Certification Codes of Practice

 

 

1. Introduction

These Codes of Practice have been written in accordance with the requirements of the various national Accreditation Bodies, under whose approval Concord Certification Corp. currently operates. Concord Certification Corp. complies with all Codes of Practice applicable to the Accreditation Bodies` requirements and the standards for which it offers certification.

 

2. Scope

Concord Certification Corp. provides independent audit and registration of management systems operated by companies against the requirements of the following relevant International Standards:

  • Quality Management - ISO 9000 (QMS)

  • Environmental Management - IS0 14001 (EMS)

  • Food Safety Management - ISO 22000 (FSMS)

  • Occupational Health and Safety - OHSAS 18001 (OHSAS)

  • Any other certification standards and disciplines that Concord Certification Corp. offer certification for (i.e. ISO 27001, ISO 10002, HACCP, HSE, 5S, etc.)

 

3. Confidentiality

Concord Certification Corp. is responsible for ensuring that secrecy is maintained by its employees and its agents, concerning all confidential information with which they may be acquainted as a result of their contacts with the company. Where information is required to be disclosed to a third party, either by law or in maintenance of certification (e.g. Accreditation Bodies), the client shall be informed of the information provided as permitted by the law.

 

4. Organization

A copy of the Concord Certification Corp. organization chart, showing the reporting structure of the company, is available upon request.

 

5. General Conditions

The basic conditions for acquiring and retaining certification with Concord Certification are that the applicant company agrees to, and complies with, the following procedures and rules:

  • All information deemed necessary by Concord Certification, in order to complete the relevant audit program, shall be made available by the applicant company;

  • Concord Certification, if not satisfied that all the requirements for certification are being met, shall inform the applicant company of those aspects in which the applicant has failed to satisfy the requirements;

  • When the applicant company can show that corrective action has been taken, within a specified time limit, to meet all the requirements, Concord Certification will arrange to repeat only the necessary parts of the audit that cannot be verified by submission of documentary evidence;

  • If the applicant company fails to take corrective action within the specified time limit, it may be necessary for Concord Certification, at extra cost to the applicant company, to repeat the audit in full.

  • Identification of conformity shall refer only to the site or sites audited and shall apply to the worded scope appearing on the certificate.

  • Fees must be paid within the timescales stated on the proposal. Registration certificates will not be issued, following initial and re-audits, until fees have been paid in full. Additionally, registration may be suspended or withdrawn if surveillance fees are not paid in full;

  • In order for the registered company to demonstrate effective management reviews and internal audits these activities shall be carried at least once per year by the registered company.

  • Failure to return original registration certificates and schedules as described within these Codes of Practice shall result in legal action being taken against the company on the basis of unauthorized use of certification and accreditation marks and on the basis of inaccurate representation of certified status

  • The applicant must allow Concord Certification to conduct on-going surveillance audits in line with the planned arrangements stated in the proposal;

  • Concord Certification Corp. Accredited Offices are responsible for, and will retain authority for, decisions relating to accredited certification, including the granting, maintaining, renewing, extending, reducing, suspending and withdrawing of certification

 

6. Application for Certification

Upon receipt of the completed questionnaire from the applicant company, a proposal outlining the Scope of Audit and costs will be submitted to the applicant company, together with an Application form. Should the potential client, on receipt of the proposal, request, in writing, a breakdown of the costs involved, this may be provided by the certification manager in summarized form. Once the application form, signed by the relevant senior management representative of the applicant company, and accompanied by the necessary fee payment and associated documentation, has been received by Concord Certification Corp., the project will be allocated to a senior member of the audit staff. This person will be responsible for ensuring that the audit is carried out in accordance with Concord Certification Corp. procedures.

 

7. Audit

All audits are based on sampling within a management system and are therefore not a guarantee of 100% conformity with standard requirements. The audit of the applicant company's management system shall be carried out in two stages: Stage 1 (on-site) audit determines the state of readiness of the applicant’s management system against the criteria of the nominated International Standard and includes a review of the document management system; Stage 2 (on-site) audit of the applicant company's management system to ensure the practical system in operation complies with the documented system and with all elements of the nominated standard(s). All records produced for the implementation and operation of the appropriate management system shall be readily available for reviewing by the auditor(s). The applicant company shall ensure that Concord Certification Corp. is advised of the name of the Management Representative who has authority and responsibility for maintaining the QMS, EMS, FSMS, and OHSAS. This individual shall be required to maintain contact with Concord Certification Corp. Any change to this designated person must be confirmed to Concord Certification Corp. in writing.

 

8. Certification and Surveillance

When the responsible manager of Concord Certification Corp. is confident that the company meets all the requirements for certification, following a thorough review of the audit reports, the applicant shall be informed and a Registration Certificate issued. The Registration Certificate shall remain the property of Concord Certification Corp. and shall not be copied or reproduced in color, without the prior approval of a manager of Concord Certification Corp. Permission is granted to produce mono/grayscale photocopies for the purpose of providing customers with evidence of registration. Regardless of the frequency of the surveillance routine, certification cycles are for a three-year period and a full re-audit will be required prior to the expiry date of the Registration Certificate, in accordance with Accreditation Body requirements. Failure to submit for audit prior to the expiry date will result in a period during which the company’s registration will deem to have expired. Normally the man-day allocations for a three-year re-audit will be slightly less than for the original registration audit. Periodic surveillance visits shall be carried out following notification of the intended visit and will cover aspects of the relevant management system at the discretion of the nominated auditor. The certificate holder shall allow Concord Certification Corp. the right of access for surveillance purposes whenever deemed necessary and Concord Certification Corp. shall reserve the right to make unannounced visits as required. The certificate holder will be informed of the results of all surveillances. Surveillance visits must be conducted no later than 12 months after the previous audit. The certificate holder shall maintain a register recording all customer complaints relating to the activities covered by the worded scope of operations on the certificate and make this available to Concord Certification Corp. upon request.

 

9. Renewal of Registration

Concord Certification Corp. customers will be subject to re-audit at the end of every three-year cycle. Three-months prior to the re-audit date a new proposal of costs will be raised covering the new three-year cycle.

 

10. Extension/Reduction of Certificate Scope

If the customer requires an extension of the Scope of Registration, to cover new products/processes/locations, the customer is required to complete and return a new questionnaire. This will allow Concord Certification Corp. to determine whether additional audit time is required to cover the changes required. The application procedure will be followed and an audit will be carried out on the areas not previously covered. The costs of extending the scope of the certificate will be based on the nature and programming of the audit required. If the customer requires a reduction of the Scope of Registration, it is mandatory that Concord Certification Corp. is advised immediately of changes in organization or products i.e. closure of sites or removal of product previously supplied under original scope on certificate. Upon review and acceptance of the information, Concord Certification Corp. will notify of an additional audit, and also a change in the worded scope, is required. The cost of this reduction in scope of the certificate will be based on the nature and programming of the audit if required or administration costs for a new certificate. In both cases an amended certificate detailing those aspects of the company activities covered by the extension, will be issued following a successful audit (where applicable). The original certificate issued to the company will be returned to Concord Certification Corp.

 

11. Modification

The company shall inform Concord Certification Corp. in writing and without delay of any intended changes relating to the following:

  • The legal, commercial and organizational status or ownership

  • Organization and management

  • Contact address and sites

  • Scope of operations under the certified management system

  • Major changes to the management system and processes Concord Certification Corp. will determine whether the notified changes require any additional audit activity. Failure to notify Concord Certification Corp. may result in certificate suspension.

 

12. Publicity by Certificate Holders

A certificate holder has the right to publicize the fact that the management system which it utilizes has been certified, and can apply the relevant marks to stationery and promotional material relating to the scope of certification as detailed on the certificate. The company may not apply the marks to their products or packaging. In every case the company shall ensure that no confusion arises between certified and non-certified products/processes and activities in its publications and advertising. The company shall not make any claim that could mislead purchasers to believe that a product/process or activity is covered by certification when, in fact, it is not. In addition, the certificate issued does not imply that the governing board or relevant government ministers of the country of accreditation has approved the related product, processes or services. The company shall ensure that this is not implied in any advertising.

 

13. Misuse of Certificates

Concord Certification Corp. will take all reasonable precautions to control the use of the certificates issued. Incorrect references to the scope of certificates or incorrect use of the certificate marks found in advertising, catalogues etc. shall be dealt with by suitable actions, which could include suspension or withdrawal of certificates, legal action and/or publication of the transgression.

 

14. Suspension of Certificates

A certificate may be suspended for a limited time in cases where:

  • Corrective action requests have not been followed up and closed out within the appropriate time-scale

  • There are delays or failure to allow on-going surveillances

  • Suitable retractions or other appropriate measures do not solve a case of improper use of the certificate by the company

  • Non-payment of fees The company shall immediately cease to identify the coverage of any certificate under suspension. Concord Certification Corp. shall notify in writing an official suspension of certificate to the company, this notification will indicate the conditions that will allow removal of the suspension. At the end of the suspension period an investigation will be undertaken to determine whether the required conditions for removal of suspension have been followed. If the conditions have been satisfied the certificate will be re-instated, if the conditions have not been satisfied the certificate shall be withdrawn. All costs associated with suspension and subsequent re-instatement of the certificate will be charged to the certificate holding company.

 

15. Withdrawal of Certificates

A certificate may be withdrawn in cases such as: If the company does not meet required conditions raised on suspension of certificate The withdrawal of a certificate will be notified to the company in writing and the company does have the right of appeal against this decision. Concord Certification will not be liable for reimbursement of any audit fees paid and Concord Certification will publish the withdrawal of the certificate. Reinstatement of ‘withdrawn’ certificates may require a full re-audit to be conducted and where appropriate, fees to be paid in advance. Withdrawal of the certificate will require that all promotional materials endorsed with the Concord Certification Corp. logos must be withdrawn from use immediately and any use of accreditation marks on company publicity and stationery material will be in error and in contravention of the intellectual property rights of the owners of the marks.

 

16. Cancellation of Certificates

A certificate may be cancelled in cases such as:

  • If the company does not wish to renew the certificate

  • If the company goes out of business Concord Certification Corp. will not be liable for reimbursement of any audit fees paid and Concord Certification Corp. will publish notification of the cancellation of the certificate. Cancellation of the certificate will require that all promotional materials endorsed with the Concord Certification Corp. logos must be withdrawn from use immediately and any use of accreditation marks on company publicity and stationary material will be in error and in contravention of the intellectual property rights of the owners of the marks.

 

17. Fees

Fees will be detailed in the proposal submitted to the applicant company. All costs are based on the charge rate applicable at the time of proposal and Concord Certification Corp. reserve the right to increase charges during the certification period. Such increases will be notified to the client company in writing. Once application is made, the company is liable for the first year fees, regardless of whether the company progresses to registration, as costs will already have been incurred. For subsequent three-year registration cycles a new proposal of cost shall be prepared three months prior to the three-year re-audit due date with an accompanying invoice and application. Once application is made, the company is then committed to payment of the first year fees of the subsequent three-year cycle. Additional fees will be charged for additional work not included in the scope of the original proposal and for any extra, unscheduled, surveillance visits required due to non-compliances being identified in the continuing adequacy and/or implementation of the relevant management system. All fees quoted shall exclude travel and accommodation expenses associated with the audit/surveillance activities (unless otherwise specified in the proposal of cost) and this will be charged extra, at cost. All fees are subject to local taxes in the country concerned at the appropriate rates.

 

18. Appeals and Disputes

In the event of certificate withdrawal or the failure to recommend and approve a customer for registration, the customer has the right of appeal on this decision. If the customer indicates their lack of acceptance of the audit team findings, then they should refer to the “Appeals and Complaint Information section”, provided with the Concord Certification Corp., which details procedure for submitting a formal appeal. This also details the customer right to dispute the appeal committee member appointments. Concord Certification Corp. must receive notification of the intent to appeal within seven days of the customer`s receipt of the withdrawal notice from Concord Certification Corp., or the failure to recommend for registration. The customer must submit a formal, documented, substantiation for the appeal, together with any supportive documentation/information, to Concord Certification Corp. within fourteen days of the receipt of the withdrawal notice or the failure to recommend for registration. All customer appeals will be initially reviewed by the local office certification manager and the Concord Certification Corp. audit staff responsible for the recommendation to withdraw the certificate or decision not to recommend for registration that must provide evidence to support their recommendation. Should the local office certification manager reject the appeal then it will be forwarded to the Group Certification Manager who, if they concur, must then forward it to the Concord Certification CEO for appraisal. Should the CEO concur with the certification manager’s findings then the appeals committee, drawn from the independent members of the governing council shall consider the appeal. The appealing customer will be advised of the names of the governing council appeals committee that will review their appeal and the company has the right to dispute the members of the appeals committee by formal notification of their dispute. This dispute will be reviewed by the chairman of the council or, if the chairman is a member of the appeals committee, by the vice-chairman. The result of the governing council appeals committee review will be notified to the company. The decision of the governing council appeals committee is final and shall be binding on both parties. Once the decision on the appeal has been made no counter claim by either party can be made to amend or change the decision. In instances where the customer`s appeal has been successful, and the certificate is re-issued (in the case of withdrawal) or the recommendation for registration goes forward, no claim can be made against Concord Certification Corp. for reimbursement of costs or any other losses incurred as a result of the initial withdrawal or failure to recommend. Submission, investigation and decision on appeals shall not result in any discriminatory actions against the appellant

 

19. Complaints

Registered companies are required to keep a record of all complaints from clients, users of their products or the general public, including subsequent remedial actions to their management system. Concord Certification Corp. will review these records during surveillance visits. Should a customer have any reason to complain regarding the conduct of Concord Certification Corp. employees, then the complaint should be made in writing to the Concord Certification Corp. local office. Complaints may also be directed to the Concord Certification Corp. group Certification Manager; the address can be obtained from local office staff. Complainants will receive an acknowledgment of receipt immediately and the complaint will be investigated and decided upon within a maximum of 30 days from initial receipt. Should Concord Certification Corp. receive a complaint, indicating that a certified client no longer complies with Concord Certification Corp. requirements, then, it may be necessary to either initiate withdrawal of certification, or conduct a full re-audit of the client, at extra cost to the client. All certified customers shall make available, when requested, records of all complaints and corrective actions taken, in accordance with the management system standards or other normative documents.

 

20. Directory of Certified Companies

A directory of all companies certified by Concord Certification Corp. is maintained within the Concord Certification Corp. corporate website and each of the accredited offices. This is published and made available upon request to both certified and non-certified companies and members of the public.

 

21. Accreditation Body Visits

In accordance with ISO/IEC 17000, Concord Certification Corp. customers shall, where the Accreditation Body so nominates a need to, accept the presence of officers of the accreditation Body attending an audit to be conducted by Concord Certification Corp., in order to allow those officers the ability to review the activities and conduct of Concord Certification Corp. personnel. Attendance by accreditation officers shall in no way affect the certification decision making process of the Concord Certification Corp. Lead Auditor. This requirement to allow access is to be applied to all new and existing clients.

 

22. Liability

Concord Certification Corp. auditors carry out an assessment for conformity against an international standard, which in respect of the time allocated can only be considered as a snap shot of the activities of the auditee and not an exhaustive evaluation. At no point does Concord Certification Corp. hold itself up, purport or profess to be a regulatory authority or expert consultants within the areas audited and can only operate within the general working knowledge of the field involved as defined by the scope of activity. Concord holds itself removed from any responsibility or liability to the auditee for any implications or actions resulting from legislative/regulatory non-compliance on behalf of the auditee including any actions taken subsequent to the audit resulting in legal or financial failures of the auditee.

 

Concord Certification reserves the right to amend these Codes of Practice at any time. Only companies who have entered into certification agreements with Concord Certification will be updated of these changes.