On your marks: What the new UKCA means for your business

UKCA marking banner

Businesses selling and shipping goods to the UK or the European Union will, by now, be aware of a great number of changes brought about by Brexit.

In a series of previous articles, Spring has already detailed many of the new processes governing how items are taxed and delivered.

Yet another procedure relates to how products destined for sale in the UK are actually marked to demonstrate that they meet new legal standards.

Manufacturers have until the end of the year to ensure that they are compliant but it is still necessary to make sure that you take the necessary steps as soon as you can.

Legality and labelling

Conformity marks are added to products as a way of building consumer and market confidence by showing that the items concerned meet certain necessary standards.

As of the first of January 2021, goods being shipped to the EU from the UK or other non-EU territories or between EU member states must continue to show the CE conformity logo.

However, items which are sold into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) from the EU or further afield are now required to carry a new UKCA mark instead.

ukca logo

A separate UKNI CE mark will apply to products shipped from EU and non-EU territories to Northern Ireland.

Even though the change was introduced at the start of this year, the UK authorities have given most manufacturers and their agents or representatives until the first of January 2022 at the latest to comply.

What products does the UKCA mark apply to?

With few exceptions, all goods which previously required the CE mark must bear the new UKCA logo.

Broadly speaking, they include toys; personal protective equipment; gas appliances, lifts; pressure, monitoring, radio and electromagnetic equipment; machinery; manual weighing instruments; ecodesign; and recreational or personal watercraft.

Although the changes will be enforced from the first of January 2022, producers are required to switch to using the UKCA mark as soon as possible.

The UKCA mark must be used immediately, though, if qualifying products intended for sale in Great Britain require mandatory third-party conformity assessment.

In addition, products which are sold in Great Britain and EU and conform to legal requirements in both territories can carry both the UKCA and the CE markings.

Managing the UKCA change

Manufacturers must draw up what is known as a UK Declaration of Conformity for every single item intended for sale in Great Britain.

The information required is essentially the same as has been provided for its EU equivalent, including the business name and address, the product's serial number, model or type, details of the approved body which carried out the necessary conformity assessment and a statement confirming that you take responsibility for its compliance.

All of the technical documentation must be kept for up to 10 years after goods first go on sale in Great Britain in case they are requested by market surveillance or enforcement authorities.

As well the transition period to allow for businesses to adjust to the new UKCA mark, different deadlines will apply to how it is displayed on items themselves.

Proof of the UKCA accreditation can be provided either by a label on devices or in accompanying documentation until the first of January 2023.

After that date, the UKCA mark must appear directly on products.

Any questions?

If you need specific guidance to understand what the changes mean to you, we recommend speaking to an independent conformity consultant or - better still - taking advantage of the volume of material issued by the UK Government.

It has published detailed guidance on its websites (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-the-ukca-marking) and regular updates on pages dealing with the latest changes (https://www.gov.uk/transition).

Should you still have any questions or concerns, you can contact the Goods Regulation team in London for assistance (https://www.goods.regulation@beis.gov.uk).