Dec 14, 2018 Last Updated 9:09 PM, Dec 13, 2018

Procedure for Handling Complaints and Appeals.

July 27, 2018

 

1.0            Purpose & Scope

The purpose of this procedure is to clearly outline the steps related to the handling of complaints against JANAAC or one of its accredited conformity assessment bodies (CABs), and appeals from CABs against an accreditation decision taken by JANAAC.

This procedure covers the activities from the receipt of a verbal or written complaint or appeal, to the submission of a report to the JANAAC Accreditation Council for its review of the management system.

 

2.0             Definitions & Abbreviations

The terms and definitions given in ISO/IEC 17000, ISO/IEC 17011, ISO 9000 and the following apply.

 

Complainant - any party (person or organization) that lodges a complaint.

Appellant - any CAB which is making an appeal against an adverse decision made by JANAAC related to its desired accreditation status.

Dispute - a verbal or written disagreement with a decision made, after pursuing the appeal process.

Appeals Committee - the Appeals Committee is a committee of the JANAAC

Accreditation Council.

Complaint – an expression of dissatisfaction, other than appeal, by any person or organization, to JANAAC, relating to activities of JANAAC or of a JANAAC-accredited CAB where a response is expected.

Appeals – request by a CAB for reconsideration of any adverse accreditation decision made by JANAAC in relation to its desired accreditation status

 

3.0       Action

3.1      Categories of Complaints

3.1.1 Complaints against the activities, policies, and/or procedures of JANAAC are handled according to the procedure outlined in Clause 3.2 below.

3.1.2 If the complainant is not satisfied that JANAAC’s complaints handling procedure was followed and would like to pursue the matter further, then the complainant has the option to submit a complaint to the Inter American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC)

3.1.3 Complaints against the activities, policies, and/or procedures of a CAB accredited by JANAAC must be raised directly with the CAB by following the CAB’s complaints procedure.

3.1.4 If the complainant is not satisfied that the CAB’s complaints handling procedure was followed, then the complainant may submit a complaint to JANAAC following the procedure outlined in Clause 3.2 below. 

 

3.2      Complaints

3.2.1 Upon receipt of a verbal complaint, the JANAAC officer receiving the complaint documents the information on a complaint form and requests that the complainant send his/her complaint in writing to JANAAC. The officer may take steps to address the complaint, or passed it to the relevant person. 

If the complainant does not choose to confirm the complaint in writing but the complaint can be regarded as justified, the relevant officer recommends to JANAAC’s CEO, the formulation of a proposal for improvement if such a proposal would be beneficial to JANAAC.

3.2.2 Upon receipt of a written complaint, the relevant officer completes the appropriate sections of the JANAAC complaint form and attaches the correspondence from the complainant.

3.2.3 The relevant officer assigns the appropriate reference number to the complaint according to JANAAC’s Procedure for Control of Management System Documents and acknowledges receipt of the complaint, indicating the complaint reference number.  

3.2.4 The relevant officer then reviews the complaint and confirms the category of the complaint as per Clause 3.1 above.

3.2.5 If the complaint falls under Clause 3.1.1 above, or if the complainant has appropriately followed and exhausted the process outlined in Clause 3.1.4, then the relevant officer will review the complaint. Further information and evidence may be requested from the complainant prior to proceeding with investigating the complaint.

3.2.6 JANAAC will obtain the complainant’s written permission to approach the parties associated with the complaint as part of the investigation.

3.2.7 If the complainant does not respond to requests from JANAAC for further information and/or evidence in regard to the complaint, at any time during the process for a period of two (2) months, then the complaint is deemed to be closed. If contact is re-established by the complainant after two (2) months, a new complaint is opened.  

3.2.8 Where the complaint relates to the activities of a CAB accredited by JANAAC, and the complainant has not raised the complaint directly with CAB, the complainant is advised to pursue that course of action first.  The relevant officer will then close the complaint with a brief explanation noted and no further action by JANAAC is required. 

3.2.9 Where the complaint relates to the activities of JANAAC, the CEO or his/her designate, investigates the documented complaint through discussions or correspondence with all parties concerned and review of available records, and makes a decision concerning the complaint.

3.2.10 On conclusion of the investigation, the CEO or his/her designate takes immediate steps to ensure that the particular problem is resolved.  If the complaint identifies a nonconformity, it is handled according to the JANAAC Procedure for the Identification and Management of Nonconformities and Corrective Action. 

3.2.11 The CEO or his/her designate informs the complainant of the decision(s) made and requests that the complainant submit written confirmation of acceptance.

3.2.12 The CEO or his/her designate files all the related documents with the complaint form.  A report is submitted to JANAAC’s Accreditation Council for management review.

3.2.13 JANAAC will not exercise any discriminatory actions against any of its complainants.

3.2.14 No individual involved in the complaint to whom the complaint is related will be involved in the review, approval or decision related to such complaint.

 

3.3       Appeals by Conformity Assessment Bodies

3.3.1 On receipt of the indication of intention of a CAB to lodge an appeal against a decision made by JANAAC, the appellant is instructed to lodge a written appeal and comprehensive report to the Chairman of the Accreditation Council, copied to the CEO.  On receipt of the report, the CEO attaches it to the appellant’s file.

3.3.2 The Accreditation Council considers the validity of the appeal and determines the next course of action.  Where the Council considers the appeal to be valid, an Appeals Committee is constituted, within thirty (30) working days of the appellant’s report, ensuring that impartiality is maintained in the selection of the members as described in the Appeal Committee’s Terms of Reference.

3.3.3 A written response is sent to the appellant indicating the actions being taken.

3.3.4 Upon receipt of an invitation from the chair of the Appeals Committee, the CEO makes an oral and written presentation to the Committee, on behalf of JANAAC, including any additional information gathered.  This is done in the presence of the appellant, and any other parties relevant to the case as agreed by the Committee.

3.3.5 The chair of the Appeals Committee advises the appellant of the decision(s)/ruling on the case. The appellant is informed of the option of further recourse up to a month after the committee’s decision, if he/she is dissatisfied with the ruling of the committee.

3.3.6 If the appellant agrees with the ruling, the CEO secures a copy of:

  1. the Appeals Committee’s ruling on the case;
  2. any additional presentations made by the appellant and any other relevant party;
  3. the appellant’s signed statement of acceptance with regard to the ruling. These are attached to a report and submitted to JANAAC’s Accreditation Council for its management review meeting.

Copies of these documents are also placed on the appellant’s file.

3.3.7 The CEO conducts checks to verify the appellant's compliance with the ruling, documents the findings and places them on the appellant’s file.

3.3.8 Where the appellant expresses non-acceptance of the ruling given by the Appeals Committee, the CEO obtains this in writing from the appellant and places a copy on the appellant’s file.

3.3.9 All documents, which arise from the appeal process, are attached to a report/update prepared by the CEO and submitted to JANAAC’s Accreditation Council to be considered during the management review meeting

3.3.10 The CEO submits a copy of the Appeals Committee’s ruling on the case, along with the appellant's non-acceptance documents to the Accreditation Council, to make representation in court, if necessary.

3.3.11 Any additional documents, which arise from the case of dispute, are attached to a report/update prepared by the CEO and submitted to the JANAAC Accreditation Council for its management review meeting. 

3.3.12 JANAAC will not exercise any discriminatory actions against any of its appellants.

3.3.13 Records are retained of all activities associated with the appeal.

Notice of Transition to
ISO/IEC 17025:2017

JANAAC, in keeping with an ISO/ILAC 17025:2017 transition communique, requires all testing and calibration laboratories to make the transition to the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standard by November 2020. During this transition period, ISO/IEC 17025:2005 and ISO/IEC 17025:2017 are equally valid. Testing and calibration laboratories may continue to submit applications for accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025:2005 up to December 31, 2018. After December 31, 2018, however, JANAAC will no longer be accepting applications for ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation. Re-assessment or surveillance visits, however, done after December 31, 2018 will be done using the new standard. Please contact JANAAC for further information or clarifications.

Notice of Transition to
ISO/IEC 17011:2017

JANAAC is currently in transition to the new ISO/IEC 17011:2017 standard. As such, all our accredited CABs and new applications will be informed in a timely manner of any accreditation requirements which may be affected. Please contact JANAAC for further information or clarifications.