Published: 20 Jul 2016

As the quality profession rises to the challenge, UKAS, BSI and the CQI issue statements on the potential implications of Brexit.

Following news that the UK voted to leave the European Union, economic, regulatory and political uncertainty has dominated the agenda.

The Brexit decision came on 23 June 2016, in a referendum whereby British citizens voted to exit the EU. While concerns over trade, markets, employment and interest rates continue to evolve daily, those closest to the quality profession issued statements focused on the risks and opportunities.

From the strength of British standards, to lessons from history and a focus on good governance, the messages emphasised the need for businesses to turn to the quality profession to help meet the challenges.

Statement from the British Standards Institution (BSI)

“Following the result of the UK referendum, BSI is continuing to help organizations achieve their goals as we have done for the past 115 years. For BSI it is business as usual, however as the political situation develops and our discussions with the UK government and other relevant authorities evolve, we will continue to keep you informed on progress on both this page and other communications.”

Statement from United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS)

“UKAS accreditation of certification, inspection, testing and measurement services plays a key role in maintaining the UK’s world-leading quality infrastructure. Certificates issued by UKAS and UKAS accredited organisations are recognised internationally through UKAS’ membership of the European co-operation of Accreditation (EA), the International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (ILAC) and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).  Following the recent referendum on EU membership, the situation currently remains the same and there is no change to UKAS' status, nor the status of certificates issued by UKAS accredited organisations.

“The situation following exit from the EU will depend on the terms of the exit package negotiated but UKAS expects the recognition of certificates to continue through continued UKAS membership of EA and/or ILAC and IAF.

“UKAS will continue to monitor the situation closely by working with both the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and our European and international counterparts, but our current expectation is that very little will change, from an accreditation point of view, as a result of the referendum.”

Organisations with a strong quality culture and agile governance, assurance and improvement systems will find that they are better able to make informed decisions.
Statement from the CQI

Statement from the CQI 

“Experience tells us that a period of uncertainty leads to organisations halting investment and cutting costs. It also tells us that this can lead to cutting organisational ‘muscle’ rather than organisational ‘fat’, compromising the quality of product and service delivery, reputation and competitiveness in the medium and long term.

“Those organisations with a strong quality culture and agile governance, assurance and improvement systems will find that they are better able to make informed decisions. They will make these decisions based on a comprehensive understanding of the threats and opportunities presented as we progress through the Brexit process, fully aligning change programmes with priorities.

“Over the coming months, the CQI will continue to work with its partners to improve the education, knowledge and practice of good governance, assurance and improvement in all sectors, helping them optimise value for all stakeholders.”

Vincent Desmond, acting CEO of the CQI

“There has never been a more critical time to make sure your organisation is fit for purpose. You need the right muscle – skills and processes – in place to make sure your business is still thriving no matter what Brexit brings. And the quality profession is uniquely positioned to help you.”

Words: Robert Gibson