t: 020 7219 8155 e: fieldm@parliament.uk


January 13, 2003

Question written on 13/01/2003

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her Department is doing to support the Government’s policy on accreditation.

Answered by Patricia Hewitt

Accreditation, as a means of providing assurance of the competence of certification, inspection, testing and calibration services, is a voluntary activity which none the less makes an important contribution to the competitiveness of UK businesses. In order to ensure that accreditation is authoritative and operates in the public interest, my Department, on behalf of Government as a whole, has established a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) which places a number of duties and obligations on both parties and gives recognition to UKAS as the sole national body for the accreditation, against recognised standards, of certification and inspection bodies, testing and calibration laboratories. My Department is responsible for ensuring that the duties and obligations set down in the MoU are met by both parties. We are also supporting an accreditation awareness campaign, being run by UKAS, aimed at raising the awareness in business and Government of the benefits of using UKAS accredited services.