How to Choose the Right Certification Body for Your Business


Employing the right person for your business can be a lengthy process.  You want them to have the right skills and experience, you have personality to consider and whether they will fit in with the team.  Selecting the right certification body is just as important, as you want them to add value to the business through their assessments, and not just a tick box exercise.

What is the difference between UKAS accredited and other certification bodies?

Just as Certification Bodies (CB) will audit your company to verify your processes, the CB’s themselves are accredited by a central body to ensure they uphold the principles of certification.  The most recognised of these is UKAS.

UKAS is the only accreditation body recognised by the UK Government, and accreditation ensures that those who carry out the testing, certification and inspection are competent to do so.  UKAS monitors competence and quality of the certification bodies and ensures impartiality.

Only certification bodies that are accredited by UKAS can use their logo and in January 2021, UKAS updated the logo and branding.  Further information and the transition periods can be found on the UKAS website:


Some certification bodies have a highly identifiable brand which is instantly recognisable on your company stationery.  Selecting a CB with a global brand might be important for some companies as this may provide potential business growth across the globe.  Other CB’s work in niche markets and have a good reputation in certain sectors.  If you are unsure, ask the certification body to provide references and/or case studies that can give you confidence in their ability to meet your requirements.


Most certification bodies charge a day rate, and the number of days required for the assessments is governed by UKAS.  This is determined on the size and scale of your business, the scope of certification, the activities and processes your organisation is engaged in and the risk each of these activities carry.  In some cases, large numbers of staff who perform the same processes can decrease the amount of audit days, but this is not always simple. 

Some CB’s will also charge the cost of travel and accommodation, others will include this into the day rate, so it’s always worth checking.  Generally, the larger CB’s will have auditors in varying locations, so this can reduce the need for additional accommodation and travel costs if your business has offices or sites in varying locations.

As your certificate is valid for three years, I recommend asking the certification bodies to provide the costs for the three-year cycle.  There will be the initial certification costs (the Stage 1 and Stage 2 assessments) and following this, your business will have surveillance audits.  By having the full breakdown of costs over the three-year cycle, you will be able to compare costs better, including the allocation of days each year.


ISO Certification is international, and if your business has operational sites across the globe, which require assessments, then choosing a CB with good global coverage should be considered.  All UKAS accredited CB’s work to the same standard, so if your business is growing and you now require a global CB to cover your activities, transferring between accredited bodies can be fairly easy.


Certification bodies cannot provide consultancy services, this is a requirement of UKAS, however they can support in other ways, such as workshops, webinars and training.  Some certification bodies will provide a dedicated account manager which can prove very useful should you have any questions, or when arranging your next assessment and I do recommend taking this into account.


Generally, assessor’s diaries get booked up quite quickly, so it is worth checking availability when making initial contact.  You do however have to be realistic; you are unlikely to book an assessment next week with any of the certification bodies.  Should your business require certification to several standards, I recommend asking for a multi-badged assessor.  This means they can audit the full management system, such as ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001 at the same time, rather than having multiple assessors.

If you are unsure or would like any assistance in choosing a certification body, please do get in touch.  Brookfields is proud to be recommended by the major UKAS Accredited certification bodies, including: BSI, Bureau Vertitas, SGS, ISOQAR, AUVA and British Assessment Bureau and will happily answer any questions you may have.

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