Approval:    Technical Manager

Related to:    17021-1:2015 9.7-8

Website > policies> “Complaints & Appeals”

IQS Website:         http://iqs-ltd.com

  1. Scope

This procedure defines how to manage complaints and appeals, received from customers and other external bodies, to ensure they are handled in a professional and timely manner. A review of appeal and complaint process is done during annual Management Review. “Complaints and Appeals Management” Policy is public and available for external people on IQS websites. The appendices define additional instructions.

  1. Common process for both complaints and appeals

 2.1 Acknowledgement and Record

Upon receipt, complaints and appeals are:

  • Acknowledged to sender within five working days, unless otherwise specified in Appendices,
  • Recorded by Technical Manager (TM). Details are transmitted to the relevant IQS Department for processing, and where required TM shall liaise with department or relevant accredited IQS entity, in order to solve.

For complaint and appeal received from a complainant or appellant, which is not a IQS client, due consideration shall be given whether it is appropriate to answer, taking into account potential liability. In such cases, content of the answer is coordinated with client. This process is subject to requirements for confidentiality.

2.2 Responsibility

Personnel who investigate complaints and appeals shall be different from those who carried out the audits and made certification decision, without discrimination against the appellant or complainant.

  • If TM was involved, then a person, internal and independent, shall be appointed
  • If TM was not involved; he or she can carry out the investigation.

Unless otherwise specified in appendices, LTM is the default channel for complaints and appeals. CER Technical Director is notified depending upon severity. Product Managers are informed of complaints related to their product, and shall make sure specific requirements are met. In case of a critical risk (possible litigation, insurance declaration, court summons, loss of image, accreditation) the complaint is transferred to regional or I&F Division legal contact.

2.3 Resolution process

The resolution process includes the following steps:

  • Investigation, including business impacts and analysis of the situation,
  • Structured response (root cause analysis, correction, corrective action),
  • Implementation of correction and corrective action,
  • Information to the client of findings and actions taken,
  • Monitoring of results: check if the solution is implemented and effective,
  • Record and traceability of documents,
  • Follow up on sustainability of results and of resolution.

The timeframe for resolution is four weeks, unless otherwise specified in appendices. However, this may be affected by responsiveness of the client or other third parties. The closure timeframe in IAM is 90 days, after which escalation process is started. Some products require additional instructions, defined in appendices.

  1. Appeal process

Appeals are dealt at the level where decision making was done. Appeals related to QHSE schemes are communicated to Technical Manager, and    included in the preparation of IQS Impartiality meeting. See appendices for specific Appeal Panels.

4 Complaint process

Complaint can be written (Formal Letter, Email, Website) or verbal (Phone Call, Feedback during sales visit or audit). Complaints are handled at contracting entity level. An audit may be initiated to proceed with investigation, and the client shall be notified with reasons for the audit.

 4.1 Timeframe

An initial response shall be made to the complainant within five working days, unless another specific timeframe is defined in Appendices.

4.2 Responsibilities

Certification Manager shall:

  • Consider customer feedback.
  • Take vital role for the corrective action.

Technical Manager (TM) shall:

  • Consider customer feedback and initiate corrective action for the complaint.
  • Record and maintain the customer complaint in the IQS tool.
  • Take vital role for the corrective action.
  • Communicate the action taken to complainant
  • Ensure the effectiveness and timely manner of customer complaint process.

All sector specific databases shall be updated with necessary records in stipulated timeframe. IQS, the Complainant, and the Client shall decide if information needs to be made public.