ISO certification is a proven way to manage compliance, drive continual improvement and manage risk, but it does come at a cost.
However, many organisations have reported a significant rise in certification costs in recent years. Either due to an increase in the number of audit days, an increase in rates or both. So, why has compliance and ISO certification become so expensive?
Organisations who are accredited to offer certification (BSI, SGS and Lloyds Registrar etc) follow strict guidelines issued by UKAS. And for good reason! Industry needs to be able to trust the quality and impartiality of audits. Especially when it comes to the manufacture and supply of safety critical components, medical devices, or other services deemed crucial to our nation’s infrastructure and security. But cost has become a barrier.
Many SME’s and Start-Up’s simply can’t justify/afford the cost associated with certification. Even though ISO certification is proven to enhance business performance.
Who is UKAS?
UKAS is an organisation appointed as the UK’s National Accreditation Body (NAB). They were established in 1995 by the then Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) under EU Regulation 765/08 – a Regulation that forces member states to appoint a NAB. While Regulation EC 765/08 does not prevent NABs (or any other organisation) from offering certification, it does set out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance throughout the EU.
What is unclear is how our departure from the EU will affect NAB’s? But one thing is certain, the cost of ISO certification and compliance continues to rise at a time when the economic climate worsens. With Covid 19 and further government restrictions being enforced, many businesses have been forced to restructure, downsize and in some circumstances close up shop altogether.
ISO certification such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and ISO 27001 are essential compliance and risk management tools that can help businesses prepare for change. ISO certification should be accessible, affordable, and less labour intensive to meet the needs of industry.
It is widely accepted that SME’s and Start-ups are the key to our recovery and the backbone of our economy so cost should not become a barrier to progress. Many organisations who have UKAS certification are switching to non UKAS certification; and it’s not purely down to cost. It’s also pressures on internal resource required to host audits.
ISO (the International Standards Organisation) do not demand or promote UKAS certification. In fact, they recognise and acknowledge that organisations can self-certify, or obtain independent verification to demonstrate that standards are being met.
This is particularly relevant to those who seek ISO 45001 the occupational health and safety standard, where cost should not be a determining factor in driving health and safety performance.
What is Non UKAS certification? And is it worth switching?
Non UKAS providers help achieve the same objective with less bureaucracy and greater efficiency as they are free to innovate and adapt and work independently of UKAS and the EU.
The question we need to ask is; Do all ISO standards need to be UKAS accredited? Are your customers demanding you have UKAS? And if not, is switching to a non UKAS provider a better option? Many organisation are now opting for a ‘blended approach’ to certification i.e. they may require their QMS systems to be UKAS certified but opt to switch their ISO45001 and ISO14001 to non UKAS either way they save money, and still satisfy customer requirements!
Our certification scheme is widely accepted by industry, in most cases, customers just require evidence that you have a robust ISO management system that is independently audited in order to satisfy tender opportunities or customer requirements.
The use of technology and software has enabled us to drive efficiencies, making the audit process easier and much quicker. We have cut travel time by utilising Zoom, Microsoft Teams and our new auditing software to conduct remote desktop audits of documentation offline, freeing more time for our customers. That is why many compliance managers are now switching to NDC Certification Services.
For further information on switching your ISO visit our website or contact our team on 0333 939 8797.
Author: Ian Fielding
NDC Certification Services Ltd.