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POLICY ON HANDLING OF REQUEST FOR INFORMATION COMPLAINT AND APPEAL POLICY

I. Objectives

a. To be able to comply with the requirement of ISO / IEC 17021-1:2015.

b. To define the actions to be taken if a complaint or appeal, particularly on decisions related to the certification process or services, is received from the customer or other interested parties.

c. This policy and process procedure is not applicable for appeals or complaints related to alleged illegal, financial, or regulatory issues, which will be handled in accordance with the applicable legal laws.

II. Scope

This policy and process procedure covers any complaints and appeals related to breach of contract, code of conduct, or dissatisfaction related to the certification process, including the application, assessment, decision on certification, recertification, certificates, use of logos or mark, handling of a complaint and other activity related processes of WQA.

III. Appeals-handling Process Procedure. 

a. An applicant, a WQA-certified company, or any interested party may appeal against a WQA decision. The matter may refer to the Appeal and Complaint Committee, whose final decision is final. WQA shall be responsible for the decision of the Appeal and Complaint Committee. 

b. This Procedure is also publicly available on the WQA website. WQA is responsible for gathering and verifying all necessary information to validate the appeal.

c. WQA also ensures that submission, investigation, and decision on appeal shall not result in discriminatory actions against the appellant.

d. Process steps for receiving, evaluating, and making decisions on appeals:

1. Any aggrieved party can file the appeal within 30 days against the decision of WQA by giving a notice or by mail to WQA. Upon receipt of the appeal, it shall be acknowledged based on how it was received. It will also be responded to through email, and if through courier or mail, it shall be responded to accordingly. 

2. Any authorized member of WQA will acknowledge receipt of the appeal, which shall be entered in the appeal register logbook. 

3. WQA-authorized personnel not concerned with the appeal will gather and verify all necessary information to validate the appeal. Necessary information shall be gathered to validate the appeal and to commence the investigation if the appeal is valid;

4. The appeal shall be forwarded to the Complaint and Appeal Committee for investigation. The Complaint and Appeal Committee may also consider the decision in similar previous appeals.

5. The Complaint and Appeal Committee can ask for information from the aggrieved party and WQA concern personnel. Both parties are bound to furnish the information within the time limit that the Complaint and Appeal Committee provides.

6. WQA will provide the information to the appellant about the progress of the action undertaken to resolve the appeal, ensure that proper correction and corrective action has been taken, and same to be entered in the Complaint and Appeal registry logbook. WQA shall do corresponding corrections and corrective actions and provide the appellant with progress reports and the appeal result.

7. The whole appeal process shall be finished within 60 days of filing the appeal. In case of delay, then WQA shall justify the reason for the delay. WQA will notify the appellant that the appeal panel decision and appeal handling process are completed.

8. The decision to be communicated to the appellant shall be made by, or reviewed and approved by, WQA individual(s) not previously involved in the subject of the appeal.

9. WQA shall give formal notice to the appellant of the end of the appeals-handling process. The complainant/appellant shall be notified of the formal result of the correspondence and the appropriate evidence of corrective actions.

10. All appeals shall be tracked and recorded, including actions undertaken in response to them in accordance with our control of document and record procedure, and recorded in our Complaint and Appeal registry logbook.

IV. Complaints-handling Process Procedure. 

a. WQA is responsible for all decisions at all levels of the complaints handling process. Any complaint received by WQA in writing or by email or phone call concerning the WQA activities shall be thoroughly reviewed by any member of Top Management who is not the subject of the complaint and shall be recorded in the Complaint and Appeal registry logbook with the nature of the complaint. 

b. The submission, investigation, and complaint decision shall not result in discriminatory actions against the Complainant. 


c. The tracking and recording of complaints, including actions undertaken in response to them, shall be maintained in the Complaint and Appeal registry logbook.

d. If the valid complaint relates to the certified client:

1. Top Management must ensure that the effectiveness of the certified management system is checked by competent auditor(s) who were not involved with the client previously.

2. The letter is sent to a certified client within 30 days of receiving the complaint and recorded in the complaint and appeal registry logbook. The complaint and appeal registry logbook maintains the tracking and recording of complaints, including actions undertaken in response to them.

e. If the complaint is about a certified client management system:

1. Top Management ensures that the effectiveness of the certified management system is checked by competent auditor(s)/person(s) who were not involved with the client previously.

2. The concerned auditors/other WQA personnel may be summoned to confirm the facts related to certification activity.

3. After root cause analysis, the method to eliminate the cause of the complaint would be arrived at, and suitable corrective action measures shall be instituted.

f.  If the complaint is against an officer or employee of WQA, including Top Management, then it will be investigated by the chairman of the Impartiality Committee.

g. The complaint shall be closed within 60 days of the receiving of the complaint.

h. WQA Top Management or any of their authorized representative shall:

1. Verify the promptness and effectiveness of the actions taken regarding the complaint received.

2.  Ensure that the Complainant is advised of the result of the investigation within 60 days of receiving the complaint.

3.  All complaints shall be closed after verification of effectiveness of action by the Top Management. Where applicable, certification will be restored as quickly as possible.

4.  Ensures that appropriate correction and corrective action are taken to avoid the recurrence of such cases.

5.  Ensure that the measures' effectiveness is covered during the Management Review Meeting or any similar operational meetings.

6. The entire process to be followed meets the confidentiality requirement as it relates to the complaint and the subject of the complaint. The complaints are recorded in the complaint and appeal registry logbook.

7. Gather and verify all necessary information to validate the complaint.

8. Ensures that the acknowledgment of receipt of the complaint is sent to the Complainant and is informed about the progress and outcome of the result in writing every month till its closure.

9.  Ensures that the decision communicated to the Complainant is made, reviewed, and approved by the authorized individual(s) not previously involved in the subject of the complaint.

10. Give formal notice to the Complainant of the end of the complaints handling process.

11.  Ensures with the client and the Complainant the extent to which the complaint may be publicly available.

12. Ensure that the complaint has been closed within 60 days of receiving the complaint. Suppose the Complainant is not satisfied with the WQA's decision. In that case, the Complainant can appeal or escalate the complaint to the Complaint and Appeal Committee or the WQA Accreditation Body.

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