AIRTO, the Association of Innovation, Research and Technology Organisations is pleased to announce that it has become a member of UKAS, The United Kingdom Accreditation Service. UKAS is the sole national accreditation body for the United Kingdom and is recognised by government, to assess against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services. Accreditation by UKAS demonstrates the competence, impartiality and performance capability of these evaluators. In short, UKAS provides confidence by being an independent means of ‘checking the checkers’. UKAS is a non-profit-distributing private company, limited by guarantee and is independent of Government. UKAS’ members represent those who have an interest in all aspects of accreditation – national and local government, business and industry, purchasers, users, specifiers and professional bodies. AIRTO’s membership comprises approximately sixty of the principal organisations operating in the UK’s Innovation, Research and Technology (IRT) sector. The sector contributes £34Bn to UK GDP, delivering a range of innovation services to business and government, including R&D, consultancy, validation and testing and accreditation services. Our members include independent Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs), Catapult Centres, Public Sector Research Establishments, National Laboratories, some university Technology Transfer Offices and some privately held innovation companies.

Commenting on the announcement, AIRTO’s Executive Director, Jane Gate explained that:
“AIRTO’s membership of UKAS will mean that we can actively participate in UKAS’s Policy Advisory Forum to represent the views of the IRT sector on policy issues affecting relating to accreditation, including the development, interpretation and application of national, European and international Standards, guidelines, procedures, regulations, practices and agreements applicable to accreditation bodies and conformity assessment bodies.” 

John Freeman of the Scotch Whisky Research Institute, a member who Chairs AIRTO’s Quality Managers’ Interest Group, said: “Building closer links with UKAS is important for AIRTO’s members who offer accreditation services, because it gives us the opportunity to constructively to help shape UKAS’ policy formulation processes.”

Paul Greenwood, UKAS’ Divisional Director for Operations commented: “As an organisation that relies on the feedback from our stakeholders to shape our future, UKAS is delighted that AIRTO has accepted our invitation to become formal members. We look forward to a welcoming them to our Policy Advisory Forum where they will be able to put forward the views of their members and represent the perspective of the UK’s Innovation, Research and Technology organisations in relation to accreditation”.