and the mechanics of soil. (Chile)

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The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has announced that all Competent Person Scheme (CPS) operators must be accredited.

The aim is to be able to authorise, on the basis of low incidence of risk to health and safety, CPS whose members are judged sufficiently competent to self-certify that their work has been carried out in compliance with all applicable requirements of the Building Regulations. CPS covers various disciplines ranging from electrical installation to air pressure testing, replacement of windows and the installation of microgeneration equipment. (UK)

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Improving the quality of medical diagnostic services through standards and accreditation

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) make extensive use of accreditation in a number of areas to support the delivery of quality radiology practices in Australia and New Zealand. Accreditation is used in such areas as medical and diagnostic imaging. (New Zealand)

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In the UK, Improving Quality in Physiological Services (IQIPS) is a programme developed by the Royal College of Physicians with support from the Department of Health. The IQIPS accreditation framework has been developed to improve, promote and recognise good quality practice across nine physiological disciplines. Accreditation is awarded by the UK Accreditation Service under contract with the RCP. (UK)

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In the UK, Imaging Services Accreditation Scheme (ISAS) is a programme jointly developed by the College of Radiography and the Royal College of Radiologists, with support from the Department of Health. ISAS is now used by the UK Regulator, the Care Quality Commission, as evidence to support its hospital inspection regime.

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Public Sector bodies implement ISO 50001 to reduce energy costs

By obtaining certification to ISO 50001 energy management system standard, Sheffield Hallam University in northern England has achieved reductions in carbon emissions and energy costs. These are estimated as being reduced by 11% and £10,000 per month respectively.

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In London, the City of London Corporation has implemented ISO 50001 with the very specific aim to help in its six year plan started in 2009 to reduce energy costs by 15%, believing that by implementing that standard will help them achieve this target by making their efforts more visible both internally and externally.

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Public Sector bodies implement ISO 50001 to reduce energy costs

By obtaining certification to ISO 50001 energy management system standard, Sheffield Hallam University in northern England has achieved reductions in carbon emissions and energy costs. These are estimated as being reduced by 11% and £10,000 per month respectively.

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In London, the City of London Corporation has implemented ISO 50001 with the very specific aim to help in its six year plan started in 2009 to reduce energy costs by 15%, believing that by implementing that standard will help them achieve this target by making their efforts more visible both internally and externally.

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Public Sector organisations use ISO/IEC 27001 to manage data securely

In the English Midlands, Birmingham City Council use and have certification to ISO 9001 and ISO/IEC 27001. This has enabled the Council to both improve its processes and to make a strong statement about how it operates, especially important for them with data integrity. (UK)

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Dubai Ministry of Labour (DoL) has been recertified to ISO/IEC 27001, meaning the DoL has had this certification since 2011. Ahmad Yousuf Al Nasser, Director of the IT Dept. at the Ministry of Labour stated that ‘(ISO/IEC 27001 certification) achieved a number of advantages most notably was its global recognition on information security systems, establish landmarks on information security systems and build an integrated system that depends on continuing operations applied for proper info protection.’ (Dubai)

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A further example of the public sector using ISO/IEC 27001 is the Legal Ombudsman of England & Wales. The process of implementing the standard have delivered improved performance in areas such as risk management, but most significantly the certification has given greater confidence to the Legal Ombudsman’s users in their services and especially their ability to manage their data securely. (UK)

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Certification to ISO/IEC 27001 has also been used by the State Revenue Committee of the Republic of Armenia. Certification has been used here in this example as data security is seen as one of the cornerstones for delivering high quality public service. (Armenia)

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The value of information security management standards has also been seen by the Norwegian Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi). Difi has signed an agreement with Standards Norway which allows over 200 government organisations access to key standards for information security management, including ISO/IEC 27001. The aim of these organisations is to improve their information security management by the implementation of these standards. (Norway)

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The Green Deal, an environmental initiative aims to revolutionize domestic energy efficiency

The Green Deal, an environmental initiative launched by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) aims to revolutionise the energy efficiency of domestic properties. To provide reassurance to those undertaking improvements on their homes, DECC has announced that it will require installers and assessors to be subject to accredited certification. Accreditation underpins the certification process for the Green Deal. It will provide end consumers with confidence that there is a complete chain of competence right through to the organisations or individuals undertaking the Green Deal projects. The programme is supported by a Certification Bodies register which displays companies which have been UKAS accredited for the certification of installation and advisory services under the Green Deal. (UK)

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The Green Deal, an environmental initiative to revolutionize domestic energy efficiency

The Green Deal, an environmental initiative launched by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) aims to revolutionise the energy efficiency of domestic properties. To provide reassurance to those undertaking improvements on their homes, DECC has announced that it will require installers and assessors to be subject to accredited certification. Accreditation underpins the certification process for the Green Deal. It will provide end consumers with confidence that there is a complete chain of competence right through to the organisations or individuals undertaking the Green Deal projects. The programme is supported by a Certification Bodies register which displays companies which have been UKAS accredited for the certification of installation and advisory services under the Green Deal.(UK)

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UK Police Force saves £500,000 per year through accreditation

Lancashire Constabulary set a precedent by being the first Police Force outside of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to set up their own in-house Forensics Service, thereby saving over £500,000 a year.

Lancashire Constabulary improved their own provision by keeping a number of services in-house. To ensure compliance to ISO/IEC 17025, the Forensics Lab has achieved UKAS Accreditation for a number of tests enabling it to run crime scene investigations and demonstrate its capability for forensic provision equals that of external providers and private companies (UK)

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NAO propose the use of accreditation to improve public service delivery

The UK National Audit Office, the Government department responsible for holding Parliament to account and improving the delivery and efficiency of public service delivery, publishes paper setting out how accreditation can act as an alternative to Regulation. It cites accreditation as a means of self-regulation, co-regulation (also known as enforced self-regulation) as effective alternatives whilst protecting and benefiting people, businesses and the environment, stabilising markets and addressing market failures to support economic growth.

The white paper can be downloaded from the NAO website. 


Experience in the Market Surveillance of ISO 9001 QMS (UNIDO 2017)

A publication titled “Good practices: Experience in the Market Surveillance of ISO 9001 quality management systems” has been released by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

The report presents the lessons learnt and good practices in applying Market Surveillance methodology to monitor the effectiveness of ISO 9001 certification in manufacturing enterprises and to evaluate the performance of respective accredited certification bodies.

The report concludes that the proper use of ISO 9001–based quality management systems assists developing countries in promoting sustainable trade, thereby helping them achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development and the 2030 development agenda.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the UNIDO website.

Trade-related International Regulatory Cooperation – A theoretical framework (OECD, 2016)

Reducing unnecessary trade costs is an important aspect of International Regulatory Co-operation (IRC). But trade costs are only one of the many considerations that countries take into account when engaging in bilateral, plurilateral or multilateral efforts to address non-tariff measures that are related to differences in regulations. They are also concerned about pursuing domestic regulatory objectives. This report develops an analytical framework to help understand the trade-offs between trade costs and domestic regulatory objectives that will determine outcomes of IRC. It shows the possible scope and landing zones of IRC initiatives, ranging from simple information exchange to negotiations to harmonize regulations between countries. The analytical approach is based on economic game theory and provides a basis for regulators and trade negotiators to determine which specific IRC approach would be promising to pursue.

The report states that the ILAC and IAF global arrangements provide the platform for trade cost reductions. A full copy of the report is available from the OECD website.

Global Accreditation Systems contribute to International Regulatory Co-operation (OECD, 2016)

ILAC and IAF, the global accreditation associations, have contributed to research conducted by OECD to analyse the impact of international organisations (IOs) in supporting regulatory co-operation. The research identified that International organisations (IOs) play a growing role as standard setting bodies in supporting regulatory co-operation with evidence showing that IOs contribute to International Regulatory Co-operation (IRC) by:

  • offering platforms for continuous dialogue on regulatory issues;
  • facilitating the comparability of approaches and practices;
  • providing member countries with flexible mechanisms to identify and adapt to new and emerging regulatory areas or issues;
  • contributing to the development of a common regulatory language
  • developing international legal and policy instruments.

The OECD gathered unique evidence from 50 international organisations on their governance, operational modalities, rule-making practices and approaches to assessing implementation and impacts, which is presented in the report International Regulatory Co-operation: the Role of International Organisations in Fostering Better Rules of Globalisation (launched 2 November 2016)This comparative analysis takes into account the diversity of mandates, expertise and strengths of the 50 participating IOs.

By establishing the international accreditation arrangements based on the mutual recognition of certificates and reports issued by conformity assessment bodies, the development of common rules and policies, and the harmonising of accreditation practices, the report identified that ILAC and IAF play a growing role in supporting regulatory co-operation.

This OECD work on IRC and IOs is part of a broad study into the various mechanisms available to governments to promote regulatory co-operation, and their benefits and challenges. A full copy of the report is available from the OECD website.

International Standards and Trade (OECD, 2010)

While there is a substantial body of literature on the economic theory of international standards, and their presumed effects, much less is known about how international standards work in practice. This paper surveys empirical studies investigating the relationship between international standards and trade. The main focus is on econometric studies using secondary data on international standards and trade, but surveys and some of the literature investigating the relationship between standards and other economic measures, such as productivity, growth and welfare are also summarised.

The paper sets out some conclusions that can be drawn from the econometric studies that have sought to estimate the relationship between international standards and trade:

  • In most studies, when exporting countries use international standards, this has in most cases a positive (or at least neutral) effect on their export performance.
  • When exporting countries use national standards (i.e. standards specific to country x), that may lead to superior export performance by x.
  • When the importing countries also adopt international standards, the most common effect is also to increase imports. The exceptions can in part be explained.
  • When the importing country uses national standards, the results are more diffuse. For studies that relate exclusively to voluntary standards, the effects are distributed quite evenly. For studies that relate to regulations (i.e. mandatory standards), the effects on imports tend to be negative.

A full copy of the report is available from the OECD website.

Quality Systems and Standards for a Competitive Edge (The World Bank, 2007)

This report provides a comprehensive account of quality systems for private sector development: what works on the ground and what doesn’t, and why. It explains why quality and standards matter for export growth, productivity, industrial upgrading, and diffusion of innovation, all central ingredients in improving economic growth and generating real gains in poverty reduction. The report examines the diversity of institutions, linkages, and arrangements involved in quality systems, identifying success factors and obstacles in the quality strategies of particular countries. A portion of the volume is devoted to experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region with a great deal at stake in the drive to improve quality. Policy makers in Latin America and throughout the developing world will find Quality Systems and Standards for a Competitive Edge to be a valuable tool for meeting the challenges of building trade competitiveness in the new global economy.

A full copy of the report is available on the World Bank website.


Harnessing Quality for Global Competitiveness in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (World Bank, 2011)

In many countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA), the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) does not support business competitiveness, though this is one of its functions in organization for economic co-operation and development countries. In most of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, it even impedes competitiveness. The most common economic benefits of adopting standards include increased productive and innovative efficiency. Standards lead to economies of scale, allowing suppliers to achieve lower costs per unit by producing large, homogeneous batches of products. Standards spur and disseminate innovation, solve coordination failures, and facilitate the development of profitable networks. Participation in world trade increasingly requires that suppliers comply with standards determined by lead buyers in global value chains. The nature of participation in the global economy has changed dramatically over the past two decades. Rarely do producers turn raw materials into final products and sell them directly to customers. Improving the quality of goods and services and diversifying into sectors where quality matters can be a sustainable source of global competitiveness. Some of the productive tasks associated with high-quality goods have high learning and technological externalities. In those sectors, producers tend to form tight relationships with global buyers who transfer their knowledge and support the producers’ quality-upgrading processes. Diversifying into a broad range of sectors also reduces macroeconomic volatility, but quality upgrading becomes necessary to enter new sectors that compete on quality.

A full copy of the report is available on the World Bank website.

Citation  “Racine, Jean-Louis. 2011. Harnessing Quality for Global Competitiveness in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. World Bank. © World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/2305 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”


National Quality Infrastructure: Vital Link to Global Trade and Investment Competitiveness (World Bank, 2016)

National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) reforms are an important part of broader efforts aimed at enhancing trade and investment opportunities, opening markets for new innovative products, and improving the business environment. As demand to access new markets and compete with higher quality products rises, the World Bank Group is committed to supporting government’s efforts to build a more harmonized and integrated NQI. This leaflet sets out how the World Bank can support the development of standards, accreditation and metrology systems to boost economic performance and cross-border investment decisions.

A full copy of the leaflet is available here. World Bank NQI Leaflet

World Bank Policy National Quality Infrastructure Brief (World Bank, 2013)

Standards define how products, processes, and people interact with each other and their environments. They enhance competitiveness by offering proof that products and services adhere to requirements of governments or the marketplace. When used effectively, they facilitate international trade and contribute to technology upgrading and absorption. This brief discusses the importance, the central elements, and constraints to success of national quality infrastructure.

A full copy of the policy document is available on the World Bank website.

The Value of Accreditation (UK, 2016)

UKAS, the UK accreditation body, carried out a survey to capture feedback on the value of accreditation for conformity assessment bodies that have stable scopes in established technical sectors. The survey aimed to gain insight into the reasons for maintaining accreditation, to identify the positive outcomes that are realised through accreditation, and to investigate the value of selected elements of the accreditation process.

Respondents identified that there are clear external factors for maintaining accreditation:

  • 67% maintain accreditation as it is perceived as the right thing to do
  • 82% maintain accreditation due to customer expectations
  • 46% maintain accreditation due to government expectations or requirements

The survey also identified that these businesses derive both internal and external commercial benefit from their accredited status:

  • 93% of respondents agree that accreditation provides confidence to their customers and stakeholders
  • 76% agree that accreditation differentiates them from their competitors
  • 85% agree that accreditation improves the quality and validity of their work
  • 71% agree that accreditation helps them to win new or maintain existing business

A copy of the report can be downloaded from the UKAS website.

The importance of measurement (NPL 2015)

Backing Market Forces: How To Make Voluntary Standards Markets Work For Financial Services Regulation (2013)

This report is the outcome of a research project conducted between June and November 2013 which explored how voluntary standards markets might be applied to financial services regulation and sought to provide independent verification of their potential in the financial services sector.

The central finding of this report is that voluntary standards could play a greater role in rebuilding a safer and more trusted financial services sector. The report illustrates the use of standards in other industries, the drivers behind their development, the application of existing standards in the financial services sector, other areas in financial services to which standards markets might also be applied, and who might be the potential users of new standards for areas of financial services.
A copy of the report, published by BSI, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and Long Finance in November 2013, can be downloaded from the BSI website.


Professor Michael Mainelli, Z/Yen Co-Founder

Chiara von Gunten for BSI and the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI)

Opportunities for Standards in Insurance

This report provides an overview of the opportunities for standards development in the insurance industry (particularly wholesale insurance) that emerged throughout this study, based on interactions with industry professionals and associations during workshops, informal discussions, and responses to an online questionnaire.

The research showed that voluntary standards market approaches would be particularly suitable around product development, product information and processes in insurance. Respondents confirmed the striking need for standards aiming to improve transparency, information quality and access in order to increase customer satisfaction and product comparability in insurance. Such standards could take the form of a ‘Fair Insurance’ product information standard (similar to the Fairbanking scheme but for insurance). These could build upon recent achievements, such as the first life insurance product that was awarded (in August 2014) a trusted mark in accordance with the Sergeant Review of Simple Financial Products and based on an independent certification process run by BSI – the BSI Kitemark for Financial Products.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the longfinance website.


Michael Mainelli, Z/Yen Co-Founder

Chiara von Gunten and Therese Kieve, BSI and Long Finance

Opportunities for Standards in Investment & Asset Management (October 2014)

This report provides an overview of the opportunities for standards development in the investment and asset management (I&AM) industry that emerged throughout this study, based on interactions with industry professionals and associations during workshops and informal discussions, and responses to an online questionnaire.

While voluntary standards could help to strengthen the I&AM industry in the long run and thus contribute to restoring trust, related industry efforts have generally been undermined by short-term concerns over asset gathering and revenue generation, which makes industry-wide consensus difficult to achieve. As a result, recent improvements to the way the industry operates have come through regulation (e.g. EU UCITS or AIFM) rather than being initiated by the industry itself. Despite this, this study finds that voluntary standards could have particular value around the design of product and services, related information and processes in I&AM.

A full copy of the report is available on the longfinance website.


Michael Mainelli, Z/Yen Co-Founder

Chiara von Gunten and Therese Kieve, BSI and Long Finance

Assessing regulatory and procedural measures in trade: An Evaluation Methodology (2013)

This report draws on UNECE assessment models and incorporates the lessons learnt from the needs assessment studies on Belarus and Kazakhstan, carried out by the UNECE secretariat in 2010 and 2011, respectively. The methodology is meant to bring to the fore:

  • A common understanding of key regulatory and procedural barriers to trade. While actors may have a broadly shared intuitive view of such obstacles, they may differ at the technical level when it comes to attributing causes to each obstacle and to estimating the magnitude of its impact.
  • A common approach to addressing the identified barriers in a manner that is responsive to the specific needs of each country and every actor in the international trade supply chain.
  • Conflicting policy objectives related to trade development and trade facilitation.
  • Procedures and regulations that could be improved through systematic:
    • Simplification – the elimination of all unnecessary elements and duplication in formalities, processes and procedures;
    • Harmonization – the alignment of national formalities, procedures, documents, information, and operations with acceptable international commercial norms, practices and recommendations.
    • Standardization – the implementation of internationally recognized formats for procedures, as well as documentary and information requirements.
  • Capacity shortfalls in the existing trade support institutional framework (understood as comprising infrastructure, trade support organizations and state agencies, including those involved in supporting quality control), which could be improved through targeted investments.
  • Shortcomings in existing public-private sector consultative mechanisms related to the development and implementation of regulatory policies

A special focus is also given to assessing national standardization policies, technical regulations, quality assurance, accreditation and metrology (SQAM) system, in terms of its capacity to contribute to a conducive trading environment where regulatory and procedural barriers are reduced to a minimum.

A full copy of the report is available on the UNECE website.


The contribution of mutual recognition to international regulatory co-operation (2016)

This report gathers together OECD working papers on the tools, governance and institutions of better regulation and their impact on policy outcomes. It includes both technical and analytical material, prepared by staff and experts in the field. Together, the papers provide valuable context and background for OECD publications on regulatory policy and governance.

The paper relies on an empirical stocktaking of mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) among selected OECD countries, the systematic review of mutual recognition clauses in trade agreements, case studies of the specific experience of the EU internal market, the Trans-Tasman arrangement, and the MRA between the US and the EU, and an extensive review of the literature. The report references the ILAC MRA and the IAF MLA as case studies.

A full report is available on the OECD website.



Anabela Correia de Brito, Céline Kauffmann, Jacques Pelkmans

The Economic Value of Standards in the UK (June 2015)

Research carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business (Cebr) concludes that standards boost UK productivity and improve performance, kick-start innovation, and support UK domestic and international trade.

The report analyses the macroeconomic and microeconomic impact of BSI’s consensus based voluntary standards across the UK economy. It concludes that they are a vital part of the strength of UK industry and play a crucial and often invisible role in supporting economic growth.

The main findings are that:

  • £8.2 billion is the amount that standards contribute to the UK economy
  • 37.4% of UK productivity growth can be attributed to standards
  • 28.4% of annual UK GDP growth can be attributed to standards, equivalent to £8.2 billion
  • £6.1 billion of additional UK exports per year can be attributed to standards

The full report can be downloaded from the BSI website. 

Does ISO 9000 certification make a profound difference to the way service quality is perceived and measured

The article examines the usage and relative importance of quality measurements in the UK’s largest service companies. The authors analyse the relationship of both internal and customer‐based quality measurements to the importance placed on accreditation to an ISO 9000 standard. The effect of process structure is explored by categorising the service firms as being in front‐room or back‐room dominant service sectors. The authors find that the service firms, which consider accreditation to be important, have a different emphasis on quality than other service firms do.

Significantly, their emphasis shifts from one that is in line with their process structure to a more balanced one, where both internal and customer‐based quality measurements receive similar attention. This leads them to conclude that accreditation to an ISO 9000 standard can make a profound difference to the way quality is perceived and measured in large service firms.


Gavin DickStaffordshire University Business School, Stoke on Trent, UK; Kevin GallimoreManchester Metropolitan University, Crewe, UK; Jane C. Brown (Nurse Manager, North Staffordshire Combined Health Care NHS Trust, Stoke on Trent, UK


Gavin Dick, Kevin Gallimore, Jane C. Brown, (2002) “Does ISO 9000 accreditation make a profound difference to the way service quality is perceived and measured?“, Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 12 Iss: 1, pp.30 – 42

The role of environmental management in sustainable business development: A multi-country investigation

This paper investigates the influence of sustainable business development on manufacturing plant operations. Among the three pillars of sustainability consisting of environmental, social and economic longevity and foresight of a firm, we focus on the environmental component. Specifically, basing our arguments on the resource-based view of the firm, we hypothesize the impact of environmental management on plant performance. Environmental initiatives considered include ISO 14000 certification, pollution prevention, recycling of materials, and waste reduction; plant performance is assessed with the dimensions of the four competitive capabilities of quality, delivery, flexibility, and cost.

Further, building on the theory of performance frontiers, we investigate these relationships across plants located in different economic regions of the world (plants are classified into emerging, developing and industrialized regions). We suggest that recent emphasis on these environmental initiatives has been greatest among plants located in emerging economies, compared to their counterparts in industrialized and developing nations. In addition, we contend that the influence of these initiatives is greatest for plants located in emerging and developing economies when compared to plants in industrialized nations. These notions are tested with data collected from 1211 plants located in these three economic regions. Overall, this study contributes to the investigation of strategies for sustainable business development, highlighting important implications for both theory and practice.


Tobias Schoenherr, The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, Michigan State University, Department of Supply Chain Management, USA


The role of environmental management in sustainable business development: A multi-country investigation‘, International Journal of Production Economics, Volume 140, Issue 1, November 2012, Pages 116–128

Exploring performance attribution: The case of quality management standards adoption and business performance







Gavin P.M. Dick (Kent Business School, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)


Citation: Gavin P.M. Dick, (2009) “Exploring performance attribution: The case of quality management standards adoption and business performance“, International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 58 Iss: 4, pp.311 – 328


WTO report highlights benefits of conformity assessment tools in addressing ‘Specific Trade Concerns’

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Economic Research and Statistics Division produced the report ‘International Standards and the WTO TBT Agreement: Improving Governance for Regulatory Alignment‘ (Erik Wijkström and Devin McDaniels, WTO, 19 March 2013), with some key points on the value of key conformity assessment tools such as ISO standards and ILAC accreditation.

Of particular interest as regards conformity assessment is 3.1.1, the section on Specific Trade Concerns, ‘One of the core functions of the TBT Committee is acting as a forum to address trade issues – these are referred to as “Specific Trade Concerns” (STCs). These are concerns that one or several Members have with the design or implementation of another Member’s measure. An analysis of the TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) Committee’s records shows that about one third of all STCs raised in the TBT Committee are associated in one way or another with the subject of international standards. By “associated” we mean that international standards have been mentioned by a delegation in the discussion of a particular trade concern – either by reference to a specific body or organization, or through general reference to the existence (or non-existence) of some source of international guidance.’

‘While over forty different bodies or organizations are mentioned, a number of them recur frequently in discussion. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is mentioned in 30% of STCs associated with international standards; the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) in 10%.’

The report gives a number of examples of the kind of problem, including: ‘Lead in pottery. The European Union objected to a Mexican draft standard for glazed pottery, ceramics and porcelain, which mandated more stringent lead and cadmium limits than those laid down in the relevant international ISO standards (ISO 6486-1/2). Specifically, the European Union was concerned that Mexican authorities would no longer accept test results accompanying EU ceramic tableware conducted in compliance with these ISO standards. Mexico explained that while its draft standard was partially based on ISO standards, it deviated in certain aspects due to a greater level of health protection required by Mexico, and due to the circumstances of Mexico as a developing country.’

The conclusion of this kind of problem is that ‘The vast majority (around 90%) relate to some form of “challenge” on international standards (from one Member to another). The tone of the discussions may range from a polite request for clarification about the use or non-use of international standards in a measure, to a direct accusation that a Member is not following a specific (and in their view relevant) international standard and therefore violating a WTO discipline.’

The use of  international standards and systems in world trade, such as ISO and ILAC which stick to the ‘Six Principles’ of Transparency, Openness, Impartiality and Consensus, Effectiveness and Relevance, Coherence and Development Dimension, would reduce the instances of the STCs.

Click here for further details, including access to the full report


Economic benefits of accreditation valued at more than £600M a year in the UK

The Economics of Accreditation’ commissioned by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills has assessed the economic benefits derived from the accreditation of certification, measurement and inspection services.  Researchers from Birkbeck, University of London, surveyed a selection of businesses and other independent analysis to create the report.  Its aim was to provide a financial evaluation of accreditation’s contribution to the UK economy, which it valued at more than £600 million per annum.

A central element of the analysis is the multiplier effect of accreditation, indicating that UKAS and the other institutions in the quality infrastructure jointly amplify each other’s effects, so leading to an impact greater than the sum of the parts. This set of interdependencies and cross-amplifying effects combine to create a significant financial advantage for those using accreditation to distinguish their products and services.

Click here for full report

The economic value of standards

Standards are a vital component in the conformity assessment arsenal to address public policy issues. International standards developed by consensus used in conformity assessment are in two key categories:

  1. The standards on which assessment is based, whether for products & services or process (management system standards)
  2. The standards which guide many of the key processes, such as certification, accreditation, inspection, etc. More of details of these standards, referred to as the ISO CASCO Toolkit can be found here.

A number of major research reports have been produced in a number of economies which help quantify and explain the contribution standards makes to these economies. These reports are:


ISO/CASCO has published a new brochure describing how “ISO Technical Committees (ISO/TCs) are often required to choose between developing requirements for a management system for an organisation’s activities, or developing requirements for the competence of an organisation to carry out its activities”.

Not only does this document assist ISO/TCs in understanding the difference between the two standards, but it is also helpful for organisations in the process of deciding whether to implement a management system or a competency based system. In addition, the brochure indicates the benefits and values of meeting either set of requirements.

The ISO/CASCO document – Frequency Asked Questions: Competency or Management System Based Standards?” is available here.

ISO Guidance for SMEs using ISO 9001 for quality management

ISO has published a guide for SME’s wishing to implement a quality management system (QMS), providing practical advice and concrete examples tailored specifically for small businesses. A copy of the guidance is available from the ISO website.



The benefits of a Quality Infrastructure (UNIDO, 2016)

UNIDO has published a briefing note to set out how setting up a Quality Infrastructure System can be one of the most positive and practical steps that a developing nation can take on the path forward to developing a thriving economy as a basis for prosperity, health and well-being. A Quality Infrastructure is a system contributing to governmental policy objectives in areas including industrial development, trade competitiveness in global markets, efficient use of natural and human resources, food safety, health, the environment and climate change.


Download a copy of the briefing note from the UNIDO website.

Accreditation supports UNIDO’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

UNIDO has published a new brochure which highlights the contribution of accredited conformity assessment services to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNIDO’s vision to address today’s economic, social and environmental challenges is enshrined in the Lima Declaration, adopted by UNIDO Member States in December 2013.  On this basis, UNIDO pursues “Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development” to harness industry’s full potential to contribute to lasting prosperity for all.

17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 associated targets constitute the core of the UNIDO 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  These provide a new development framework that seeks to transform the world and guide all global, regional and national development endeavours for the next 15 years. UNIDO’s programmatic approach is guided by three interrelated thematic priorities: creating shared prosperity, advancing economic competitiveness, and safeguarding the environment.

Maintaining strategic partnerships and technical cooperations, together with the use of standards and compliance related activities, also form an important part of UNIDO’s approach. The relationship between UNIDO, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), and ILAC is one such partnership.  This strategic partnership in the field of accreditation enables UNIDO, IAF and ILAC to coordinate activities in complementary and mutually supportive areas of operation, in order to enhance the impact of industrial development on economic growth.

A copy of the brochure is available on the UNIDO website.

New guide on how accreditation in developing economies can facilitate trade and support sustainable development

The significance of an accreditation system for trade and the economy, as well as practical advice for the establishment of accreditation bodies, are the focus of a newly released publication titled, “Establishing accreditation in developing economies – A guide to opening the door for global trade”.

Prepared by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in cooperation with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), the publication was launched at the ILAC – IAF joint General Assembly. The guide aims to support the common goal of “tested, inspected or certified once and accepted everywhere”.

It is comprised of two parts. The first part focuses on the need for accreditation and the benefits that an accreditation system can bring to good governance. It provides policymakers with a framework for establishing an accreditation body or partnering with neighbouring economies to form a shared system, which can bring an economy closer to its trading partners through mutually recognized arrangements of accreditation.

The second part offers comprehensive practical advice and building blocks to those who are tasked with establishing an accreditation body. It presents information on the essential operational requirements for accreditation bodies, and outlines available resources, as well as potential challenges. Case studies then follow to offer an illustration of practical applications of the guidance provided in the publication.

A copy of the brochure is available on the UNIDO website.

ISO 9001 – what does it mean in the Supply Chain (ISO, 2016)

As someone who is involved in the selection of suppliers and, possibly, responsible for making purchasing decisions, you may have seen or used products and services that are promoted using reference to ISO 9001:2015. This informative text provides some answers to these questions and will inform you about how you can get the most out of using ISO 9001 as a supply chain tool.

A full copy of the brochure is available from the ISO website.

Accreditation: A tool to support European and International Trade

Confidence in the quality of goods and services bought and sold is an essential element of international trade. The mutual acceptance of test results and certificates plays an important part in building and maintaining this confidence. UKAS has a key role in ensuring that the organisations that carry out testing, inspection and certification can be relied upon.

This flyer sets out how UKAS supports European and international trade.

UNIDO – Trade Facilitation – smoothing the path to global markets

UNIDO’s Trade Capacity Building Branch has published a briefing paper to set out how it can support Developing Economies develop the effective building blocks of using accredited testing, inspection and certification, using hamonized standards, in order to boost trade.

Download a copy of the briefing from the UNIDO website.


Standards, metrology and accreditation support Developing Countries

A short video to show how standards, metrology and accreditation can help sustainable development in Developing economies.

Click to view.

Demonstrating the competence of medical laboratories

Accreditation is a tool to demonstrate the competence of medical laboratories and ensure the delivery of timely, accurate and reliable results. Read more…

Standards and accreditation in the provision of energy

Accredited laboratories, inspection bodies, and certification bodies play a key role in both the provision of traditional energy sources and the development of renewables. Energy providers rely on accurate testing to monitor a range of areas from measuring flow and pressure to production output levels. Inspections are carried out to ensure that installations are safe. While certification demonstrates that providers have the appropriate processes and procedures in place to deliver the products and services.

Click to view.


Supporting safe food and clean drinking water

Accredited testing, inspection and certification supports the provision of safe food and clean drinking water. Read more..

How does Accredited Certification benefit Regulators

Regulators are increasingly relying on independent third party declarations of compliance to support their enforcement and monitoring activities.

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Accreditation: Delivering Confidence in Everyday life

Accredited testing, inspection and certification impacts on all industry sectors. This short video shows how accreditation underpins consumer safety and well-being in everyday life.

Click here to view.


Standards and accreditation – Tools for delivering better regulation

Standards and accreditation are market-based tools that can be used by Government policy makers to deliver better regulation. This handbook contains an overview for Ministers explaining why and how these tools could be used in their Departments.

Click to view.

Accreditation: Facilitating global trade

The ILAC MRA and the IAF MLA remove the need for products and services to undergo additional tests, inspections and certification in each country where they are sold. These Arrangements remove technical barriers and therefore support cross-border trade.

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Specifying accreditation in Regulation – the ILAC MRA

This factsheet sets out how to specify accredited services for external laboratories (testing, medical, and calibration) and inspection bodies, covered by the ILAC MRA.

Click to view.

The ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA)

The ILAC MRA supports international trade by promoting international confidence and acceptance of accredited laboratory data and inspection body data. Technical barriers to trade, such as the retesting of products, each time they enter a new economy would be reduced.

Click to view.

How does accredited inspection benefit government and regulators?

How does using an Accredited Laboratory benefit Government and Regulators?

Using and referencing ISO and IEC standards for technical regulations

This document, developed by the ISO and the IEC, conveys to regulators the benefits of choosing to use and reference ISO and IEC standards for regulations and to demonstrate that doing so can support good regulatory practice.

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The ISO 9001 family – Global management standards

This video from ISO (the International Organization for Standardization), explores the worldwide impact on business of the ISO 9000 family of international management standards.

Click to view.

Public sector solutions

SGS has created a portfolio of solutions to support compliance with regulatory requirements, enhance government revenue, facilitate trade, support efficiency and promote good governance along with sustainable development.

Click here to view.

A guide for engaging with Government and Regulators

Supporting the needs of Government is a core objective of ILAC and IAF members.

This document sets out ways to assist members to develop and maintain relationships with government at all levels.

Click to view.