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Opting to achieve ISO certification for your organisation requires understanding whether to go for a UKAS or a non-UKAS certification. Both these routes offer a means to achieve ISO certification. However, they differ in their approach, recognition and credibility. 

Here at Critical Path, we understand that achieving ISO for the first time can be an overwhelming experience, so we have covered the key differences in this blog post to answer some of your questions. 

What is UKAS?

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is a government-appointed agency that assesses the competence and capability of organisations offering certification, testing, inspection, and calibration services against globally recognised standards. 

Organisations who are certified are assured of a high standard of quality and reliability. The "crown and tick" signifies a company's achieving the gold standard in ISO certification. 

What is Non-UKAS?

A non-UKAS ISO certification is granted by a body not accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). Unlike UKAS-accredited certifications, which undergo rigorous assessment and meet internationally recognised standards, non-UKAS certifications may lack the same level of credibility and assurance. 

These certifications may be less widely recognised or accepted in tendering processes and industry settings, potentially raising concerns about their reliability and compliance with ISO standards. While anyone can issue an 'ISO Certificate', only UKAS-accredited bodies have undergone independent assessment and approval. 

UKAS Accreditation for ISO Certification in Tendering

For organisations achieving ISO as a prerequisite when tendering for work, UKAS certification will stand out more prominently than a non-UKAS certification because it ensures the certification is internationally recognised and held to rigorous standards. 

Many tendering processes require UKAS-accredited certification to mitigate risks associated with non-compliance and ensure that the awarded organisation meets the highest quality and safety standards. Without the accreditation, ISO certification may not carry the same weight or credibility, potentially jeopardising opportunities for securing contracts or projects.

Benefits of UKAS Accreditation

Opting for this accreditation when achieving ISO certification for your company has many benefits; below, we will cover five main benefits.

Global Recognition

UKAS accreditation is recognised as a symbol of quality, competence, and integrity. Organisations accredited by UKAS demonstrate their adherence to internationally accepted standards and best practices, assuring customers, partners, and regulators worldwide. This global recognition opens doors to new markets, enhances reputation, and facilitates international trade agreements and collaborations.

Enhanced Credibility

Achieving UKAS accreditation enhances an organisation's credibility and reputation within its industry and among stakeholders. Accreditation signifies that the organisation has undergone rigorous assessment by an independent and authoritative body, validating its competence, reliability, and commitment to quality management systems. This enhanced credibility builds trust with customers, suppliers, investors, and other stakeholders, leading to increased confidence and loyalty.

Market Access

UKAS accreditation improves market access by demonstrating compliance with regulatory requirements, industry standards, and customer expectations. Accredited organisations have a competitive advantage in procurement processes, tendering opportunities, and supply chain relationships. Market access is not limited to domestic markets but extends to international markets where UKAS accreditation is recognised, facilitating trade agreements and market expansion strategies.

Risk Mitigation

UKAS accreditation helps mitigate risks associated with product failures, safety incidents, and legal liabilities. Accredited organisations adhere to recognised standards and best practices, reducing the likelihood of quality issues, non-compliance with regulations, and reputational damage. By implementing robust quality management systems and continuous improvement processes, accredited organisations can identify, assess, and mitigate risks effectively, ensuring operational excellence and business resilience.

Customer Confidence

UKAS accreditation instils confidence in customers by assuring them of consistent product quality, reliable services, and adherence to industry standards. Accredited organisations prioritise customer satisfaction and loyalty by maintaining high standards of performance, transparency, and accountability. Customer confidence leads to repeat business, positive referrals, and long-term relationships, driving revenue growth and sustainable business success.

How Critical Path Can Support You

Here at Critical Path, we understand the complexities and challenges involved in achieving ISO certification, especially for the first time. While it's important to note that we do not conduct the ISO audit ourselves, we do play a huge part in thoroughly preparing your organisation for it. 

We offer a mock audit service, and we cover the following standards:

  1. ISO 9001: Quality Management System
  2. ISO 14001: Environmental Management System
  3. ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Management System
  4. ISO 27001: Information Security Management System
  5. ISO 22301: Business Continuity Management System
  6. ISO 50001: Energy Management System

Mock Audit Service

Our mock audit service, also known as a pre-audit, includes a detailed review of documentation, on-site assessments, gap analysis, risk assessment, continual improvement recommendations, and training and support. Through this comprehensive approach, we identify areas for improvement, provide actionable recommendations, and prepare your organisation to confidently achieve ISO certification. 


Selecting the appropriate path for ISO certification—whether UKAS or non-UKAS—requires careful consideration of various factors. UKAS accreditation, endorsed by the British government, signifies credibility and reliability due to its stringent standards and comprehensive audits. On the other hand, non-UKAS options offer a faster, more budget-friendly approach, albeit with potentially less industry recognition. 

The choice really comes down to what suits your organisation best. But no matter which path you choose, Critical Path will be here to support you. We're not here to conduct the audit ourselves (that would be like grading our own homework!), but we're here to make sure you're well-prepared for it. With Critical Path as your partner, you're in good hands to achieve and continually maintain ISO certification for your organisation.

The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has recently announced significant amendments to its management systems standards. These changes particularly affect the following top 10 management system standards: ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, ISO/IEC 27001, ISO 22000, ISO 13485, ISO 50001, ISO/IEC 20000-1, ISO 37001, and ISO 22301. These changes introduce climate change considerations into the core of organisational management systems, taking a big step towards making businesses worldwide more sustainable and environmentally responsible.

Understanding the Amendments

The recent amendments to management systems standards, particularly clauses 4.1 and 4.2, focus on understanding the organisation's context and the needs of interested parties. A significant addition is the requirement for organisations to evaluate the relevance of climate change in ISO standards to their operations and strategic objectives. This ensures that "climate change" is now incorporated into the management system as an essential consideration.

The Significance of the Amendments

These changes reflect a broader shift in the global business landscape towards acknowledging and addressing the pressing challenge of climate change. By incorporating climate change in ISO standards, organisations are encouraged to evaluate and mitigate their environmental impact, aligning their operations with global sustainability efforts. This amendment not only underscores ISO's commitment to combating climate change but also elevates the role of businesses in contributing to environmental sustainability.

Expectations of Certified Organisations

Organisations certified under these ISO standards are now expected to:

These expectations aim to ensure that organisations are not only compliant with ISO standards but also actively contributing to global climate action initiatives.

Climate Change in ISO Standards: How Critical Path Can Help

As an ISO consultancy provider, Critical Path is ready to assist organisations in navigating these amendments through a suite of services designed to ensure seamless compliance and integration of climate change considerations:

Gap Analysis

Our consultants conduct a thorough review of your current management system, identifying areas requiring updates to align with the latest ISO standards. This includes examining policies, procedures, and documentation related to quality, environmental, and health and safety management.

Risk Assessment

We assess the impact of climate change on your operations, identifying specific risks and opportunities. This involves reviewing existing risk management processes and documentation. Additionally, we conduct interviews and site visits to gather relevant information.

Implementation Support

Our team offers expert advice on integrating climate change considerations into your management system. This includes developing tailored climate change policies and procedures, updating operational processes, and providing training to staff. We also assist in documenting these changes to ensure compliance with ISO standards.

Documentation and Compliance

We help prepare the necessary documentation to meet audit requirements. This includes updating manuals, procedures, and records to reflect the integration of climate change considerations into your management system. We ensure that all documentation is comprehensive and aligned with ISO standards.

Training and Awareness

We conduct onsite or remote training sessions to enhance organisational awareness of climate change issues. This involves developing training materials, delivering interactive sessions, and providing ongoing support to staff as they implement changes. We also assist in documenting training activities and outcomes for compliance purposes.

Ongoing Support

We provide continuous support to ensure your management system remains effective in addressing climate change challenges. This includes monitoring changes in ISO standards and best practices, conducting regular reviews of your system, and offering guidance on improvements. We assist in documenting these ongoing efforts to demonstrate compliance and continual improvement.


The integration of climate change into ISO management systems marks a major shift in how organisations address sustainability. As businesses strive for a greener future, Critical Path pledges to assist them in meeting new ISO standards and aiding the global fight against climate change.



Small businesses often face unique challenges in maintaining quality and efficiency. In a world of fierce competition, credibility and reliability can make or break your business. This is where ISO standards come to the rescue. Critical Path, a leading consultancy provider, is here to guide you through the journey of understanding how ISO standards can be a game-changer for small businesses.

What are ISO Standards?

ISO, or the International Organisation for Standardisation, develops and publishes a wide range of international standards that ensure products, services, and systems meet specific quality, safety, and efficiency criteria. These standards provide a globally recognised framework for businesses to improve operations and meet customer expectations.

ISO Standards for Small Businesses

Small businesses often wonder if ISO standards are meant for them. The answer is a resounding yes!

ISO 9001: Quality Management

Quality is the cornerstone of any successful business. ISO 9001 helps small businesses implement efficient quality management systems. It's not about adding bureaucracy but rather streamlining processes to consistently deliver better products and services.

ISO 14001: Environmental Management

Being environmentally responsible is not just for big corporations. ISO 14001 allows small businesses to reduce their environmental footprint, save resources, and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.

ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety

Ensuring the safety and well-being of employees is paramount. ISO 45001 helps small businesses create a safe workplace, reduce accidents, and comply with legal requirements.

ISO 27001: Information Security

Protecting sensitive information is crucial in today's digital age. ISO 27001 helps small businesses safeguard data, build customer trust, and mitigate the risks of data breaches.

Benefits of ISO Certification for Small Businesses

Now that you know which ISO standards are relevant, let's dive into the benefits they bring:

Improved Credibility

ISO certification is a globally recognised badge of quality. It shows your customers and partners that you are committed to meeting high standards, which can boost trust and credibility.

Enhanced Efficiency

Implementing ISO standards often involves streamlining processes. This can lead to cost savings, improved resource utilisation, and greater efficiency.

Competitive Advantage

Small businesses can find it challenging to stand out in a crowded market. ISO certification can give you an edge over competitors and open new opportunities.

Better Risk Management

ISO standards include risk assessment and management components. This helps small businesses identify and mitigate risks, ensuring smoother operations even in uncertain times.

Becoming ISO Certified with Critical Path

The path to ISO certification might seem daunting, but it's entirely achievable for small businesses with the proper guidance. Critical Path specialises in assisting small enterprises on this journey. As a trusted consultancy provider, we work with many auditing bodies and can recommend a third-party auditing body to help companies achieve ISO certification. Here's how the process typically works:

Step 1: Initial Assessment and Gap Analysis

The journey towards ISO certification begins with an initial assessment conducted by our expert consultants. We'll thoroughly evaluate your current practices and perform a comprehensive gap analysis to identify areas where your business doesn't conform to the requirements of the ISO standard you are working towards. This assessment serves as the foundation for developing a customised plan to achieve certification.

Step 2: Planning and Strategy Development

Once the gaps are identified, our team will work closely with you to develop a tailored plan and strategy for achieving ISO certification. We'll set clear objectives, define roles and responsibilities, and establish a roadmap for implementation that aligns with your business goals and timelines.

Step 3: Documentation Development

The next crucial step involves developing the necessary documentation for ISO certification. Our consultants will collaborate with your team to create a suite of documents, including a bespoke manual, procedures, work instructions, forms, and records. These documents will be customised to meet your business's specific requirements and ensure compliance with ISO standards.

Step 4: Implementation and Training

With the documentation in place, we'll guide you through the implementation of ISO requirements. Our comprehensive training programs are designed to educate your staff on ISO principles, processes, and best practices. From top management to frontline employees, everyone will receive the necessary training to effectively implement and maintain ISO standards within your organisation.

Step 5: Internal Audits and Continuous Improvement

Internal audits play a crucial role in ensuring ongoing compliance with ISO standards. Our consultants will conduct thorough internal audits to assess the effectiveness of your management system and identify areas for improvement. We'll work with your team to address any findings and implement corrective actions, fostering a culture of continuous improvement within your organisation.

Step 6: Mock Audit and Verification Audit Preparation

As you approach the final stages of certification, we'll conduct a mock audit to simulate the official certification audit process. This mock audit will help prepare your team for the rigorous assessment and ensure readiness for certification. Additionally, we'll provide guidance and support as you engage with an independent auditing body for the verification audit, offering assistance throughout the audit process to maximise your chances of certification success.

Step 7: Post-Certification Support and Maintenance

Even after achieving ISO certification, our support continues. We'll continue to provide ongoing support and assistance to help you maintain compliance with ISO standards. From addressing non-conformities to conducting periodic reviews and updates, we'll be by your side every step of the way to ensure your certification remains valid and effective.


Whether you are looking to achieve ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, or ISO 27001, Critical Path has got you covered. Our step-by-step process is very similar for each ISO standard, ensuring a seamless journey towards certification. We understand the unique needs of small businesses and can offer as little or as much support as you require.

ISO standards offer a structured approach for small businesses to enhance quality, credibility, and efficiency. With our expert guidance and support, you can navigate the complexities of ISO certification with confidence. Our consultants are supportive and will be there to guide you every step of the way.

Introduction to ISO Certification

ISO is a globally recognised standard that signifies an organisation's commitment to quality, efficiency, and continuous improvement. By achieving ISO certification, businesses can streamline their processes, enhance customer satisfaction, and gain a competitive edge in the market.

Why Choose Critical Path for ISO Certification?

Choosing the right partner for ISO certification ensures a smooth and successful implementation process. Critical Path offers comprehensive consultancy services tailored to your organisation's needs. With our expertise and personalised approach, we guide you through every step of the certification journey, from initial assessment to final audit.

ISO Certification as a Competitive Advantage

ISO is more than just a badge of quality; it's a strategic tool that can give your business a competitive advantage. Here's how:

How ISO Certification Enhances Competitiveness

It demonstrates to customers, suppliers, and stakeholders that your organisation adheres to internationally recognised quality, safety, and efficiency standards. Aligning your processes with ISO standards can improve operational performance, reduce errors, and enhance overall competitiveness.

Building Trust and Credibility with ISO Certification

ISO certification builds customer trust and credibility by assuring that your products or services consistently meet their expectations. It signals to potential clients that your organisation is committed to delivering high-quality outcomes and adhering to best practices, thus strengthening your reputation in the market.

Gaining Market Access and Opportunities

ISO standards open doors to new markets and business opportunities. Many government agencies and multinational corporations require suppliers to be ISO-certified, giving certified businesses a competitive advantage when bidding for contracts or expanding into new territories. It also demonstrates compliance with regulatory requirements, which can be a key differentiator in highly regulated industries.

ISO Standards Covered by Critical Path

ISO 9001 Quality Management

Enhance customer satisfaction and streamline processes with the ISO 9001 standard. Critical Path's specialists will guide you through the implementation process, ensuring your quality management system truly benefits your business. From initial assessment to final audit, we help you establish efficient quality control measures, improve product or service quality, and enhance overall customer satisfaction.

ISO 14001 Environmental Management

Demonstrate your commitment to environmental sustainability with ISO 14001 certification. Our experts assist you in implementing environmental management practices that minimise harm to the environment and comply with applicable laws and regulations. From conducting environmental impact assessments to establishing pollution prevention measures, we ensure that your organisation operates in an environmentally responsible manner.

ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management

Promote a safe and healthy working environment for your employees with ISO 45001 certification. Our expert guidance ensures that your business meets the standards required for occupational health and safety. We help you identify and assess workplace hazards, develop comprehensive safety policies and procedures, and implement effective risk management strategies to prevent accidents and injuries.

ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management

Ensure your organisation's resilience to unforeseen disruptions with ISO 22301 certification. Our experts support you in establishing a robust business continuity management system, ensuring uninterrupted business operations in the face of emergencies or disasters. From risk assessment and business impact analysis to developing continuity plans and conducting drills, we help you mitigate risks and minimise the impact of disruptions on your business.

ISO 27001 Information Security Management

Protect sensitive data and maintain stakeholder trust with ISO 27001 certification. Our comprehensive guidance ensures that your information security management systems are up to the mark and safeguarded against potential threats. From identifying security risks and vulnerabilities to implementing data protection measures and conducting regular security audits, we help you maintain your information assets' confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

ISO 50001 Energy Management

With ISO 50001 certification, you can optimise energy usage and reduce costs. Our experts assist you in implementing energy management practices that improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance sustainability. From conducting energy audits to developing energy management plans and implementing energy-saving initiatives, we help you achieve significant energy savings and demonstrate your commitment to environmental responsibility.

Industries We Have Helped Achieve ISO Certification

Critical Path has successfully assisted organisations across various industries in achieving and continually managing ISO standards, including: 

No matter the industry or size of your organisation, our team can help you navigate the complexities of ISO. We provide a wide range of packages to suit your timescale and budget. 


ISO enhances credibility and trust among customers and stakeholders and opens doors to new opportunities and markets. Businesses that embrace ISO standards demonstrate their dedication to continuous improvement, setting themselves apart from competitors and positioning themselves as industry leaders. With Critical Path's support, businesses can leverage ISO certification to gain a competitive edge, drive growth, and achieve long-term success.

Quality, Health, Safety, and Environmental (QHSE) compliance is not just a regulatory requirement; it's a crucial aspect of maintaining operational efficiency and reputation in an organisation. Traditionally, many companies have relied on hiring dedicated QHSE managers to oversee these responsibilities. But the question is, do you need a QHSE manager, or can Oscar handle everything for you?

This blog explores the advantages of opting for cloud-based QHSE solutions. We'll provide you with more information on our internal cloud-based solution, Oscar. Oscar is the outsourced system for compliance and resolution, designed to simplify, comply with, and certify our clients to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001.

What is QHSE?

QHSE management has evolved in recent years. With changing regulations, increasing complexities in supply chains, and growing stakeholder expectations, businesses of all sizes and sectors are under more pressure than ever to ensure compliance and mitigate risks. QHSE stands for quality, health, safety, and environment. It represents an integrated approach to managing quality assurance, occupational health and safety, and environmental sustainability within an organisation. Here is a breakdown of each component:

Quality Management (Q)

Quality management ensures that products or services meet or exceed customer expectations. It involves processes, systems, and standards to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes. Quality management systems such as ISO 9001 provide frameworks for implementing quality management practices, including quality planning, control, assurance, and improvement.

Health and Safety Management (H&S or HSE)

Health and safety management encompasses measures to protect the health, safety, and well-being of employees, contractors, visitors, and other stakeholders within the workplace. It involves identifying and mitigating occupational hazards, implementing safety protocols and procedures, providing adequate training and resources, and complying with relevant health and safety regulations and standards. ISO 45001 is the international standard for occupational health and safety management systems, providing a framework for organisations to proactively manage health and safety risks and improve performance.

Environmental Management (E)

Environmental management minimises the environmental impact of an organisation's operations, products, and services. It involves assessing and managing environmental risks, reducing resource consumption, preventing pollution, promoting sustainable practices, and complying with environmental regulations and standards. ISO 14001 is the international standard for environmental management systems, providing a framework for organisations to establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve their environmental performance.

Meet Oscar

What is Oscar? Oscar stands for Outsourced System for Compliance and Resolution, and it's designed to help organisations manage the often intricate and costly process of achieving and continually managing ISO standards (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001). 

Oscar Features and Benefits

Oscar's features are designed to simplify, comply with, and certify you to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001 while reducing the overhead and complexity typically associated with maintaining compliance. Additionally, Oscar provides robust data encryption and two-factor authentication, ensuring that your organisation's sensitive information is always protected against unauthorised access. 

24/7 Accessibility & Security

You can access Oscar from any device with an internet connection anywhere. This cloud-based platform ensures that your data is always available and securely protected. Oscar offers reliability and performance without the need for physical hardware installations, and our secure server farm ensures 24/7, 365-day availability, guaranteeing uninterrupted access whenever you need it. 

User Access Level Control

Oscar offers two distinct user access levels, empowering effective collaboration while maintaining data security. With this feature, management enjoys comprehensive access, including the ability to view and edit documents, while employees have access to relevant information, ensuring a streamlined and focused user experience.

Document Version Control & Traceability

With Oscar, document version control is easy, ensuring seamless compliance with ISO requirements. The system automatically provides comprehensive version control capabilities, including a complete history of previous document versions.

Automated Email Notifications

Rest assured that every user instruction sent through our system is meticulously recorded. We use a combination of on-screen and email notifications to ensure that no instruction is ever overlooked or missed.

Corrective Action Reporting

Our system ensures seamless handling of non-conformances by automatically generating notifications and assigning them to the relevant user(s). With this feature, non-conformances are continually monitored until they are successfully resolved, promoting efficient and effective management of issues.

Task Scheduler

Oscar simplifies task management by allowing you to enter any one-off or repetitive tasks. Once entered, the system automatically notifies the relevant user. The system generates automated notifications upon task completion, keeping everyone informed and ensuring seamless task execution.

Fully Maintained Legal Register

Our system boasts a full legal register that is regularly updated every six months. With just a click of a button, users can effortlessly define the legislation that applies to them, ensuring compliance and staying up-to-date with regulatory requirements.

Automated Document Control

Our system offers seamless integration by allowing you to automatically upload documents held outside of the system with just a click of a button. The system generates a version number upon upload, ensuring organised and efficient document management.

Dynamic Risk Assessment Tool

Our system empowers users to easily create risk assessments for any business area. When you initiate a risk assessment, the system automatically generates a version number, ensuring accurate tracking and organised risk management.

QHSE Manager Salary vs. Software Subscription

It's important to cover the financial considerations to provide a comparison between hiring an internal QHSE manager and opting to subscribe to Oscar. 

Cost of Hiring an Internal QHSE Manager

Salaries for QHSE managers in the UK can vary widely, but typical annual wages range from £45,000 to £60,000 depending on the region and the specific demands of the role (Reed, Indeed, and LinkedIn). Please note that hiring involves additional costs like recruitment, training, and benefits, which can significantly raise the overall expenditure.

Cost of Subscribing to Oscar

Oscar offers a more predictable and potentially cost-effective alternative. The cost structure includes a £1,000 upfront connection fee combined with a monthly hosting fee ranging from £200 to £800. Assuming the highest fee structure (£800 per month), the total cost for a year would be £10,600. Over three years, even at the highest monthly rate, this totals £31,800, which is still within the lower range of hiring a single QHSE manager for just one year.

Given these figures, Oscar provides a cost-efficient alternative. It offers automation, 24/7 support, and compliance updates. These benefits reduce the need for extensive staff training and ongoing professional development often required with an internal manager. This setup not only simplifies budgeting but also significantly reduces overhead costs related to employee benefits and other HR-related expenses.

Getting Started With Oscar

To start using Oscar, the process is straightforward and aims to quickly and efficiently make your organisation compliant with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001. Here are the typical steps involved in the process:

Step 1: Free Demonstration

Start by experiencing a complimentary, no-obligation demonstration of Oscar to see how it can streamline your QHSE management firsthand.

Step 2: Choose Your Contract

Decide what's best for your organisation with our fixed-term, interest-free contract options. Whether you choose a 3 or 5-year term, each is designed to give you financial clarity and peace of mind.

Step 3: Quick Activation

Oscar is operational within just 48 hours. This rapid deployment is done entirely online, requiring no hardware installations or downloads, ensuring that your business faces minimal disruption and continues operations smoothly. 

Step 4: Document Upload

Seamlessly upload your essential compliance documents related to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001 into Oscar. This includes quality manuals, environmental policies, safety records, and procedural documentation.

Don't worry if you don't have all the required documents ready. If you're missing any documents, our consultants can write bespoke documents or provide templates. This ensures your documentation has no gaps, easing your transition to Oscar and ensuring full compliance with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001 standards.


Choosing Oscar as your cloud-based QHSE management solution offers significant cost benefits. It provides compliance ease compared to hiring an internal manager. With features like 24/7 accessibility and advanced security measures, Oscar efficiently meets your organisation's QHSE needs. Ready to see how Oscar can help you achieve ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001? Schedule a free, no-obligation demo today. 

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