by Paul Smith, AA Technical Officer and ARB Approved Contractor Scheme Manager
Good news! The ARB Approved Contractor Scheme is now certificated for ISO 9001 (UKAS) through an organisation called DNV. Achieving certification was both a very challenging and a very rewarding process.
So what does this mean to contractors accredited under the ArbAC Scheme?
Well, to be quite honest, in terms of promptness, efficiency and effectiveness of service I think we/Mel were already doing a pretty good job (thank you, Mel!), but it does give you reassurance that this level of service will always be maintained, and improved where needed. The word Mel has used to describe how she now works is ‘smarter’, meaning more effective and efficient, and as scheme numbers continue to grow we now know we have the systems and procedures in place to maintain this.
SSIP status soon
The other (very) important development is that in the near future to become a SSIP scheme Registered Member (see www.ssip.org.uk) you as an ARB Approved Contractor will no longer need to be CHAS or SAFEcontractor etc. registered because your status will be recognised as equivalent. (Those who compete for work in the local authority/commercial sector and are subject to PAS 91 procedures will know that the latest version (2010) specifically mentions the SSIP scheme which ‘pre-qualifies’ you for the H&S aspects of the process.) The preliminary timescale for achievement of SSIP status is the end March 2013.
These are major steps forward for the ARB Approved Contractor Scheme which, I sincerely hope, will benefit all involved.
* Thank you to Paul Elcoat who helped guide and assist us through the ISO 9001 process.