Designed to deliver certainty in an uncertain economic and political climate, the UKQI is a joint initiative between the UK’s national standards, measurement, testing and accreditation bodies; The British Standards Institute (BSI), the National Measurement and Regulation Office (NMRO), the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).
The aim of the initiative is to coordinate the influence, experience and expertise of these internationally recognised bodies to establish or improve quality infrastructures in emerging and developing markets. Once implemented, a quality infrastructure helps support businesses of all sizes by accelerating innovation and product development, enhancing trade and improving environmental performance.
Paul Stennett, CEO of UKAS, said: “Trust is the key component of all trading relationships, whether they are conducted within national borders or internationally. The UK utilises an integrated system of standards, agreements, codes and regulations that together create a world-leading quality infrastructure. This generates the necessary trust to trade by ensuring that when we buy goods and services – as a business or a consumer – we get exactly what we expect. Using the UK’s expertise and experience to implement a similar quality infrastructure abroad helps to extend the reach of that trust into new territories. By removing doubt and technical barriers, the UKQI gives UK companies access to a wider international market place, whilst simultaneously improving the quality and safety of imports from those territories.”
The UKQI initiative is supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The concept of a national quality infrastructure emerged to ensure high levels of rigour and consistency in trading relations. The system coordinates five key components, where the combined influence on generating confidence is greater than the sum of its parts:
• Standards: specifies how goods should be made produced and services conducted in a way that is mutually acceptable.
• Testing and Measurement: implements specifications and standards to ensure validity and consistency.
• Certification: provides assurance that standards are being applied in the correct way
• Accreditation: ensures that those carrying out testing, certification and inspection are competent to do so.