1. PURPOSE:

 

This procedure establishes the system for handling complaints, appeals associated with the certification system.

2. SCOPE:

 

This procedure is applicable to complaints and appeals

3.  REFERENCES:

 

SAARA-IMSM          Management System Manual

SAARA-SOP-05      Corrective & Preventive Action

4. RESPONSIBILITY:

 

CM is responsible for executing this procedure and monitoring by Director.

5.  DESCRIPTION 

5.1. COMPLAINTS

 

5.1.1 Complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, other than appeal, by any person or organization, to SAARA relating to its activities where a response is expected.

5.1.2 Complaint can be made by any person or organization against the following

  1. SAARA’s operation and / or procedure.
  2. The auditor, expert, Certification Committee or staff of SAARA.
  3. Process of auditing by the auditor
  4. Misuse of certification status either in the scope or in the logo.

5.1.3 The complaint must be made in writing to SAARA with complete details of the complainant (Name, Address, Organisation, etc.) and description of the problem. CM will acknowledge the complaint within ten days (excluding postal time) with a brief detail on the approach and approximate time required for addressing the complaint. Complaint shall be received by CM.

5.1.4 If the complaint has no details of the complainant or the description is not adequate, SAARA shall reserve the right of detailing the complaint as deemed unfit.

5.1.5 On receipt of the complaint SAARA will examine whether the complaint relates to its certification activity. If SAARA is responsible for the complaint, then it shall register in the complaint register (SAARA/F/37) and shall deal with it. Depending on the nature of the complaint a Time frame will be decided between SAARA and the complainant. This will be recorded in the complaint register

5.1.6 CM shall arrange a detailed investigation.  An independent review team not previously involved in the subject of the complaint is assigned to conduct the investigation. The investigation shall include the following:

1    Identify the cause of the problem and record corrective actions.

2   Review of pertinent data.

3   Interviews with audit team members, as appropriate.

4   Interviews with client’s personnel, as appropriate.

 

5.1.7 The investigation team will report its findings to CM along with its recommendation for the disposal of the complaint.

5.1.8 SAARA shall provide the outcome of the investigation done on the complaint and ensures the complainant’s satisfaction on the closing of the complaint.

5.1.9 If a complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of SAARA complaints handling process, the complainant may refer the complaint to AB.  Complaints that are not closed out within a timeframe documented and agreed with the complainant shall be escalated to SAARA top management to ensure that the complaint receives the appropriate priority. Complaints that are not closed out within 3 months of that agreed timeframe shall be brought to the attention of AB.

5.1.10 In general the correction and corrective action shall be taken according to SAARA-SOP-05.

5.1.11 CM will follow each complaint to conclusion and initiate possible preventive actions if any. Effectiveness of such actions would be assessed and reported in the Management review meetings.

 

5.2 APPEAL

 

5.2.1 Appeal is a request by a client for reconsidering of any adverse decision made by SAARA related to its desired certification status

5.2.2 Appeal can be filled by any person or organisation on the following reasons: 

1. Refusal to accept an application.

2. Delay in audit plan implementation

3. Response on corrective action requests.

4. Non-response to change of certification scope

5. Decisions to deny, suspend or withdraw certification.

6. Any other action that impede the issue of certification.

7. Non acceptance of auditor’s findings

 

5.2.3 Any person or organisation can file an appeal against the decision of the SAARA to the Chairman Impartiality Committee through CM. The appeal must be filed in writing within thirty days of the decision of the SAARA along with all the necessary documents in support of the appeal.

5.2.4 CM verifies the documents for completeness and may ask for additional documentary support if necessary. Once documents are complete, the CM acknowledges the receipt of the appeal, and then it shall be registered in the appeal register (SAARA/F/36). It shall be forwarded to the Chairman of Impartiality Committee. The Chairman has the right to either disallow the appeal or to form an Appeal Panel based on the merit of the contents of appeal.

5.2.5 The appeal panel is headed by one of the impartiality committee member nominated by the Chairman. The nominated head of the Appeal Panel is allowed to take two members out of the auditors, staff of SAARA and is also allowed to invite other outside members as necessary to discharge the appeal. It would be ensured that the members had not been involved in the subject matter of the appeal.

5.2.6 The head may ask the appellant to present the facts in person to the Appeal Panel if necessary or if so desired by the appellant.

5.2.7 The Appeal Panel may ask any of the staff, auditors, and group for the facts to help in discharging the appeal based on facts.

5.2.8 The Appeal Panel gives its recommendation to the Chairman Impartiality for necessary action to discharge the appeal to the satisfaction of the appellant. The Chairman will give the decision on the appeal based on the recommendation by the Appeal Panel. The decision of the Chairman Impartiality Committee in this regard will be final.

5.2.9 In general the correction and corrective action shall be taken according to SAARA-SOP-05.

5.2.10 The progress of investigation and the outcome shall be informed to the appellant to the extent required. A formal notice of the completion of the appeal handling process shall be sent to the appellant.

5.2.11 During the appeal process it is ensured that the submission, investigation and decision on appeals shall not result in any discriminatory actions against the appellant.

5.2.12 CM will follow each appeal to conclusion and initiate possible preventive actions if any. Effectiveness of such actions would be assessed and reported in the Management review meetings.

Reference Records:

 

Appeal Register SAARA-F-36

Complaint Register SAARA-F-37

 

 

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