APPEALS/DISPUTES AND COMPLAINTS
This procedure deals with appeals/disputes against the decisions made during the certification process and/or complaints, either on KGS or its clients.
To ensure that:
- all appeals/disputes/
- are heard impartially.
- all complaints are dealt with fairly and expeditiously.
- all appeals/disputes and complaints are resolved amicably whenever possible.
- all appeals/disputes and complaints are handled in a non-discriminatory manner.
- the integrity of the KGS certification processes is upheld.
- confidentiality is upheld.
3. Procedures for Appeals/disputes
All appeals/disputes shall be taken seriously and given high priority for action. Formal proceedings shall be initiated internally if:
- The appeal/disputes is made in writing by customer or other interested party.
- KGS receives the appeal/disputes within 14 days of a decision being given to the client by the auditor/KGS.
- The client is an applicant or registered organization.
3.2 Upon receiving the appeal/disputes in writing, KGS shall acknowledge receipt and complaint/Appeal log sheet filled; Further KGS shall advise the appellant in writing, the appeal handling process (or) informing relevant reference in the website publically available. A copy of other relevant handling will be given by KGS to the appellant upon request or as and when required.
Relevant details relating to the appeal/disputes, including all correspondences and documentations shall be forwarded to the Operation Manager/Certification manager to ascertain its validity and decision.
3.3 The Operation Manager and/or MD shall inform the ICB Chairman in writing, within three (3) working days from the receipt of the appeal appeal/disputes. The ICB Chairman shall convene an Appeals/disputes Committee, which will consist of not less than 3 ICB members and must exclude KGS officers. The committee members shall not have any involvement with the appellant and any interests must be declared upfront by the member concerned and he or she shall be replaced. However, officer of KGS may be invited to assist in the investigation as the discretion of the Appeals/disputes Committee. But this KGS Officer shall not be involved with the appellant and the certification decision.
3.4 The Appeal Committee shall meet within thirty (30) days of receipt of the appeal/disputes by KGS. The appellant shall also be notified with a minimum seven (7) days notice, the date and location of the Committee meeting.
3.5 On the meeting day, the Appeals/disputes Committee shall hear the appellant/verify documents/records related to appeal and the Operation Manager separately. Minutes of the meeting shall be recorded.
3.6 The decision of the Appeals/disputes Committee shall be final and shall be recorded in writing, with copies extended to both the appellant and the Operation Manager. In the event, the decision requires correction and corrective actions to be taken, the Non-Compliance Corrective and Preventive Actions procedure (KGS-QP-5) shall be followed.
3.7 Copies of all correspondence and the Appeals/disputes Committee minutes shall be maintained and updated in the Appeals/disputes log and Appeals/Complaints file.
3.8 The decision to be communicated to the communicated to appellant by certification administrator/not involved in appeal related area.
3.9 A formal notice shall be sent from KGS to appellant of the end of appeals handling process.
4. Procedures for Complaints
4.1 Complaints may concern a certified client and its representatives, an applicant or from a third party. He or she can be the customer of the registered client or client’s competitor or any other source. All complaints shall be treated seriously irrespective of the nature of the complaint or its legitimacy – certification activities or certified management system. They may even include any matter that is not the subject of an appeal/disputes. The complaints shall be logged into the Appeal/Complaint Log and the records maintained and updated in the Appeal/disputes and Complaints file.
4.2 Complaints may relate to either
a. Certification activities or the
b. Certified client.
a. When KGS receives a complaint about certification activities, by whatever means (phone, e-mail, fax, etc.) a Non-Conformity Report (KGS-DSM-FRM-003) Form shall be raised, Complaint, Complaint Log updated and handled in accordance to Non-Compliance Corrective and Preventive Action procedure (KGS-QP-5). If the client complains directly to an auditor when he is on site, the auditor must notify KGS the nature of the complaint as soon as possible. Upon receipt of the complaint, the Operation Manager shall acknowledge the complaint and issue a complaint acknowledgement Form (KGS-DSM-FRM-005).
b. An independent person/s shall be appointed to handle the complaint. After investigating and validating by gathering & verifying all necessary information to verifying the complaint, identifying the cause and taking the appropriate corrective action (if any), the investigating officer shall inform the complainant in writing, the outcome and action taken before closing the matter.
All corrective action shall be recorded in accordance with Non-Compliance Corrective and Preventive Actions procedure (KGS-QP-5) and monitored.
c. In the event there are complaints or feedback from customers/suppliers of KGS client, KGS shall immediately forward these complaints/feedback to the client concerned, who will have to handle and resolve the issues and inform KGS about the feedback. KGS will communicate this to complaint holder as and when required. If the issues have not been resolved, a special visit /short audit to the client’s premises may have to be performed to assess the situation. The visit shall culminate with an opening meeting to explain the reason(s) and purpose of the visit. Sufficient checking shall then take place to identify the cause of the problem, the extent of the problem and to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of any corrective/ preventive actions taken. This visit shall end with a closing meeting with the Quality Representative and senior management. A report on the visit shall be furnished to the Operation Manager by the designated person to establish whether the situation has been resolved amicably or whether further action is required.
d. The Operation Manager/Director is responsible for performing investigation, gathering and verifying all necessary information to validate the complaints, tracking and actions, communicating with client on complaint progress and sending formal notice to customer of the end of the complaint handling process to the complainant.
e. The appeal/complaint and output of appeal/complaint process shall be communicated to MDA/UKAS/DSM as and when instructed by the ICB or as and when decided by KGS or as and when required.
f. KGS will ensure that the person
5. Associated Forms/Records/Documents
1. NCR Log
2. Non-Conformity Report
3. Complaint Acknowledgement Form
4. Appeal Records
5. Appeal & Complaint Acknowledgement Letter
6. Appeal Log/Complaint
7. Non-Compliance, Corrective & Preventive action Procedure