Appeals & Complaints

  1.0 Purpose

To establish procedure for complaint handling.

2.0 Scope

This procedure is applied when Appeals/ Complaints are received from clients. Appeals/ Complaints can also be received from customers of clients, or other interested parties. Such Appeals/ Complaints will also be processed in accordance with this procedure.

3.0 Responsibility And Authority

Managing Director/ Arbiter

When a client complaint is received, it will be recorded using the Client complaint log by the Managing Director or Office administrator. Processing of the complaint will be allocated to an auditor independent of the perceived problem.

Initial enquiries will be made, recording their result, to determine if all relevant information is available. (Please note that the complaint may form part of the suspension and pending withdrawal of certification process.)

The independent auditor will determine the need for corrective action by SystemCert. Should it be evident that such action is necessary, then the auditor will complete a Corrective action request form and monitor its progress.

The independent auditor will ensure appropriate corrective action is implemented and will record details progressively, including the update of the Client complaint log.

Prior to the management review meeting, (or earlier if a trend is apparent) the Managing Director will analyse the client Appeals/ Complaints to determine the overall pattern of failures such that effective preventive action can be formulated and implemented. (Please note that analysis will include ‘unjustified’ Appeals/ Complaints since these could be indicative of insufficient understanding of client’s needs by Systemcert.) Methods of analysis will generally be pareto analysis, using client and customer grouping, auditor and procedure/processes as the analysis basis.

The analysis will be presented to management for review.
When the complaint is from a client’s customer or an interested party, then the independent auditor will review the content to determine the urgency of response that is justified in relation to the next scheduled audit.

If appropriate, the independent auditor will schedule a special audit at the client to determine the true position, with nonconformances prepared as necessary. In other circumstances, and if appropriate, at the next scheduled audit, the scheduled auditor will be asked to perform the investigation as part of the normal audit activities.

Should resolution of a complaint be an extended exercise, and then the complainant will be kept informed of the resolution process and progress. The complainant will be advised of the outcome of the ICLCert investigation.

 4.0 Records

The records will be retained in hard copy format and electronically. The records will be retained for a period of not less than three years from the date of review.