What is accreditation and why is it important?

Why is accreditation important

Confidence in the market place is essential and consumers place trust in the services they buy, often without a second thought. Accreditation is an important consideration when choosing a drug and alcohol testing provider. More and more testing laboratories are voluntarily choosing to be accredited as they recognise the opportunities to demonstrate best practice and build consumer confidence.

The internationally agreed standard for testing laboratories is ISO/IEC 17025:2005. Some companies will claim to be working to the standard, but there is no guarantee that they are, because they have not been audited and received accreditation. Using an independently audited laboratory gives you confidence that it is:

  • impartial
  • technically competent
  • appropriately resourced
  • performing to the required standard
  • performing to a standard that is sustainable.

The sole national accreditation body recognised by the UK government to assess testing laboratories to ISO/IEC 17025:2005 is the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). UKAS is a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA). In short, UKAS ‘checks the checkers’.

The components of a National Accreditation Symbol

The breakdown of a UKAS symbolThe UKAS accreditation symbol for our testing laboratories in London, Abingdon and Malvern.

Each laboratory is allocated a unique number and is audited independently. Following a successful audit, UKAS issue a Schedule of Accreditation that demonstrates the laboratory meets the requirements. This includes a list of all the tests the laboratory is accredited to perform (i.e. a laboratory can be accredited to test for cocaine, but not for cannabis). This list is known as the scope of accreditation. Schedules of accreditation are published on the UKAS website and this can be taken as confirmation that the laboratory holds current UKAS accreditation for the scope defined in the document.

Our oral fluid, urine, hair and forensic laboratories are accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2005. Find out more about our UKAS accreditation and other quality standards on our website.

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