Naming your business: apply to use 'accredited' or related words in your company's name

Guidance on the use of the sensitive words; accreditation, accredit, accredited and accrediting, in a company, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) 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 raise 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 object 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 provide an accreditation service as defined in Regulation (EC) 765/08 or that as a conformity assessment body they have themselves been accredited by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) as defined in Annexes 1 and 2 of the BEIS/UKAS Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The appointment of UKAS as the UK’s sole national accreditation body: Regulation EC (No) 765/2008 (on accreditation and market surveillance) requires that each Member State appoint a single National Accreditation Body.

The Regulation defines the meaning of ‘accreditation’ as:

…an attestation by a national accreditation body that a conformity assessment body meets the requirements set by harmonised standards and, where applicable, any additional requirements including those set out in relevant sectoral schemes, to carry out a specific conformity assessment activity.

The Secretary of State has appointed the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to be the sole national accreditation body recognised by government. This appointment means UKAS provides the services of a public body.

Process of approval

If you wish to obtain a view from BEIS please provide your proposed name and information concerning the nature of your business activities. Please note that once BEIS receives your information, they may share it with UKAS for their opinion.

As well as the proposed name, BEIS requires 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 and email address you intend to use (if your organisation has an operational website – please include the link with your information)

If you are not an accreditation body as defined in Regulation (EC) 765/08 - please explain the reasons you wish to register or adopt your proposed name, including:

  • if you are changing your existing name, the current name of your company or business
  • details of the activities of the existing company or business
  • if you are setting up a new company or business, details of the activities you intend to undertake and whether the company or business is to be part of the same group as an existing company or business
  • details of any existing website and a contact email address
  • any other relevant information to support the proposed name

Please send or email your letter of application to:

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
General enquiries
1 Victoria Street
UK (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 BEIS 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:

Companies House
Crown Way
CF14 3UZ

Published 6 September 2018