Appeals Handling Process

1. Purpose

The purpose of the appeals handling process is to document, establish, implement, and maintain the system for addressing appeals as per requirements of ISO/IEC 17021, and other applicable international standards for certification bodies offering management system certifications or related services.

2. Scope

This procedure is applicable to all appeals related to its management system certification or respective services provided by MQA for an existing customer only.

3. Definitions

Appeal: Request for reconsideration of any decision made by the certification body “MQA” related to her/his desired certification status by the certified organization or certified person.
Appellant: Person, organization or their representative making an appeal for an existing customer.

4. References

ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015, clause 9.7 – Appeals

5. Entry Criteria

Any person, organization or their representative for an existing customer may log an appeal for the reconsideration of any decision made by the certification body “MQA” for the below activities:
  • Management System Certification Services,
  • Training Services,
  • Inspection Services,
  • Compliance Audit Services,

6. Logging & Recording of Appeals

MQA needs following inputs from Appellant while logging the appeal:
  • Name of Appellant
  • Email of Appellant
  • Phone # of Appellant
  • Location of Appellant
  • Client Name
  • Reference Number (Like Certificate #, Client #, Contract #, etc.)
  • Description of Appeal
Appellant must log the respective appeal on the MQA Customer Portal so that it will be logged in the MQA database with a Unique Identifier Code as a record for future references and respective Certification Manager will handle it and respond to related Appellant.

MQA has added a clause in their agreement with our clients about the “Appeal Management” in which MQA has stated that where and how client may log the appeal and how the Appellant can obtain feedback on the status of the appeal.

7. Acknowledgement of Appeals

MQA acknowledges the receipt of each appeal to the Appellant immediately within 1 business working day through email.

8. Assessment of Appeals

Depending on the nature of the appeal, Certification Manager shall decide to conduct the assessment himself or appoint an appeal panel for each appeal. The appeal panel shall contain members from auditor panel who have not been part of the audit and also not involved in certification decision or involved in the subject of the appeal. Further, the Appellant shall be given an opportunity to present the case to the panel in person if he so desires or required.

The appeal panel shall investigate the appeal by looking into the records and / or talking to the Appellant and shall take a decision based on the analysis of data.
The details of assessment and the related actions identified are recorded in the appeal database.

Every reasonable effort should be made to investigate all the relevant circumstances and information surrounding an appeal. The level of assessment should be commensurate with the seriousness, frequency of occurrence and severity of the appeal. Any applicable fee has to pay by the respective customer to handle the appeal.

Note: MQA will protect information you provide us to the full extent of the law. But, under some circumstances, other people may view your appeal and related documents. Please do not send us sensitive information we don’t need to process your appeal. If we need more information from you, we will request it.

9. Response to Appeals

Following an appropriate assessment, the organization should offer a response. For example, correct the problem and prevent it happening in the future. If the appeal cannot be immediately resolved, then it should be dealt with in a manner intended to lead to its effective resolution as soon as possible.

The result of the assessment will be communicated in writing and if possible, verbally (subject to any restrictions of confidentiality) to the Appellant as well as any other party involved.

10. Communicating the Decision

The decision or any action taken regarding the appeal, which is relevant to the Appellant or to the personnel involved, should be communicated to them as soon as the decision or action is taken.

In case of Appeals relevant to public interest, the respective organization and the Appellant must be consulted and if felt necessary information about the appeal and its resolution will be made available for public viewing.

As per MQA Policy, submission, assessment, and decision on Appeals shall not result in any discriminatory actions against the Appellant.

11. Appeals Closure

Once the decision has shared by MQA to the Appellant then the respective action should be carried out by MQA and appeal will be recorded as closed.

12. Customer Feedback

After every audit i.e. certification, surveillance, and re-certification a feedback from the client is obtained to:
  • Assess the performance of the audit team,
  • Measure the customer satisfaction,
  • Know the areas for further improvement,
All the feedback received from the customers are analyzed and appropriate action taken if required. A summary of feedback and the findings with corrective action taken are reviewed in management review meetings on regular basis.