27 Jan 2022

Introduction to the UKCA

The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking came into effect on 1 January 2022.

The UKCA is a new UK product marking for use on goods being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). The UKCA marking alone cannot be used for goods placed on the Northern Ireland market.

The UKCA marking covers most goods (not all, for example medical devices) which previously required the CE marking. It has come into existence as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

While the UKCA marking came into effect on 1 January 2022, it is still possible in the case of most goods to use the CE mark until 1 January 2023. This follows the recognition by the UK government that many businesses will need time to adjust.

This article introduces the complex rules which now exist for product marking in England, Wales and Scotland. It is not a substitute for considering the specific rules which apply to particular goods and the markets on which they are placed.

Selling goods in Great Britain

Although the new UKCA marking has been introduced, in broad terms there has been no change in:

  • the technical requirements (‘essential requirements’) which need to be met; and
  • the conformity assessment processes and standards that can be used to demonstrate conformity.

Self-declaration

The situations in which the self-declaration of conformity for CE marking can be used continue to apply for the UKCA marking. Therefore a business able to self-declare conformity for the CE marking will be able to do the same for the UKCA marking.

However, going forward if there should be a change in the EU self-declaration rules and a business applies the CE mark to its products on the basis of such new rules, the business will not be able to use the CE mark in Great Britain. This is the position even before 31 December 2022.

The UKCA marking – when to use it

Before 1 January 2023 a business selling goods in Great Britain need only use the new UKCA marking if its products:

  • are for the market in Great Britain; and
  • are covered by legislation which requires the UKCA marking; and
  • require mandatory third-party conformity assessment; and
  • such conformity assessment has been undertaken by a UK conformity assessment body.

However, if the goods in question were:

  • fully manufactured; and
  • CE marked; and
  • ready to be placed on the market before 1 January 2021,

then such goods can still be sold in Great Britain with a CE marking even if covered by a certificate of conformity issued by a UK body before 1 January 2021. However, such goods will still need to be placed on the market before 31 December 2022.

It is the intention of the UK government to introduce legislation so that the UKCA marking can be placed on a label affixed to the product or on a document accompanying the product until 31 December 2023. This will apply for most goods requiring UKCA marking. However, in the case of:

  • medical devices
  • construction products;
  • marine equipment;
  • transportable pressure equipment;
  • rail products,

there will be different rules.

Placing the UKCA marking

The UKCA marking must be applied to the product itself or to the packaging in most cases. However, subject to the requirements of specific regulations, in some cases it may be placed on manuals or on other supporting literature.

General rules

The UKCA marking must be clearly visible and legible when affixed to the product. If this is not possible, it must be attached to the packaging (if any) or accompanying documents.

Only the manufacturer or its authorised representative (subject to the relevant legislation) may place the UKCA marking on a product. Further unless there is a specific legal requirement to do so, a manufacturer cannot place the UKCA marking on its products.

The affixing of the UKCA marking on a product means that the manufacturer takes full responsibility for the product’s conformity with the requirements of the relevant UK legislation. It follows that a manufacturer must not:

  • place any marking or sign that may misconstrue the meaning or form of the UKCA marking to third parties; or
  • attach other markings on the product which affect the visibility, legibility or meaning of the UKCA marking.

However, additional markings may be placed on a product if they:

  • fulfil a different function from that of the UKCA marking;
  • are not likely to cause confusion with the UKCA marking; and
  • do not reduce the legibility and visibility of the UKCA marking.

Using the UKCA image

A manufacturer using the UKCA marking image must ensure that:

  • if reducing or enlarging the size of the marking, the letters forming the UKCA marking must be in proportion to the version set out below; and
  • the UKCA marking must be at least 5mm in height – unless a different minimum dimension is specified in the relevant legislation; and
  • the UKCA marking must be easily visible and legible.

However, it is possible for the UKCA marking to take different forms (for example, the colour does not have to be solid), as long as it remains visible, legible, and maintains the required proportions.

Technical documentation

Record keeping

The manufacturer (or its authorised representative where permitted in the relevant legislation), must keep documentation and the UK Declaration of Conformity (see below) in a technical file in order to be able to demonstrate that the product conforms with the regulatory requirements for up to 10 years after the product is placed on the market.

Market surveillance or enforcement authorities can request the documentation at any time to check that the product conforms with the legal requirements.

The legislation which applies to a product will determine the information to be kept. However, this will include records of:

  • how the product is designed and manufactured; and
  • how the product has been shown to conform to the relevant requirements; and
  • the addresses of the manufacturer and any storage facilities.

UK Declaration of Conformity

Most products lawfully bearing a UKCA marking will need a UK Declaration of Conformity to be drawn up. The UK government recommends that manufacturers have a separate UK Declaration of Conformity to their EU Declaration of Conformity.

The UK Declaration of Conformity is a declaration by the manufacturer (or its authorised representative if allowed by law) that the product is in conformity with the relevant statutory requirements applicable to the specific product.

The document should have the name and address of the manufacturer (or its authorised representative) together with information about the product and the conformity assessment body (where relevant).

In broad terms the information required on the Declaration of Conformity is the same as the information required on an EU Declaration of Conformity. As such it should generally include:

  • the manufacturer’s name and full business address or that of its authorised representative;
  • the product’s serial number, model or type identification;
  • a statement that the manufacturer takes full responsibility for the product’s compliance;
  • the details of the approved body which carried out the conformity assessment procedure (if applicable);
  • the relevant UK (rather than EU) legislation with which the product complies;
  • the manufacturer’s name and signature;
  • the date the declaration was issued; and
  • supplementary information (if applicable). As such UK designated standards (rather than standards cited in the Official Journal of the European Union) will need to be listed.

Selling goods in the EU

Products need a CE marking for sale in the EU. It follows that the UKCA marking is not recognised on the EU market.


Related legal expertise

Authors

Follow us online

Register for updates

You can register online or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn to receive our latest news, events and publications.

Register

Search

Portfolio
Title CV Email

Remove All

Download