Detailed guide: Standards and accreditation

Standards and accreditation play an important role in the UK’s National Quality Infrastructure (NQI). They help to ensure businesses and consumers can have confidence that products and services they purchase meet regulatory requirements.

  • Standardisation – creates the national and international standards that describe good practice in how things are made and done
  • Accreditation – ensures that those who carry out conformity assessment, testing, certification and inspection are competent to do so

Both standards and accreditation are primarily voluntary systems, but some aspects of accreditation are mandatory, especially regarding conformity assessment.

The British Standards Institution (BSI) is the UK’s National Standards Body (NSB). It is responsible for producing national and international standards under a Memorandum of Understanding (PDF, 250KB, 13 pages) with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

BSI maintains the infrastructure for standards development in the UK, managing 1,200 technical committees. It represents the UK interest in the international standardisation organisations ISO and IEC and the European standardisation organisations CEN, CENELEC and ETSI.

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the UK’s National Accreditation Body. UKAS accreditation assures the competence, impartiality and integrity of testing, calibration, inspection and certification bodies. UKAS operates within the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding with BEIS.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) within BEIS has overall responsibility for standards and accreditation policy across government and has a sponsorship role with both UKAS and BSI.

For further, more detailed information please see the OPSS standardisation and accreditation pages.

Published 11 November 2020