Guidance on the use of the sensitive words accreditation, accredit, accredited and accrediting, in a company, Limited Liability Partnership or business name.
To use the sensitive words ‘accreditation’, ‘accredit’, ‘accredited’ or ‘accrediting’ in your company, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) or business name, you will need to obtain prior approval from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). This guidance tells you what you need to consider and what information you need to include if you decide to go forward with your application.
The administration of the company names regime is carried out by Companies House on behalf of the Secretary of State.
As stated in schedule 2 of the Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business Names (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014, before you apply to register your name or establish your business name with any of these words, you need to seek the views of BEIS. If BEIS raises no objection, you will receive a letter (or email) of non-objection. You will then need to include a copy of this letter as evidence of approval when you send your application to register your company or request for approval to use a business name, to Companies House. If BEIS objects to the name it will explain the reasons in its response.
The objective of these controls is to protect the public and organisations from harm from being misled by the registered name of a company or LLP or the trading name of a business into thinking that the company, LLP or business has a function, authority, status or pre-eminence which, in fact, it does not.
The concern over the use of ‘accreditation’ and related words is that the name could imply the company, LLP or business is capable of providing accreditation services as provided by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS).
UKAS is the body recognised by the Secretary of State for BEIS as the UK’s sole national accreditation body (NAB) in accordance with the legislation under the Accreditation Regulations 2009. As the NAB, UKAS provides the services under public authority and is required to: be compliant with UK legislation, engage with international accreditation forums and operate within the terms of its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BEIS.
Process of approval
The Office for Product Safety and Standards within BEIS has overall responsibility for Accreditation policy within the UK Government. If you wish to obtain a view from OPSS, please provide the following details:
- the area/sector your business falls under
- the type of accreditation or certification you hold
- the type of organisations or individuals you intend to certify or accredit
- the website link (if operational) and email address you intend to use
- any other relevant information to support the proposed name
In addition, please inform us if you are looking to:
- change your existing company name (please provide the current name of your company or business and details of its activities - plus website link)
- set up a new company or business, which is to be part of the same group as an existing company or business
Please send or email your letter of application to:
Office for Product Safety and Standards
4th Floor Cannon House
18 The Priory Queensway
In order to speed up your application, please include ‘For the attention of the Standards and Accreditation team - Office of Product Safety and Standards’ in the subject line.
If OPSS provides you with a letter or email of non-objection, you should include a copy of it with your application to register a company name and send it to: