The need for a robust and dependable supply chain is universal across all businesses and industries. UKAS CertCheck has the ability to introduce surety into supply chains and the procurement process
During times of challenge and change, this need is felt more keenly, as we strive for stability and confidence.
There are many potential business benefits of holding certification to international management system standards, the principle of which is to provide this much-needed degree of certainty, which also boosts the credibility of the certified organisation.
When you add accreditation, by a government-appointed Accreditation Body (which in the United Kingdom, is UKAS), into the mix, you are confirming the awarding Certification Body (CB) has demonstrated competence, integrity and impartiality.
Streamlining verification of accredited certification
In recognition of the benefits of and trust placed in accredited certification, many businesses stipulate their suppliers must hold and maintain accredited certification. When this stipulation is made, it becomes necessary to check the authenticity of suppliers’ management system certifications, to protect the supply chain and manage reputational risk. Until recently, this required a two-staged process in which authenticity and validity of the certification would be confirmed with the CB, after which it was necessary to confirm with UKAS that the awarding CB is currently accredited for that particular activity.
To support businesses and organisations engaged in this process, UKAS has launched CertCheck, a free-to-use online database of accredited management systems certifications that automates the above process, combining certification and accreditation verification into one simple service.
CertCheck provides access to a database of almost 400,000 management system certifications issued worldwide by UKAS-accredited CBs. These certifications cover a vast array of widely recognised and commonly used management systems standards; ranging from the long-established quality (ISO 9001), environmental (ISO 14001) and occupational health and safety (ISO 45001) standards; to newer information security (ISO 27001), energy management (ISO 50001) and supply chain security (ISO 28000) standards; also encompassing more sector-specific standards such as food safety (ISO 22000), medical devices (ISO 13485) and road traffic safety (ISO 39001).
Entirely self-funded, UKAS CertCheck is free-to-use and open to all. When you conduct a search on UKAS CertCheck, you can easily confirm whether a certification is genuine and current by performing a search either by company name or certificate number, returning the results of all UKAS-accredited certifications held by that company. By signing up for a free account, you will be able to increase the number of daily searches available to you and proactively monitor the accreditation status of companies in your supply chain. CertCheck also provides the opportunity to directly message CBs with any enquiries you may have.
Protecting against fraud
Erroneous claims of accredited certification and counterfeit certificates pose considerable risk to procurement bodies and significantly undermine the trust and confidence derived from accredited certification.
As well as smoothing and expediting the verification process when it comes to accredited certification, one of the principal drivers behind the development of CertCheck was to enhance the checks and balances that protect against fraudulent claims of accredited certification. Since launching CertCheck, UKAS has become aware of several counterfeit certificates and false claims of accreditation or affiliation with UKAS from some organisations. As a result, UKAS has been able to directly inform organisations that their suppliers are making a false claim about holding accredited certification.
Industry and government reception
Wayne Terry, Chief Executive of the Association of British Certification Bodies (ABCB), commented on the launch of CertCheck:
“It is an unfortunate fact that some unscrupulous organisations or individuals prey upon the complexity of the certification verification process, allowing them to pass off fraudulent or misleading claims. Defrauding the procurement process undermines the hard work that many organisations go through to achieve valid accredited certification. UKAS CertCheck will give confidence to organisations that rely upon accredited certification, helping them ensure those claims are valid.”
In the six months since the launch of the service, CertCheck has been well received by both government and industry.
At the time of the launch, then Minister for Small Business, Paul Scully, described CertCheck as a service that “will make it easier for businesses to ensure their suppliers are walking the walk when they talk the talk about holding accredited certification.”
Customer confidence in UKAS CertCheck
To help safeguard customer information and prevent data scraping, UKAS has implemented several state-of-the-art information security measures to ensure data and information is used appropriately and maintained securely. Security practices restrict volume searching, but access can be made available to large-scale procurers (such as government or local authorities) by arrangement, with automated search and user-integration services in development.
User confidence in UKAS CertCheck
UKAS has made the uploading of accredited management systems certifications a mandatory condition of accreditation for all accredited Certification Bodies. The onboarding of Certification Bodies, achieving industry buy-in and assisting all Certification Bodies as they integrate their own systems successfully with CertCheck has been a key challenge with this project. However, UKAS felt it was imperative that if users were going to have any confidence in the results returned by the system, it was necessary to know that any negative returns, in all likelihood, indicated an absent or lapsed certification.
Ultimately, UKAS was delighted with the level of cooperation and collaboration we received from our participating CBs, and the positive feedback we have received from the industry following the launch has also been very encouraging.
Over a thousand users have now registered for a free account with CertCheck, allowing them a higher number of daily searches on the platform, gaining access to a ‘watch list’ to which they can add their suppliers and proactively monitor the accredited status of these certifications through email notifications.
To take advantage of this free service, you can sign up for your own CertCheck account in minutes. The CertCheck service goes beyond verifying a certificate; it is about valuing and protecting your business and supply chain. To be certain, use CertCheck.
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