» Our History


From 1966 onwards, The British Calibration Service (BCS) was appointed to approve measurements. It was set up to extend the benefits of legal metrology and to also extend the service of measurements to industry and the consumer alike. The government re-located the organisation to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) during the 1970s.

1n 1981 the testing scheme NATLAS (National Testing Laboratory Accreditation Scheme was introduced by NPL, now known as UKAS) to provide accredited certification certificates. This scheme was the first introduction of a 3rd party national scheme and moved away from 2nd party schemes, allowing accreditation to be independent. The rapid increase in accreditation was encouraged by large procurers taking up this independent scheme.

The accreditation of testing laboratories started to increase, as did the accreditation of calibration laboratories. Indeed 1981 is seen as the ‘trigger point’ for the increase in accredited laboratories, as it encouraged the testing laboratories to gain accredited calibrations for their measurement equipment.

The mid-eighties also followed a trend where 2nd party schemes reduced, and NATLAS found themselves completing more independent work for different types of industry fields such as Electricity and Concrete. This independent stance proved more useful for the laboratories that worked in a number of different sectors, as it also allowed a reduction in multiple assessments from various bodies.

In 1985 BCS and NATLAS merged into the National Measurement Accreditation Service (NAMAS).

In 1995 NAMAS and the National Accreditation Council for Certification Bodies (NACCB) which was operated by BSI  merged to form UKAS which together account for over 60 years of experience and expertise in accreditation.    In 1996 the accreditation of engineering inspection was added from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

UKAS was set up under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the British Government. This MoU is an agreement between UKAS and the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), which was replaced by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in July 2016. UKAS was appointed as the National Accreditation Body (NAB) by The Accreditation Regulations, 2009. It conforms to the EU Legislative Framework – Regulation EC 765/2008.

In 2010 UKAS acquired the CPA (Clinical Pathology Accreditation) from the Royal Colleges.  It started ISAS (Imaging Services Accreditation Scheme) for the Royal College of Radiologists and the College of Radiographers.

In 2012, UKAS was appointed to deliver the IQIPS (Improving Quality In Physiological Services) Programme hosted by the Royal College of Physicians with support from the Department of Health.

UKAS continues to grow and is now recognised as a leader in the area of accreditation. This has been achieved through continual improvement in technology and innovation in to new areas of accreditation, and by offering customers a high level of service, which exceeds expectation.