To suspend, withdraw or reducing the scope of certification if the certified client fails to comply the contractual obligation.
This applies to all the certified clients for QMS, EMS, OHSAS, FSMS.
Head of Certification will monitor the activity and take action against erring clients.
4.1 Granting Certification
4.1.1 Review & Processing of Audit Reports
The Administration Manager shall submit the report and the relevant Process control Forms to the Head of Certification. The HoC shall ensure that each certification file is ‘Technically Reviewed’ for compliance to AGQR procedures. When that review shows that the certification and the file documentation is correct then that ‘Technical Reviewed ’ date is the date appended to the certificate as the approval date. The certificate valid date is 3 years after the approval date.
The HoC shall ensure that the audit report and documentation are reviewed by a competent person in accordance with procedure MSP04D. Management staff responsible for technical matters such as Auditor approval, Auditor appointment and Audit file review shall have appropriate levels of knowledge and experience in the areas of responsibility and to meet the requirements of the AGQR ISO 17021. Should they not have the academic skills for the above but can demonstrate adequate experience in the technical areas required for their job description the final decision will be made by Head of Certification.
The review shall determine that the audit report and documentation technically meets the general good audit practices, evaluates the client’s processes and takes into account the following:
(a) The recommendations of the Lead Auditor must be based on documented and verifiable facts.
(b) For main and close-out audits a certificate cannot be recommended until all outstanding major CARs have been closed out.
(c) For surveillance audits evidence must demonstrate that continued certification is justified on the basis of continued compliance of the quality management system with the relevant standard.
(d) Consistency of presentation.
In case of Head of Certification staying out of registered office, the reports shall be scanned and sent to the Head of Certification through e-mails. Head of Certification shall review the reports and send back through electronic communication.
Unsatisfactory reports shall be returned to the Lead Auditor for correction and re-submission. Satisfactory reports shall be signed by the Head of Certification and forwarded to the Administration Manager for filing and issue to Client. The Administration Manager shall place the report in Clients contract file and the file shall be sent to the Managing Director. The certificates shall be signed by any one of the Directors and sent to the customers along with audit reports.
Where appropriate the Administration Manager shall implement Issue and Withdrawal of Certification.
4.1.2 Issue of Certificates
For QMS, EMS, OHSAS and FSMS certification there is an option to issue a single certificate containing the approval and scope of clients operations.
This single certificate may be accompanied by an Appendix to the certificate, which will contain extra information that can’t be put on the certificate of approval:
Extra client’s site addresses.
Scopes that are part of the clients operation but are not AB approved scope for AGQR CERTIFICATIONS PRIVATE LIMITED.
Non Accredited certificates shall be reviewed in the same way but certificates issued without the AB logo.
4.2 Suspension and Withdrawal
After Certification, any time that a Major NONCONFORMITY is raised, the client will be advised to take corrective action to close the Non-conformity with proof of corrective action. If the client does not respond to CB, approval is suspended until that NONCONFORMITY is closed or downgraded (to Minor). While Suspended, the client may not overtly advertise that they are approved; however their information shall not be removed from the AGQR Register of Approved Firms nor will they have to surrender their Certificates. If the NONCONFORMITY cannot be downgraded or closed within three months, Approval shall be withdrawn and the Certificate surrendered to AGQR. Further claims of approval or use of the Certification Mark by the client will not be allowed to continue.
Other possible reasons for suspension and/or withdrawal may include a request by the client, cessation by the client to undertake the activities in the scope. It may be as a result of analysis of a complaint or other information. A client failing to meet contractual obligations to AGQR or failure to meet requirements arising from changes to the Scheme as notified by AGQR within a reasonable time can also be reasons.
A client failing to meet the surveillance or recertification audit schedule, the certificate will be suspended for 6 months. If any response is not received by the AGQR, then the certificate will be withdrawn and the client will be advised to send back the original certificate to AGQR office.
In the event of voluntarily request for a suspension by the client, it will be brought to the notice of decision maker to initiate the action for withdrawal of certificate.
Upon receipt of the certificate, the name of the client will be removed from the certified client list and accordingly they will be advised not to use the logos, on their stationery items and promotional materials.
The suspended client name will be uploaded on the website (www.agqrcertifications.com) as matter or publicly accessible information in order to avoid further promotion of certification by client organisation.
AGQR maintains enforceable arrangements with its clients to ensure that in case of suspension and withdrawal the client refrains from further promotion of its certification and use of certification mark.
AGQR makes the suspended and withdrawal status of the certification publicly accessible and takes any other measures it deems appropriate. Such enforceable arrangements shall include media publication, information on website, informing to related and local accreditation body, Government and other reputed organization where the client is registered, their customers and interested parties Refer: Certification Agreement MSP18.3F
4.3 Reducing scope
Scope of the certification will be reduced to exclude the part scope in the event of not meeting the requirements. The auditor concerned should report to CB after a thorough assessment. Based on the report submitted, CB shall take decision to reduce the scope and accordingly re-issue the certificate.
4.4 Expanding scope.
Upon client’s request for extending scope CB has to ensure the availability of scope and competence level and advice for Audit considering the Auditor time. The Audit time may be extended after seeing the actual process of the extended part of scope. The certificate will be re-issued incorporating the new scope. This type of scope extension may be clubbed with surveillance audit or it can be carried out separately.
Upon request by any party, AGQR correctly state the status of certification of a client's management system as being suspended, withdrawn or reduced.
4.5 Revised Certification Document.
In the event of any revision of certification document due to suspension, reducing & extending scope of certification, recertification and any voluntary request by the client, the modification table (MSP18.4F) shall be used and the issue number and date of issue shall be modified accordingly and previous certification document issued shall be withdrawn and made obsolete. The obsolete document shall be made available till the expiry.
To receive and handling appeal against the decision of AGQR at any stages of auditing and certification.
To receive and handling complaints in the certification activities.
This applies to all the QMS, EMS, FSMS, OHSAS certification activities
Governing Board will intervene and resolve the issues.
4.1. Appeal Handling
4.1.1 To appeal, the client should call AGQR and provide grounds for appeal. The appeal may be sent to AGQR in writing through letters or email. This appeal is entered on the Form MSP14.1F Record of Appeal. AGQR acknowledges the receipt of the appeal and provides the appellant with progress reports and the outcome.
4.1.2 AGQR shall also investigate the grounds for appeal. The review shall be done and it is being forwarded to the Governing Board of AGQR.
4.1.3 The Governing Board of AGQR will form an independent group to hear the appeal. Depending upon the circumstances the client may be requested to appear in person. Whatever the situation it is the duty of the Governing Board to hold an independent, impartial and factual hearing.
4.1.4 The Governing Board will form a binding and final conclusion. Final conclusion shall be recorded and also intimated to the client through formal notice. The conclusion forwarded to the client related to appeal shall be made by or reviewed by and approved by individual not previously involved in the subject of the appeal. AGQR ensures tracking and recording of appeals, including actions undertaken to resolve them including appropriate correction and corrective action also. It also ensures that submission, investigation and decision on appeals shall not result in any discriminatory actions against the appellant. These cases are reviewed by the impartiality committee members periodically.
4.2. Complaint Handling
All clients are made aware of the CB complaints/ disputes procedure by reference to the AGQR Rules and Regulations.
4.2.1 COMPLAINTS/DISPUTES AGAINST AGQR
Recording of Complaints/Disputes
126.96.36.199 On receipt of a formal written complaint/dispute the recipient shall complete the Complaints/Disputes/CAR form MSP 14.2F confirming whether the complaint relates to certification activities or if it is related to a certified client, then the effectiveness of the certified management system may be considered and the form is forwarded to the Head of Certification within 2 working days.
188.8.131.52 The Head of Certification shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint/dispute to the complainant/disputer within a further 5 working days using the acknowledgement letter. In the absence of the Head of Certification this may be issued by a Governing Board member.
184.108.40.206 The Head of Certification shall update the complaints/disputes log, and in the case of complaints/disputes against the Head of Certification forward the complaints/disputes form to the Chairman of the Governing Board. All complaints shall be subjected to requirements for confidentiality.
4.2.2 Investigation of Complaints/Disputes
With the exception of complaints/disputes against the Head of Certification or management representative, which are investigated by the Governing Board, the Head of Certification shall allocate a responsible person to investigate the complaint/dispute.
The investigation shall determine the following:
-> The validity of the complaint/dispute;
-> Whether CB procedures have been followed;
-> Whether CB procedures are deficient;
-> Whether an invoice credit is recommended.
The investigation of complaints/disputes shall be completed within 1 month of receipt, and shall be recorded in section 2 of the complaints/disputes form.
Communication of the Outcome of a Complaint/Dispute
The outcome of the investigation of the complaint/dispute shall be forwarded to the Head of Certification by copy of the complaints/disputes from. The Head of Certification shall update the complaints/disputes log with the details of the findings of the investigations, and shall communicate these to the client together with any credit that may have been agreed.
Where corrective action is required this shall be agreed by the Head of Certification and those members of staff affected by the corrective actions and shall be recorded in the complaints/disputes form. The Head of Certification shall then ensure that the required corrective action is effectively implemented and where this involves changes to controlled documentation that the Control of Documents procedure is followed.
Corrective Action Verification
The Internal Auditor shall review the effectiveness of all corrective actions during the audits of this procedure. Subject to the satisfactory completion of the corrective actions the Internal Auditor shall sign the complaints/disputes form and shall record details of the objective evidence which has been used to confirm that the corrective actions have been effective. The completed copy of the complaints/disputes form shall be forwarded to the Head of Certification at the end of the audit.
Where it is not possible to confirm that the corrective actions have been effectively carried out the Governing Board shall be informed by the Internal Auditor by copy of the complaints/disputes form.
Review of Complaints/Disputes
The Head of Certification shall review the complaints/disputes log every 6 months to ensure the following:
-> That all complaints/disputes are recorded;
-> That all complaints/disputes are investigated;
-> That the results of the investigation of the complaints/disputes are communicated to the client;
-> That complaints/disputes are closed out at internal audit.
The Head of Certification shall, prior to each Governing Board meeting, prepare a summary of all customer complaints/disputes received within the previous period for presentation at the Governing Board meeting.
COMPLAINTS/DISPUTES AGAINST A REGISTERED FIRM
When a complaint/dispute is received against a registered firm from a user of their products or services, it shall be forwarded to the Head of Certification who shall record it on the complaints/disputes against a registered firm log.
-> The Head of Certification shall contact the registered firm in question at an appropriate time. The complaint/dispute shall be investigated by the Head of Certification to determine if it is valid and to determine what further actions are required. The Head of Certification shall produce a report on the complaint/dispute and the client shall be informed of the outcome of the investigation.
4.3.2 Where the registered firm is found to be non-conforming against AGQR rules and regulations or the requirements of the standard to which they are assessed a non-conformance note shall be raised and sentenced by the Head of Certification. This shall be forwarded to the registered firm for corrective action.
4.3.3 AGQR shall acknowledge receipt and provide the complainant with progress reports and the outcome of the complaint after investigation. Final decision shall be recorded and also intimated to the complainant through formal notice. The decision forwarded to the complainant shall be made by or reviewed by and approved by individual not previously involved in the subject of the complaint.
4.3.4 CB shall determine, together with the client and the complainant, whether and, if so to what extent, the subject of the complaint and its resolution shall be made public.