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Frequently Asked Questions


Accredited organisations are responsible for storing candidate records and issuing certificates. You should contact the accredited organisation that provided your LCS related training in the first instance in order to obtain a replacement. This will probably have been your employer or an LCS accredited consultant working for your employer. See the LCS customer list >>>

The accredited organisation issues certificates to individuals (not the central LCS organisation, except for SME accreditation). A standard certificate template is provided to accredited organisations for this purpose.

LCS personal qualification certificates do not have an expiry date and are therefore permanently valid.

An organisation receives a certificate when it becomes accredited indicating that it is an Accredited Certifier of Lean Competency. It is valid for two years, renewable after successfully completing the re-accreditation process.

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An LCS personal certificate usually contains the logo of the issuing organisation in the bottom right corner, above the University logo. If there is no logo, then the certificate will have been issued by the university or the LCS.

The LCS takes an ‘outcomes approach’ to accreditation, which means that it is the training organisation’s job to design a training programme that delivers the appropriate learning/practical outcomes for a given level. The LCS does not prescribe how it does this and, as training experts, its job is to design a course that delivers the outcomes for the learner and provide the LCS the evidence and reasoning behind it.

In addition, the accredited organisation is empowered to take responsibility for maintaining standards and defining the appropriate level of quality required.

Any organisation that has its own lean training system can be accredited – whether the training is in-house for employees, or delivered by a consultancy for client employees or the general public.

A lean training system can be at any scale, from a small team delivering occasional training to an academy delivering courses to many learners.

Yes, it is suitable for private and public sectors and any size of organisation.


Yes, the LCS can be used in any country.

Yes, the LCS can apply to online courses,

Lean Competency Services Ltd (LCS Ltd), controlled by Simon Elias.

LCS Ltd has been granted the licence for 10 years (from Jan 2014)

LCS customers have a contractual relationship with LCS Ltd and not the University.

Yes; the University logo is used on all LCS certificates, as well as on some administrative and promotional material.

A close working relationship is maintained, especially regarding lean research, education and executive short course LCS assessments.

There is Standard accreditation, suitable for large organisations and SME accreditation for small organisations.

This normally takes between 1 and 3 months, though it is largely dependent on the resources committed to the process by the applicant, plus whether a lean training system already exists in some form.

No, it can be accredited initially to one LCS level and then apply to be accredited to a higher level at a later date (at no additional cost).

Check out this presentation on the benefits.

The Benefits of Accreditation

An organisation’s ‘lean training system’ is accredited – not its overall lean management system or continuous improvement architecture.

All the interconnected components that enable effective training to be delivered.

The system could comprise of just one training course or an integrated programme with several courses encompassed in a ‘centre of excellence’ or ‘lean academy’.

In LCS language, organisations become accredited, while individuals become certified – that is, receive a certificate. So, an accredited organisation certifies the people it trains.

The LCS promotes a holistic, systems approach to continuous improvement. See a more detailed account on the About the LCS page (click on the Lean Thinking link)

No. ‘Lean’ is the umbrella word the LCS uses for continuous improvement, which encompasses a wide variety of schools of thinking. Other terms commonly used by organisations include operational excellence, process excellence, business excellence, Lean Six Sigma, service improvement and lean manufacturing.

Issue LCS certificates to individuals who successfully complete one of its training programmes.

The accredited organisation (not the central LCS organisation, except for SME accreditation). A special certificate template is provided for this purpose.

No, the overall system is accredited, not individuals. Implicit in system accreditation is that it has suitably qualified people delivering training.


A licence is granted for two years and can be renewed thereafter.

LCS does not relate directly to academic qualifications, though can be informally mapped against the qualification and credit framework >>>

LCS certificates are issued by accredited training organisations (company in house training departments or consultancies) following the successful completion of one of their training programmes and these companies are the prime holder of candidate records. Visit this page for further details

Coloured belts are often used as descriptors for the different levels in some continuous improvement qualification systems, such as in Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma.

While there is no universal standard definition for each of the belts, the following can be used as a guide for comparison with LCS levels:

  • LCS 1a: white, yellow
  • LCS 1b: green
  • LCS 1c: green, orange
  • LCS 2a: brown, black
  • LCS 2b: master black
  • LCS 3a: n/a
  • LCS 3b: n/a

A range of advisory services centred on the development of workplace based training programmes, plus research into workplace learning and knowledge transfer.

No, the LCS organisation does not deliver accredited LCS training.

Standard accreditation fees are based on the volume of certificates issued. There are six fee bands, starting at 200 L1b and higher certificates over the two accreditation period.

Note that a free allocation of L1a certificates comes with each band. For example, with Band A the accredited organisation gets 200 L1a certificates.

The applicant forecasts certificates to be issued at the start of the period and may make an adjustment at any time.

Additional L1a certificates can also be purchased on a per unit basis. See the fee calculation guide ready reckoner.

For new standard accreditation, 50% of fees are payable at the start of the accrediting process, with the remaining 50% due at the end of the process. For re-accreditation, 100% of the fee is due at the end of the re-accrediting process.

Yes, there is a separate fee schedule for public service organisations, which pay a lower fee than commercial organisations.

No. Fee bands relate to Level 1b and above. Each band has a ‘free’ allowance of Level 1a certificates. For example, an organisation that opts for the 200 1b and above certificates pa band, can also issue 200 1a certificates pa at no additional cost.

Yes, it can do this is two ways:

  1. it can move up to the next fee band, paying a pro rata fee (new fee less fee initially paid multiplied by time left on licence)
  2. if it just wants to issue more 1a certificates, it can pay per certificate issued over its allowance.

Only those with LCS Certificates of Lean Competency can become Practitioner Members. There are other membership categories, such as Affiliate, Associate and Staff, mainly for those running lean training systems and for specific experts who are personally invited to join.

To change your LCS Level visit this help page.

Approved Prior Learning and Experience.

This allows individuals to gain an LCS qualification by virtue of their knowledge gained from past learning through courses and experience and through their achievements in implementing lean thinking in organisations.

The Level 3 competency focuses on an individual’s depth of experience in applying lean thinking at many levels and the criteria for gaining level 3 is exclusively evidence based, so there is not a course to follow in the traditional sense to gain the qualification. Level 3 candidates follow the Level 3 Programme, which involves being guided and mentored in the production of the evidence, the main elements of which are three strategic case studies