Many ISO Consultants recommend using accredited certification bodies to ensure the integrity of the certificates issued to their clients.
Trust is built through the knowledge that the certification body is itself subject to compliance audits by the accreditation body (UKAS in the UK).
However, this also means that the accreditation body can raise findings against the certification body and, in extreme cases, suspend or withdraw a Certification Body’s accreditation, meaning they can no longer issue accredited certificates.
This can leave existing certified clients in a difficult position.
Here’s what to do if your Certification Body faces withdrawal:
What happens if Accreditation is Withdrawn?
If accreditation is withdrawn by UKAS, or the certification body voluntarily withdraws, they can no longer issue accredited certificates.
Existing certificates and reports issued before withdrawal will be unaffected – unless they were issued incorrectly (see below).
However, if your certification body has accreditation withdrawn, they can no longer provide audits, reports or certification under UKAS, which means come your next audit they will be unable to fulfill the requirements.
In this case, to maintain UKAS Accreditation you will need to move certification bodies (see below).
Withdrawal means that the certification body will need to reapply for UKAS accreditation, and this can take some time.
My Certification Body is Changing Accreditation Provider
Some Certification Bodies may opt to apply to a different accreditation body, either in the UK or another country.
In the UK, only UKAS is recognised by the UK Government.
Internationally, accreditation bodies do vary, however the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), a worldwide association of accreditation bodies, works to “develop a single worldwide program of conformity assessment”, of which UKAS is a member.
So when choosing accreditation outside the UK, you should consider looking for an IAF member body.
Read more: ISO Accreditation Bodies Around the World.
Do I Need a UKAS Accredited ISO Certificate?
It is up to you whether you wish to retain the value of a UKAS Accredited certificate or change to an alternative scheme.
There are a number of things to consider including the requirements of your customers and the value you get from the audit and certification process.
My ISO Certificate was Issued Incorrectly
If a certification body has been found to issue your certificate incorrectly under the UKAS scheme, they will be obliged to inform you and withdraw your certificate.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t meet the requirements to be certified. It usually reflects an issue in the certification body’s processes or compliance with UKAS.
However it does mean that you will need to recertify with a fully accredited certification body and it is unlikely that you will be able to recover all the fees paid to the original provider.
Can I transfer my ISO Certificate to another Certification Body?
You can transfer your ISO Certification to another body at any time providing you have a valid Certificate.
Remember certificates issued before the sanction was applied by UKAS are valid, unless they have been issued wrongly.
The transfer process usually involves an additional audit by the new certification body, however they are obliged to honor the same audit programme, so the number of audit days for the same scope will not change.
You can see all current sanctions (suspensions and withdrawals) issued by UKAS here: https://www.ukas.com/customer-area/sanctions/overview-of-sanctions/
CertBodies.co.uk is NOT a Certification Body and we do not represent any particular certification or accreditation body, but having helped many businesses achieve certification as an ISO Consultant, using many different certification bodies, we feel we have a lot of knowledge that could be useful.
We aim to provide an impartial guide on all aspects of certification, from choosing a certification body, to understanding what to expect during the certification and what happens afterwards.