Rules of Registration
Agreement between the company (Approachable Certification Ltd)
and clients (organisations audited by Approachable Certification)
These rules have been prepared against criteria for competence set out in (2) below.
The scope of accreditation issued by relevant accreditation bodies is an acknowledgement that Approachable Certification has the necessary expertise and ability to manage audits in those particular sectors. Details of all accredited scopes held by Approachable Certification are available on request or by visiting www.ukas.com. If a particular sector is outside the present accredited scope of Approachable Certification then an unaccredited certificate may be offered at the discretion of Approachable Certification.
Certification of a management system is not a statement by the certification body that implies the product or service meets specified requirements.
Registration refers to Approachable Certification only and does not include registrations with any other organisation.
Approachable Certification does not offer consultancy.
2 SCOPE OF THE RULES OF REGISTRATION
Approachable Certification undertakes the audit, review and certification of product and management systems operated by companies to a wide range of national and international standards and specifications. The client must agree to supply all necessary information to Approachable Certification as required by the individual schemes.
3 PERSONNEL IMPARTIALITY AND CONFIDENTIALITY
Approachable Certification undertakes to provide suitably competent personnel for all audits using its own staff or competent subcontractors. All members of Approachable Certification (employees and subcontractors) are required to sign confidentiality and impartiality agreements and declare any conflict prior to the audit. Reports produced as part of the audit process will remain confidential, only available to Approachable Certification and the relevant accreditation body unless required as part of an investigation conducted by a body that has a legitimate and legal right to view any such report. However, Approachable Certification does retain the right to inform the relevant authorities if breaches of legislation are discovered as part of the audit process. It is a condition of the rules of registration that the certification process is conducted in an impartial manner. The client and the client’s representative are therefore required to declare if any link or relationship (commercial or personal) exists between themselves and Approachable Certification personnel involved in the audit activities which may bring into question the impartiality or independence of the certification process. Approachable Certification will not disclose any confidential information to a third party without the written consent of the client or individual concerned. Where Approachable Certification is required by law to release confidential information to a third party, the client or individual concerned shall, unless regulated by law, be notified in advance of the information provided. Approachable Certification will comply with all requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 (as amended) and Freedom of Information Act 2000 (as amended).
4 APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION
On receiving a completed questionnaire Approachable Certification will prepare a quotation detailing audit cost. On acceptance of this quotation the client will complete the application form and forward it with payment, if appropriate, to Approachable Certification. The project will then be allocated to a suitable audit team to carry out the audit in line with Approachable Certification’s procedures and terms of accreditation.
5 AUDIT METHOD
The audit is carried out in several stages:
(a) The stage 1 audit is designed to demonstrate that the client has a management system that meets the requirements of the appropriate standard. It will normally involve an on-site review of the documentation, a limited audit of some of the management processes (if available) and development of a plan for the stage 2 audit. A full report will be given to the organisation and a date agreed for the stage 2 audit. In exceptional circumstances this process may be conducted at Approachable Certification’s offices.
(b) The stage 2 audit is carried out on-site at the client’s premises and will determine that the client has fully implemented the management system and that they meet the requirements of the appropriate standards or specifications (including relevant legislation).
(c) Following certification, Approachable Certification must be informed if any circumstances occur which significantly affect the registration. Approachable Certification reserves the right to re-audit if necessary.
On completion of the stage 2 audit, the audit team submits a full report to Approachable Certification. On receiving a report stating that the client’s management system is recommended as meeting the requirements of the relevant standards or specifications, the report will be reviewed together with supporting documentation by a suitably qualified and authorised member of Approachable Certification who will, if agreeing with the recommendation authorise the issue of a certificate with the registration number and scope of registration.
The certificate remains the property of Approachable Certification. Providing that the client maintains the management system to the required standards, the certificate is valid for up to three years depending upon the relevant standards or specifications.
7 ANNUAL REGISTRATION, SURVEILLANCE AND RECERTIFICATION VISITS
After the issue of a certificate, to maintain annual registration, visits will be carried out at the client’s premises at least once per year. Further visits may be carried out if areas of concern are identified. The client agrees to meet the extra costs relating to such increased visits.
To extend the certification beyond the 3 year period a recertification audit is required. This takes place prior to the expiry date of the certificate. Recertification will involve additional fees to cover the costs of administration and possible extra audit days.
8 EXTENSION OR CHANGES TO THE SCOPE OR DETAILS OF THE REGISTRATION
This may be applied for in the same way as the initial audit, indicating the changed scope of registration, change of name or address, additional standards, or other changes required. An audit may be required to verify the changes or additions. If successful, a new certificate indicating the new scope will be issued by Approachable Certification. There will be a charge for any changes which involve the re-issue of a certificate.
All advertising matter must be amended if the scope of certification is reduced.
Once a certificate has been issued, but not before, the client has the right to publish the fact. The relevant logos can be used on its stationery and website, relating only to the audited scope of registration and the relevant standards or specifications.
The client must not make or permit any misleading statement regarding its certification, or permit the use of a certification document or any part thereof in a misleading manner. Any references to the client’s management system certification must not imply that Approachable Certification certifies a product, service or process.
Once registered, Approachable Certification may contact clients by post, email, fax or telephone in connection with the certification and other services that may be considered of interest.
10 CERTIFICATE MISUSE
Approachable Certification will provide guidance and take all reasonable precautions to ensure that there is no misuse of its certificate and registered marks. The client undertakes only to use certification marks or accredited certification marks as appropriate to its audited scope of registration and relevant standards or specifications.
The client must not use its certification in such a manner that would bring Approachable Certification and/or the certification system into disrepute.
All fees paid to Approachable Certification are strictly non-refundable. Audit fees are payable at least 14 days prior to the start of the audit. Annual fees are payable in advance and are to maintain registration. Additional fees will be levied for recertification. Fees for any audit activity will be reviewed annually and may be increased. Extra fees are payable for certificates which need to be re-issued for such reasons as change of company name or address or minor changes to scopes of certification.
Monthly payments can be arranged. The full amount of VAT payable on the annual invoice will be included in the first payment. Monthly instalments are only permissible for subsequent years if the previous year’s fees have been paid in full and on time.
Extra visits or office close outs as a result of non-compliance will be chargeable at Approachable Certification’s standard fee at the time.
12 CERTIFICATE SUSPENSION OR WITHDRAWAL
See also section on Appeals Procedure.
Following a successful audit of a client’s management system to the appropriate standards or specifications, the certificate may be suspended or withdrawn as follows:
(a) Suspended for a short period due to:
(i) Continued misuse of logos
(ii) Failure to apply corrective action as a result of discrepancies found during audits
(iii) Any other breach of Approachable Certification’s Rules of Registration
(b) Withdrawn due to:
(i) Failure to respond to requests made by Approachable Certification after suspension of certificate
ii) Failure of a client to settle financial accounts
(iii) Client’s request
Upon suspension or withdrawal of its certification, the client must discontinue use of all advertising matter that contains a reference to certification.
A fee will apply for re-instatement following suspension.
13 APPEALS PROCEDURE
If for any reason a client is not in agreement with the audit outcome, suspension or withdrawal of a certificate, they are at liberty to lodge an appeal with Approachable Certification. All appeals will be held in the presence of an independent committee convened by Approachable Certification. The committee will hear evidence from the client’s representative and the relevant Approachable Certification representative. The decision of the committee is final and binding on both the client and Approachable Certification. No counter claims will be allowed by either party. No costs, for whatever reason, will be allowed for either party as a result of an appeal. Expenses of the Appeal will be met in full by the party who has the decision against them. In the event of an appeal being lodged, full details of the process will be provided.
14 CLIENT COMPLAINTS AND COMMENTS
If a client has reason to complain or comment, this should be sent in writing to Approachable Certification. Approachable Certification’s policies include documented procedures for handling complaints and comments.
15 CANCELLATION OF PLANNED VISITS
Approachable Certification is committing resources in setting up audits. Consequently, a fee will be charged if a visit is postponed or cancelled within 20 working days of its planned occurrence. The fee chargeable will be half of Approachable Certification’s current standard fee. Additional expenditure that has been incurred and is not reclaimable (such as flights or hotels) will also be levied.
Neither Approachable Certification nor any of its servants or agents warrant the accuracy of any audit, review, information, certification, service or advice supplied. Except as stated in this document, neither Approachable Certification nor any of its servants or agents shall be liable for any loss, expense or damage however so sustained by any company, client or person due to any act whatsoever taken by Approachable Certification or its servants or agents, save to the extent that any attempted exclusion or liability would be contrary to law.
The client will indemnify Approachable Certification against any claims or losses suffered by Approachable Certification as a result of misuse by the client of any approval or registration given to the client by Approachable Certification under its rules of registration.
18 WITNESSED AUDITS BY ACCREDITATION AND AUTHORISED BODIES
It is a condition of the rules of registration that all Approachable Certification certificated clients should, if requested, allow representatives to witness Approachable Certification staff carrying out audits. Failure to allow this could jeopardise the client’s registration.
19 AUDIT TEAM
Approachable Certification will supply an appropriately qualified Audit Team or Individual Auditor to conduct the Audit in accordance with the Audit Plan or other arrangements made with the client. The client has the right to object to any Individual Auditor but must do so immediately upon notification of the individuals that comprise the Audit Team. Approachable Certification reserves the right to change the assigned Auditors or add additional Auditors to meet its operational requirements.
20 ADDITIONAL RULES FOR SPECIFIC STANDARDS/SCHEMES/SPECIFICATIONS
In agreeing to abide by these Rules of Registration the client also agrees to abide by any rules, requirements or conditions laid down by other organisations or the specific requirements of a particular standard or sector scheme. An example of this would be the British Retail Consortium – BRC standards. Full details of any such conditions are available on request from Approachable Certification.
21 CHANGES TO THESE RULES OF REGISTRATION
Approachable Certification reserves the right to change these rules of registration without prior notification.
Approachable Certification Ltd, 18 The Forum, 2 Tameside Business Park, Windmill Lane, Denton, Manchester, M34 3QS.