The story of our accreditation services began with the formation of the Institute of Hygiene (now the Royal Society for Public Health) in 1903 by a group of doctors with the foresight to believe that standards of hygiene needed to be improved in Britain.

The following year saw the formal introduction of an accreditation service with a museum of products opening in Devonshire Street, the Institute’s original headquarters. Accredited products were accepted for display in the museum if they were approved by the council for their purity, quality or hygienic merit. Categories included food, clothing, domestic hygiene, infant welfare and toilet hygiene.

For the majority of the 20th Century, our accreditation activities were involved mostly in food testing evolving over time into product accreditation. The objectives for the testing of products was based on validating, where possible, the claims made by the supplier and to check, where necessary and if required, compliance with legal standards.

In 1979, the Institute began to include accreditation of food premises into the accreditation programme and this ran until the early 1990s. By this time accreditation of training packs had also started and this service grew significantly over the years to become the RSPH training accreditation programme. The focus was to accredit training courses that promote health in community settings, such as workplaces, schools and communities.

Our most recent scheme - a combination of the product/training programme accreditation and the assessment of its impact in respect to behaviour change in the population - was developed and launched as RSPH campaign accreditation in 2012. The first campaign to receive accreditation status was Unilever’s Lifebuoy Campaign.