Complaint Handling Process

1. Purpose

The purpose of the complaints handling process is to document, establish, implement, and maintain the system for addressing Complaints and Disputes 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 complaints and disputes related to its management system certification or respective services provided by MQA.

Note: This type of complaints excludes complaints against decisions related to the certification process, certified individuals or complaints related to alleged legal, financial, or regulatory issues, which shall be handled by proper legal authorities. Appeals are not applicable to these types of complaints, as these complaints are not related to any certification decisions made by MQA. 

3. Definitions

Complaint: Expression of dissatisfaction made to an organization “MQA”, related to its product or service, or the complaints-handling process itself, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected.

Complainant: Person, organization or their representative making a complaint.
Dispute: Disagreement, arising from a complaint, submitted to 3rd party.

4. References

ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015, clause 9.8 – Complaints

5. Entry Criteria

Any person, organization or their representative may log a complaint against:
  • Management System Certification Services,
  • Training Services,
  • Inspection Services,
  • Compliance Audit Services,
  • Any other activities associated with MQA.

6. Logging & Recording of Complaints

MQA needs following inputs from complainant while logging the complaint:
  • Name of Complainant
  • Email of Complainant
  • Phone # of Complainant
  • Location of Complainant
  • Complaint Category (MQA Client/ Non MQA Client)
  • Client Name (If MQA Client)
  • Reference Number (Like Certificate #, Client #, Contract #, etc.)
  • Description of Complaint
Complainant must log the respective complaint on the MQA website so that it will be logged in the MQA database with a Unique Identifier Code as a record for future references and respective Account Manager will handle it and respond to related complainant.

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

Any complaint received by MQA, whether it pertains to MQA functions or the certified Organization/ persons, would be treated in all seriousness and investigated.

7. Acknowledgement of Complaints

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

8. Initial Assessment of Complaints

After receipt, each complaint should be initially assessed by the most appropriate member in MQA in terms of criteria, such as severity, complexity, impact, and the need and possibility of immediate action and then must be shared with Complaint Handling Committee. Complaints addressed promptly in accordance with their urgency.

9. Investigation of Complaints

Depending on the nature of the complaint, Chairman of the Complaint Handling Committee shall decide to conduct the investigation himself or appoint a complaint panel for each complaint. The complaint 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 complaint. Further, the complainant shall be given an opportunity to present the case to the panel in person if he so desires or required as per Complaint Handling Committee.

The complaint panel or Chairman of the Complaint Handling Committee shall investigate the complaint by looking into the records and / or talking to the complainant and shall take a decision based on the analysis of data.
The details of investigation and the related actions identified are recorded in the complaint database.

Every reasonable effort should be made to investigate all the relevant circumstances and information surrounding a complaint. The level of investigation should be commensurate with the seriousness, frequency of occurrence and severity of the complaint.

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

10. Response to Complaints

Following an appropriate investigation, the organization should offer a response. For example, correct the problem and prevent it happening in the future. If the complaint 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 investigation will be communicated in writing and if possible, verbally (subject to any restrictions of confidentiality) to the complainant as well as any other party involved.

11. Communicating the Decision

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

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

As per MQA Policy, submission, investigation, and decision on complaints shall not result in any discriminatory actions against the complainant.

12. Complaints Closure

If the complainant accepts the proposed decision or action, then the decision or action should be carried out and complaint will be recorded as closed.

13. Dispute Management

If the complainant rejects the proposed decision or action, then the complaint should remain open. This should be recorded, and the complainant should be informed of alternative forms of internal and external recourse available to handle the dispute.

The organization should continue to monitor the progress of the complaint until all reasonable internal and external options of recourse are exhausted or the complainant is satisfied.

Any dispute arising out of any complaint shall be settled by negotiations between the parties, and if this is not possible it shall be referred to arbitration as per the legal acts of respective jurisdiction or complainant may open the same complaint with the accreditation board of MQA. The decision of the arbitration shall be binding for the both parties.

Records of all the disputes are maintained and reviewed in management review meeting.

14. 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.