United Kingdom

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

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The EU protected food name scheme highlights regional and traditional foods whose authenticity and origin can be guaranteed.

Under this system, a named food or drink registered at a European level, will be given legal protection against imitation throughout the EU.

UKAS, the UK Accreditation Body, is assisting the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Agriculture (DEFRA) in the development of a scheme for the certification of compliance with EU Regulation 1151/2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs and is developing an assessment and accreditation programme for this activity.

Further information is available on the DEFRA website.

Accreditation plays a key role in support of new UK regulations governing the licensing of activities involving animals which came into force in 2018. The Animal Welfare (Licencing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 cover activities such as pet shops, cat and dog boarding, the hiring of horses and dog breeding and require these establishments to be licenced by the local authority in which they operate. The licences will need to be renewed each year unless the establishments are assessed as low risk when licences can be issued for two or three years.  Establishments that are certified by a UKAS accredited body, such as the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme, will be regarded as low risk and will therefore qualify for a longer licence.

Read the full Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. 

LGC, the London Government Chemist, played a crucial role in helping the UK government robustly address the 2013 horsemeat issue. The rapid development of reference materials for meat species alongside the provision of the first proficiency testing scheme for horsemeat in beef provided essential support for routine laboratories which contributed to resolving the incident and restoring consumer confidence.

LGC prepared and delivered meats and mixtures down to 0.1 % adulteration for horse and pig meat in beef. These were used as reference materials by Public Analyst laboratories analysing samples for the government horsemeat surveys.

The action taken by industry, government and LGC minimised the disruption to the ~£3 billion/year UK beef market and ultimately helped to restore flagging consumer confidence in processed meat products as quickly as was practically possible. Within a year, beef consumption increased to pre-horsemeat issue levels despite a £95 million drop in consumer spending during 2013.

Further information can be found on the LGC website. 

UKAS, the UK Accreditation body, has entered into an agreement with Public Health England to incorporate Antenatal and Newborn (ANNB) screening requirements into routine ISO 15189 assessment activities. This benefits laboratories that provide testing for infectious diseases in pregnancy, sickle cell and thalassaemia, Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome, Patau’s syndrome and rare conditions identified from newborn blood spots, as they will no longer have to allocate time to be inspected by PHE.

Further information is available on the UKAS website.

Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative, works with Police Forces around the UK, and many other organisations, to achieve sustainable reductions in crime to help people live in a safer society.

SBD trained police officers and staff in Police Forces work closely with architects, developers and local authority planners on new build developments and major refurbishments from the drawing board stage through to construction to ‘design out crime’.

They use proven crime prevention techniques in the layout and landscaping of developments, such as to increase natural surveillance, create defensible space and limit through movement. They also seek to improve the security of buildings, by recommending products like doors, windows and locks that are sufficiently robust to resist physical attack to deter burglars.

They work closely with manufacturers and companies is to encourage them to provide robust, quality products that meet the Police Preferred Specification award, which recognises that minimum standards have been met to help keep buildings secure.This standard requires certification from a UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited independent third-party certification body. This involves regular production audits and re-testing to ensure consistent quality over time.

Further information is available here.


The Office for Product Safety and Standards which was established in January as part of the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) releases Government’s first ever Strategy to improve the UK’s product safety regime.
The new Strategy and accompanying delivery plan recognises the importance of accredited conformity assessment to an effective product safety regime and commits to working more closely with accredited testing organisations to ensure the continued availability of a sufficiently rigorous and independent testing capability.
Other measures set out in the Strategy and accompanying delivery plan include:
• a new national incident management team for product safety incidents capable of coordinating large scale product recall and repair programmes
• increased support for local authority enforcement teams at ports, borders and points of entry to ensure the safety of goods that are entering the UK
• close working with manufacturers to ensure they are compliant with safety regulations from an earlier stage of the production process
• working with white goods manufacturers, gaining assurance that their compliance systems are robust and that they are implementing the Product Recalls Code of Practice
• publishing a Strategic Research Programme, setting out priorities for scientific research into potential product safety risks
• encouraging greater diversity in standards committee membership
The Strategy and Delivery plan can be found at the Strengthening national capacity for product safety: Strategy 2018-2020.

In accordance with the Private Supply Regulations 2016 (England) and Private Supply Regulations as amended 2010 (Wales) Sampling, UKAS, the UK accreditation body, accredits certification bodies to assess the competency of persons carrying out sampling for the purposes of complying with regulatory duties relating to the monitoring of private water supplies.  The sampling procedures are set out in a sampling manual, the basis of which will form the ISO 17024 accredited certification scheme.

UKAS has worked with the Drinking Water Inspectorate to ensure that the regulator has confidence that sampling is carried out competently and to requirements.

Private Supply Regulations 2016 (England) 

Private Supply Regulations as amended 2010 (Wales) Sampling 

The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) requires that accredited laboratories are used when testing animal by-products. They have published a collection of guides for anyone working with animal by-products (ABPs), including how to process, transport, store and dispose of them.

If a business in involved in processing animal by-products (ABPs), such as animal carcasses or kitchen waste, it may need to test samples of your products to check they are safe to use. These businesses include:

  • ABP processing facilities (often known as a rendering plant)
  • composting or anaerobic digestate facilities
  • petfood factories
  • fertiliser factories
  • biodiesel plants
  • blood processors
  • milk processors

Further information is available on the DEFRA website.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), a UK special health authority that provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care, has produced guidance on the diagnosis of Lyme Disease. Lyme disease is caused by a specific group of Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which can be transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected tick. This can result in a number of clinical problems ranging from skin rash to serious involvement of organ systems, including arthritis, and neurological problems.

The guideline focuses on diagnosis and management of Lyme disease according to clinical presentation and symptoms rather than using the differing classifications of Lyme disease, which are poorly defined and contested. There is a lack of good quality evidence on the epidemiology, prevalence, diagnosis, and management of Lyme disease.

The guidance states that tests used to support diagnosis should be carried out at UK accreditation service (UKAS) accredited laboratories that use validated tests and participate in a formal external quality assurance programme.

A copy of the guidance is available on the British Medical Journal website.

Since the introduction of the UK Blood Safety and Quality Regulations, the correct storage of red blood cells and other blood products such as plasma and platelets has been heavily regulated. This is why all refrigerators, freezers and incubators that store blood products like red cells, plasma and platelets have to be fitted with a number of features, must be temperature mapped, regular maintenance and have annual UKAS accredited calibration. They are also, under EU rulings, classed as ‘borderline medical devices’. This means any new blood refrigerator; plasma freezer or platelet incubator or agitator should come from a manufacturer that holds accredited certification to ISO 13485 so their products are designed and manufactured in compliance with EU Directive 93/42/EC (class IIa).

Further information is available here.

The Global Innovation Index (GII) provides detailed metrics about the innovation performance of 127 countries and economies around the world. The index is the result of a collaboration between Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The GII has gained international recognition, establishing itself as both a leading reference on innovation and a ‘tool for action’ for decision makers. It recognises the link between innovation as an engine for economic and social growth in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy.

One of the 81 indicators used to measure a country’s innovation performance is the number of accredited certificates to the quality management system standard, ISO 9001.

The 2017 report can be accessed from the Global Innovation Index website.

Source: Cornell University, INSEAD, and WIPO (2017): The Global Innovation Index 2017: Innovation Feeding the World, Ithaca, Fontainebleau, and Geneva.

Manufacturing beef from the UK can now be exported to the Canadian market after approval was given by inspectors, following work involving the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Defra, the FSA, UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP), Quality Meat Scotland and HCC Meat Promotion Wales.

The agreement covered both primal cuts and manufacturing beef, and UK officials have been working to ensure manufacturing beef is tested to the required microbiological standards required by the Canadian authorities. This regime is now in place and has been robustly evaluated to UKAS standards, allowing shipments to begin immediately.

Further information is available here. 

The World Health Organisation’s International Health Regulations have been developed to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks, and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade. Economies are required to develop certain minimum core public health capacities. Access to accredited laboratories provides clear evidence of an economy’s sustainable ability to respond.

Further information is available on the WHO website.

The Food Standards Agency and Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers (WLBP) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will result in a reduction in the frequency of animal feed inspections of members’ farms by local authority trading standards officers from 1 April 2018.

The MOU recognises compliant businesses that are members of the Farm Assured Welsh Livestock (FAWL) scheme, which is underpinned by accreditation. It sets out the general principles of collaboration, cooperation, roles and responsibilities supporting the earned recognition process involving the FSA and WLBP. The FAWL scheme is operated by WLBP Ltd which is a cooperative owned by over 7,400 farmers.

Further information is available here.

Local Authority Building Control (LABC) represents all local authority building control teams in England and Wales. They have a network of 3,000 professional surveyors that provide impartial advice and services on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis to home and property owners, architects, plan drawers, developers, building contractors and other professionals to ensure buildings are safe, healthy and efficient to meet the standards set by the building regulations.

In order to deliver a quality and consistent service, they have decided that all Local Authority Building Control teams should hold accredited certification to ISO 9001.

Further information is available on the LABC website.

UKAS, the UK’s accreditation body, is developing an assessment approach for the accreditation of Fire Investigation at the request of the Forensic Science Regulator (FSR). Accreditation is planned to be progressed using the international standard ISO/IEC 17020 – “Conformity assessment – Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspections” which is already being used as the assessment standard for volume/serious scenes of crime activities. The technical assessment of the Fire Investigation will also take into consideration the requirements of ILAC G19 – Modules in a Forensic Science Process, Forensic Science Regulator’s Codes of Practice and Conduct and the principles of UKAS document RG201 – Accreditation of Bodies Carrying out Scene of Crime Examination.

Further information is available from the UKAS website.

Two UK police forces using drones have had that work certificated by SSAIB, the security and fire sector certification body. They are Dorset, and Devon and Cornwall. The police forces can operate these unmanned aerial system (UAS) drones in compliance with the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice, as part of a strategic alliance between the south west neighbouring constabularies.

Adoption of drones by the two forces has required them to show their conformance with the Surveillance Camera Code, which covers public space surveillance by police and local government. SSAIB provides a third party certification service to the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, enabling ‘relevant authorities’ such as councils and the police, which operate public space surveillance systems, to demonstrate compliance.

Further information is available on the UK’s Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s website. 

The responsibility to carry out an assessment of fire risk, review such an assessment and to take fire safety measures rests with duty holders. Both the Scottish Government and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service recommend that duty holders who wish to contract the services of external fire safety risk assessors verify that the assessor is competent in fire risk assessment. One way of verifying the competence of an individual assessor is to select the assessor from a list of competent fire risk assessors maintained by a professional body or an accredited third party certification body.

Further information is available on the Scottish Government website.

The drive to improve the quality of care for patients, whilst delivering efficiency and productivity, is a key objective for NHS England (NHSE), the UK public sector organisation that leads the National Health Service (NHS). Through diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering (MPACE) directly impact the majority of patients and the care and treatment they receive. It is therefore essential that these services consistently deliver high quality care by maintaining the safety and the accuracy of equipment used and ensuring that procedures are evidence based, safe and effective.

UKAS, the UK national accreditation body, was approached by NHSE and the professional body – the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM), to develop accreditation for clinical engineering and physical science services. Accreditation for MPACE services will be against BS 70000.

Further information is available on the UKAS website.

Building trust in the online environment is key to economic and social development. Lack of trust, in particular because of a perceived lack of legal certainty, makes consumers, businesses and public authorities hesitate to carry out transactions electronically and to adopt new services.

European Regulation (EU) 910/2014 seeks to enhance trust in electronic transactions in the internal market by providing a common foundation for secure electronic interaction between citizens, businesses and public authorities, thereby increasing the effectiveness of public and private online services, electronic business and electronic commerce in the Union.

The Regulation requires Trust Service Providers (TSPs) to gain ‘qualified status’. This involves achieving certification from an accredited certification body through an approved scheme, i.e. a certification scheme that has been demonstrated as suitable to assess all of the requirements placed on TSPs by the Regulation. Qualified status is then granted by the UK Supervisory Authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Further information is available for the ICO website.

The Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) provides support solutions for Typhoon by providing innovative repair-not-replace solutions. DECA is an MOD and industry partner that aims to provide benchmark support services as the principal in-house government organisation dedicated to maintenance, repair, overhaul, upgrade and procurement in the defence avionics, electronics and components field.

DECA inspects composite cylinders in support of Typhoon. These specialist cylinders, which carry nitrogen and air, are smaller and lighter than the steel cylinders traditionally used and require specialist support capabilities. The cylinders are inspected, examined, and hydrostatic tested to BSEN 11623:2002 and BSEN 1802:2002 standards and pressure tested up to 6526 psi before being prepared for dispatch to front line Typhoon units.

To ensure that this work is carried out effectively, this facility is UKAS accredited and is able to perform hydrostatic testing up to 10,000psi. Further information is available on the DECA website.

Public Health England (PHE), UK executive agency sponsored by the Department of Health, recognises the importance of the role of food, water and environmental microbiology laboratories and provides a range of PT schemes.

Food and water examination laboratories play a vital role in protecting people’s health by ensuring that food and waters are safe and do not pose a threat to health. One of PHE’s goal is protecting the country from infectious diseases and  environmental hazards, including the growing problem of infections that resist treatment with antibiotics. In support of this goal, PHE provides tools such as proficiency testing (PT) schemes and reference materials to support food and water microbiology laboratories in assuring their results.

In order to demonstrate that the PHE PT schemes are underpinned by professional, scientific and technical expertise, they are accredited by UKAS, the UK’s accreditation body.

Further information is available on the PHE website.


A market survey covering North America and Europe conducted jointly by the International Federation of Inspection Agencies (IFIA) and the International Confederation of Inspection and Certification Organisations (CEOC) found that 17% of various electrical home appliances verified through self-declaration of conformity (SDoC) showed safety-critical failures, resulting in a high risk of shock or fire. This compares to less than 1% for products with third-party accredited certification.

For sensitive and high-risk products, a more robust approach that relies on independent third party, on either a mandatory or voluntary basis, should be taken to ensure that products placed on the market are safe, compliant and sustainable.

A full copy of the report is available here.

The UK water industry published a code of practice for assessing surface water treatment technologies. The document is supported by the Environment Agency and manufacturers of surface water treatment devices. The document is necessary to demonstrate how well proprietary devices used in sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) treat run-off and remove heavy metals from the water cycle. This code of practice defines the process necessary to measure the pollutant capture and retention capability of any device entering the UK market.

The voluntary code of practice allows professionals delivering SuDS to apply a risk-based approach to minimising the environmental impact of the diffuse pollution from runoff. Verifying the capture and retention capabilities of different devices for a range of pollutants gives regulators, designers, specifiers and local authorities the information they need to select the most appropriate technology in a given application.

Approval and certification under the Code of Practice: Assessment of Manufactured Devices Designed to Treat Surface Water Runoff will allow manufacturers to demonstrate that their published capture and retention capabilities have been tested. The document can be accessed here.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.



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

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.

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.


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. 

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.




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.

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.


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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Click here for further details

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

Click here for further details

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.’

Click here for further details

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.

Click here for further details

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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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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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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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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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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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The UK’s Health and Safety Executive introduced regulations to protect workers and other from the risks of exposure to asbestos. Amongst other requirements, the Control of Asbestos Regulations require testing for the presence of asbestos to be carried out by a laboratory that is accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) against the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025, the international standard for testing laboratories.

HSE also recommends that, where surveys are carried out for the presence of asbestos, they should be carried out by inspection bodies that are accredited by UKAS against the requirement of ISO/IEC 17020, the international standard for bodies performing inspection.

HSE 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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A review of the effectiveness of the Regulations was carried out in March 2017. It concluded that:

  • The Regulation minimised the risks from exposure to asbestos to keep workers and others safe. The review stated that the fall in exposures to asbestos between 1980 and 2015 will lead to 25,700 fewer deaths from mesothelioma and lung cancer in the 100 years between 2001 and 2100.
  • Costs to business and government/taxpayers, as well as costs to the individuals affected, both in terms of financial costs and the impact of quality of life and loss of life, when applied to those estimates to the yearly profile of prevented cancer deaths between 2001 and 2100, the present value of the benefits to society of preventing those cases of cancer is estimated at £20.9 bn.

A copy of the review is available here.


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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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 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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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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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. 


An AEO is an economic operator who, by satisfying certain criteria, is considered to be reliable in their customs related operations throughout the European Union (EU). Depending on the type of AEO authorisation applied for and granted, these can include either easier access to certain customs simplifications, special procedures, deferment guarantee reductions/waivers or certain facilitations from customs security and safety controls, or both.

The introduction of AEO status is the EU’s response to the need to secure international supply chains and the introduction of Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in the USA and the development of the Safe framework of standards in the World Customs Organisation (WCO).

HRMC will rely on existing international trade accreditation schemes to satisfy the their criteria including a relevant ISO standard, in particular ISO 28000 and ISO 9001.

Further information is available on the HMRC website.

A study carried out by ISO’s Technical Committees to identify whether standards play a role in preventing accidental fatalities, revealed that country-level participation in the ISO’s technical committees – the group of experts that develops standards – showed that a 1 per cent increase in technical committee participation was associated with a 0.19% decrease in accidental deaths.

Further information is available here.

This short infographic provides data and examples to demonstrate the impact of the National Quality Infrastructure in terms of

  • Enhanced Competitiveness
  • Reduced Testing & Certification Burden
  • Expanded and Open Markets
  • Increased Innovation & Technology Diffusion
  • Improved Efficiency
  • Increased Productivity Gains
  • Safety, Health, Environmental Application

A more detailed description of how the QI enhances competition is available at https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/competitiveness/brief/qi

This study, which resulted from a research project commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), aimed to assess the impacts that quality services contribute to improve the understanding at the political, entrepreneurial and academic levels about the relevance of quality infrastructures to the functioning of innovation systems, how they enhance the performance of economic agents and improve the outcomes of social, economic and environmental policies.

The key objectives aimed to identify the following positive areas:

  • the identification of the range of positive and negative effects that they have in societies;
  • to advise policy makers on how the accomplishment of their strategic goals may be facilitated through the development of quality services;
  • To raise awareness of consumers, firms and industries about the existence of such an institutional complex, i.e. how it shall be used as a platform where various economic agents are to participate and interact in order to address to a multitude of social, economic and environmental challenges;
  • to learn ways of improving the functioning of the existing quality infrastructure.

A copy of the report is available on the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) website.

This report shows how the role of the infrastructure – standards, measurement, accreditation, design and intellectual property – can be integrated into a quantitative model of the innovation system and used to help explain levels and changes in labour productivity and growth in turnover and employment.

  • The infrastructure is a key resource for the effective functioning of innovation and for economic performance more widely. Standards, design, accreditation, metrology and IP are all deeply embedded in the modes and styles of innovation practice across industry and commerce and in the public sector.
  • They are complementary to, and supportive of, the other drivers of innovation, such as new technology, knowledge from the research base, organizational and managerial changes and marketing strategies.
  • Notably, information from standards tends to be conjointly used with scientific and trade publications and with direct sourcing of knowledge from the research base.
  • Certification to ISO 9001 by UKAS accredited bodies is positively and significantly associated with several modes of innovation and with productivity directly.
  • The National Measurement System is part of or directly supports several types of innovation strategy and has a distinct impact on productivity.
  • The innovation and efficiency promoting roles of the infrastructure are contributors to economic growth and productivity as well as to international competitiveness.

A full copy of the report is available from the UK Government website.

AIRMIC, the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers in Industry and Commerce, has published a white paper on the value that standards and accredited conformity assessment can play in the management of risk. The report states that there is plenty of evidence that organisations perform better when they adopt voluntary quality standards, yet for the most part, insurers ignore these standards when setting terms and conditions for policyholders.

Standards assure customers and other stakeholders of consistent quality in products, services, processes, systems and people. They are based on the practical experience of sector professionals, and are a means by which organisations can demonstrate assurance about the quality of their risk management. The paper builds on an earlier study commissioned by BSI, conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research earlier this year, which underlined the economic and practical value that standards can have.

The paper also states that the wider quality infrastructure, namely accreditation and the conformity assessment community, play a supporting role in the management of risk for the insurance sector. The report contains case studies that demonstrate how insurers are using accredited services to evaluate risk and therefore provide discounted premiums or improved terms and conditions.

The paper titled Standards: Supporting Risk Management and Adding Value was published at a press conference during the AIRMIC annual conference on June 11th.

Standardisation and standards have often been perceived as a contradiction to innovation. This report provide conceptual arguments and empirical evidence that standardisation as such and standards can be used as to promote innovation especially in three different areas. After a brief section on the general economic functions of standards, the relationship between research and standardisation is examined by first showing both standardization as a technology transfer channel and standards as enablers and facilitators for research. The second area focuses on the difficult but promising issue of transferring intellectual property rights (IPR) into standards, and shows how this can be beneficial both for IPR holders and standards implementers. The third newly emerging field concerns the role of standards and standardization in procurement processes, which are more and more forced to address and promote innovation. In the final chapter, the results are summarised and recommendations for policy makers are derived.

A copy of the report is available on the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) website.

Author: Knut Blind, TU Berlin, Rotterdam School of Management and Fraunhofer FOKUS

The 2017 Good Governance Report, published by the Institute of Director’s (IOD) flagship corporate governance publication which ranks the UK’s largest listed companies based on their corporate governance performance, now uses accredited certification to ISO 9001 as one of the data sources.

The IOD supports, represents and set standards for business leaders in the UK.

The report, which is compiled for the IoD by Cass Business School and in its third year, has expanded the number of indicators to give a more comprehensive view of how well the company performs for its shareholders, employees and customers. These indicators are grouped into five broad categories of corporate governance: Board Effectiveness; Audit and Risk/External Accountability; Remuneration and Reward; Shareholder Relations; and Stakeholder Relations. Specific indicators are chosen in order to reflect a broad conception of corporate governance which not only takes into account the interests of shareholders but also considers how governance is working for other key stakeholders. The implementation of an accredited management system has been included to demonstrate strong corporate governance.

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

In November 2015, the UK’s Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) commissioned Professor Christopher Hodges to produce a brief introduction to examine the theories and practice of how to control corporate behaviour through regulatory techniques, drawing on the principal theories of deterrence, economic rational acting, responsive regulation, and the findings of behavioural psychology.

The paper provides regulators and others with an interest in developments in regulatory delivery with an overview of the research theories and empirical evidence, and of the author’s proposition of a new theory of ‘ethical regulation’.

The basic idea is one of a collaborative approach between businesses, their stakeholders and public officials, based on a shared ethical approach. It recognises that compliant behaviour cannot be guaranteed by regulation alone, and that ethical culture in business is an essential component that should be promoted and not undermined. It also notes that regulatory and other systems need to be designed to provide evidence of business commitment to ethical behaviour, on which trust can be based, and that regulation will be most effective where it is based on the collaborative involvement of all parties.

The paper cites the use of accreditation as an example of collaboration between regulators and businesses in the management of risk and compliance.

A copy of the report is available on the Government’s Better Regulation website.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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 (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

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.

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.

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)

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

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

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.


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

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. 

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

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







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


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


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

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:

Companies use standards as a tool to signal their investments in quality upgrading and performance. The authors argue that the impact of this signal depends on the trust in the accreditation system and the development status of a country. Representing the workhorse of research in international trade, the authors use a gravity model to examine the trade effects of ISO 9000 diffusion and cooperation in accreditation. The model is estimated by applying a country-pair fixed effects regression approach with instrumental variables and multilateral resistance terms to a panel data set covering a 13-year period from 1999 to 2012. This allows them to test their hypotheses with respect to the moderating role of international cooperation in accreditation on the trade effects of ISO 9000 diffusion. They show that certification promotes trade and that signatories to the Multilateral Recognition Arrangement of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF MLA) trade significantly more. The IAF MLA is of particular importance to the trade among developing countries. For policy makers, our results highlight the importance of support for accreditation institutions in developing countries.

A full copy of the report is available from the Research Gate website.

Authors: Axel Mangelsdorf, Knut Blind, Jakob Pohlisch

Regulators can rely on ISO standards as a solid base on which to create public policy that helps further SDG goals such as human rights, water and energy efficiency, public health, and more. Recognized the world over, International Standards also help governments achieve their national and international commitments. Read more.

Mutual distributed ledger (MDL, aka blockchain) technology has the potential to bring new opportunities and efficiencies to the financial industry. As with any new technology, MDLs expose organisations to new risks. Regulators have responsibility for protecting consumers and overseeing the integrity of markets. Regulators respond to risks in two main ways: through the development of specific regulations or by encouraging the establishment of voluntary standards markets. This report, published by PwC, sets out how standards and accredited conformity assessment could play a role.

A full copy of the report is available here.


An efficient and effective quality and standards ecosystem—also referred to as quality infrastructure (QI)—is an essential ingredient for competitiveness, access to new markets, productivity improvement, innovation of new products, and environmental protection, as well as health and safety of populations. In short, QI is not only key to a country’s growth, but also essential in creating a safer, cleaner, and more equitable and well-integrated world.

The World Bank Group recognises the importance of QI as an ecosystem and has produced a comprehensive QI diagnostics and reform guide with input from ILAC and IAF. The guide provides help to countries to develop or strengthen their own quality and standards ecosystems—to diagnose, build, and reform the complex elements of an effective, modern QI. It also references the UK study into the impact of accreditation.

The guide can be downloaded from the World Bank website.

Setting up a Quality Infrastructure System is 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.

UNIDO published this short video to set out the fundamental principles of developing a national quality infrastructure to ensure that the system contributes to governmental policy objectives in areas including industrial development, trade competitiveness in global markets, the efficient use of natural and human resources, food safety, health, the environment and climate change.

Watch the video on YouTube.


Standards make a huge economic contribution to the UK. They are a vital part of the strength of UK industry and play a crucial and often invisible role in supporting economic growth. This video highlights the key statistics.

To support World Accreditation Day 2018, a short video was produced to demonstrate how accreditation delivers a safer world. The expectation of safe workplaces, safe products, safe transport, safe food, in fact all aspects of our lives is universally shared. Statistics however show that the expectation is not being matched by the reality.

A series of short case study videos can also be viewed on the ILAC / IAF YouTube channel.

ISO 13485:2016 – Medical devices – A practical guide has been authored by technical experts of ISO/TC 210. The handbook is intended to guide organizations in the development, implementation and maintenance of their quality management system in accordance with ISO 13485. Organizations active in the medical device sector, such as manufacturers, importers, distributors, service providers, certification bodies or regulatory bodies, can benefit from this publication.

Download the publication from the ISO website.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), has updated its trade recommendations to include references national accreditation systems and the global arrangements. UNECE Working Party 6 on Regulatory Cooperation & Standardization Policies which works to:

  • Promote the use of standards by policy-makers and business as a tool for reducing technical barriers to trade, promote increased resilience to disasters, foster innovation and good governance
  • Promote the use of standards in the implementation of UN-wide goals, including the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the Sendai framework for action

Sixteen UNECE recommendations have been adopted to address standardization and regulatory issues. They set out good practice regarding Regulatory cooperation, Metrology, Standards and Norms, Conformity assessment, and Market surveillance.

While these recommendations are not binding and do not aim at rigidly aligning technical regulations across countries, they are used to encourage policy makers to base their regulations on international standards to provide a common denominator to the norms that apply in different markets.

All sixteen recommendations can be downloaded from the UNECE website.

The recommendations that reference accreditation are:

Recommendation F: Creation and Promotion of International Agreements on Conformity Assessment

Recommendation G: Acceptance of Conformity Assessment Results


The UK Accreditation Body, UKAS, has prepared ‘the case for accreditation’ aimed at large consultancies and research organisations. The briefing note is intended to provide an introduction to support UKAS’ engagement with these organisations, so that they are in a position to understand that accreditation is a proven tool to solve the issue of delivering consumers, suppliers, purchasers and specifiers with the assurance that services will be run efficiently, goods will conform, and working environments will be safe.

It is hoped that standards and accreditation will be referenced in future sector research or position papers.

A copy of the briefing note is available from the UKAS website.

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 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.



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.

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.

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.

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.

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’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.


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

Click to view.

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

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.

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

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

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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 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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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.