Procedure: MQC/SP/005

PROCEDURE FOR M A I N T A I N I N G , E X T E N D I N G ,

S U S P E N D I N G  A N D W I T H D R A W I N G  C E R T I F I C A T I O N

 

1.  SCOPE

Merit Quality Certification provides services to firms and companies.

Merit Quality Certification may provide its services directly or, in its absolute discretion, through (a) its own employees, (b) any MQC affiliated company or (c) any other person or organisation, as may be entrusted by the Certification Body. Where part of the work is subcontracted to others, Merit Quality Certification retains full responsibility for granting, maintaining, extending, reducing, suspending or withdrawing certification and for ensuring that properly documented agreements are in place.

Merit Quality Certification will notify its clients of any changes to the requirements for certification within a reasonable timeframe.

 

 

 2. CONFIDENTIALITY

Merit Quality Certification maintains confidentiality at all levels of its organisation concerning information obtained in the course of its business. No information will be disclosed to any third party unless in response to legal process or required by an accreditation body as part of the accreditation process. The client’s name, location, scope of certification and contact numbers may be entered into relevant directories. MQC maintains its own directory of certified clients which shall be made  publicly available

 

 3. APPLICATION FOR CERTIFICATION

On receipt of a completed Questionnaire (provide by Merit Quality Certification upon request), a Proposal is sent to the Client outlining the scope and costs of the services together with an Application for Certification. Once the Application is returned, together with any due payments and controlled copies of relevant documentation and samples, the project will be allocated to an auditor who will be responsible for ensuring that the services are carried out in accordance with the procedures of the Certification Body.

 

 

 4. CLIENT’S OBLIGATIONS

In order to obtain and retain certification, the Client shall comply with the following procedures and rules:

(a) the Client shall make available to Merit Quality Certification all documents, samples of products, drawings, specifications and other information required by Merit Quality Certification to complete the assessment programme and shall appoint a designated person who is authorised to maintain contact with the Certification Body;

(b) MQC, if not satisfied that all certification requirements are met, shall inform the Client of those aspects in which the application has failed;

(c) when the Client can show that remedial action has been taken by it, within the time limit specified by MQC, to meet all the requirements, Merit Quality Certification will arrange, at additional cost to the Client, to repeat only the necessary parts of the assessment;

 

(d) if the Client fails to take acceptable remedial action within the specified time limit it may be necessary for the Certification Body, at additional cost, to repeat the assessment in full;

Following a successful assessment, an amended Certificate will be issued covering those aspects covered by the extended Scope.

 

5  SYSTEM MODIFICATION

The Client shall inform the Certification Body, in writing, of any intended modification to the management system, products or manufacturing process which may affect compliance with the standards, norms or regulations. Merit Quality Certification will determine whether the notified changes require additional assessment. Failure to notify Merit Quality Certification of any intended modification may result in suspension of the Certificate

 

 

 

 

6. PUBLICITY BY CLIENT

In compliance with the applicable Regulations governing the relevant mark(s), a Client may render public that its relevant management system or products have been certified and may print the relevant certification mark on stationery and publicity materials relating to the scope of certification.

In any case, the Client shall ensure that its announcements and advertising material do not create confusion or could otherwise mislead third parties about certified and non-certified systems or sites.

7. ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE

When Merit Quality Certification is satisfied that the Client meets all the certification requirements, it will inform the Client and issue a Certificate. The Certificate shall remain the property of Merit Quality Certification and may only be copied or reproduced for the benefit of a third party if the word “copy” is marked thereon.

The Certificate will remain valid, until its expiry, unless surveillance reveals that the management system of the Client no longer meet the standards, norms or regulations.

The Company reserves the right to decide, on a case by case basis, at its sole discretion and after taking into account various local requirements, that the issuance of the Certificate will be conditioned to the full payment of the Company’s fees and costs in connection with the said Certificate or any prior services performed for the Client.

 

8. CERTIFICATION MARKS

Upon issuance of a Certificate, Merit Quality Certification may also authorise the Client to use a designated certification mark. A Client’s right to use any such mark is contingent on maintaining a valid Certificate in respect of the certified management system and compliance with the Regulations governing the use of the mark issued by MQC. A Client who has been authorised to use the mark of an accrediting body must also comply with the rules governing the mark of such body. Improper use of such a mark is non-conformity with certification requirements and could result in suspension of certification.

9. SURVEILLANCE

Periodic surveillances shall be carried out and shall cover aspects of the management system, documentation, manufacturing and distributing processes and products, depending on the type of certification services provided, at the discretion of the nominated auditor. The Client shall give access to all sites or products for surveillance purposes whenever deemed necessary and Merit Quality Certification shall reserve the right to make unannounced visits as required.

The Client shall maintain a register recording all customer complaints and safety-related incidents reported by an enforcing authority or users relating to those covered by the Certificate and make this available to Merit Quality Certification on request.

The Client shall be informed of the results of each surveillance visit.

 

10. RECERTIFICATION

Clients wishing to revalidate Certificates approaching the end of their cycles shall apply for recertification. Clients are generally informed of the requirement for recertification during the pre-recertification visit which is the last surveillance visit of each cycle, but sole responsibility for timely filing the recertification application shall be with the Client.

11. EXTENSION OF CERTIFICATION

In order to extend the scope of a Certificate to cover additional sites or products, Client shall complete a new Questionnaire. The application procedure will be followed and an assessment will be carried out on those areas/products not previously covered. The cost of extending the scope of certification will be based on the nature and programme of work.

 

12. MISUSE OF CERTIFICATE AND CERTIFICATION MARK

Merit Quality Certification shall take suitable action, at the expense of the Client, to deal with incorrect or misleading references to certification or use of Certificates and certification marks. These include suspension or withdrawal of Certificate, legal action and/or publication of the transgression

 

13. SUSPENSION OF CERTIFICATE

A Certificate may be suspended by Merit Quality Certification for a limited period in cases such as the following:

(a) if a Corrective Action Request has not been satisfactorily complied with within the designated time limit; or

(b) if any case of misuse is not corrected by suitable retractions or other appropriate remedial measures by the Client; or

(c) if there has been any contravention of the Proposal, Application for Registration, General Conditions for System, Product and Service Certification, these Codes of Practice or the Regulations governing the use of the certification mark; or

(d) if audits are not carried out within the prescribed timeframe.

 

The Client shall not identify itself as certified and shall not use any certification mark on any products that have been offered under a suspended Certificate.

Merit Quality Certification will confirm in writing to the Client the suspension of a Certificate. At the same time, Merit Quality Certification shall indicate under which conditions the suspension will be removed. At the end of the suspension period, an investigation will be carried out to determine whether the indicated conditions for reinstating the Certificate have been fulfilled. On fulfilment of these conditions the suspension shall be lifted and the Client notified of the Certificate reinstatement. If the conditions are not fulfilled the Certificate shall be withdrawn.

All costs incurred by Merit Quality Certification in suspending and reinstating a Certificate will be charged to the Client.

14. WITHDRAWAL OF CERTIFICATE

A Certificate may be withdrawn if (i) the Client takes inadequate measures in case of suspension; (ii) Merit Quality Certification terminates its contract with the Client. In any of these cases, Merit Quality Certification has the right to withdraw the Certificate by informing the Client in writing.

The Client may give notice of appeal to the Impartiality Committee

In cases of withdrawal, no reimbursement of assessment fees shall be given and withdrawal of the Certificate shall be published by Merit Quality Certification and notified to the appropriate accreditation body,

 

 

15. CANCELLATION OF CERTIFICATE

A Certificate will be cancelled if (i) the Client advises Merit Quality Certification in writing that it does not wish to renew the Certificate or goes out of business, (ii) the Client does not timely commence application for renewal.

In cases of cancellation no reimbursement of assessment fees shall be given and notified to the appropriate accreditation body, if any.

16. RECOGNITION OF ACCREDITED ORGANISATIONS

The Certification Body, in its absolute discretion, generally recognises the certificates issued by other accredited organisations where this does not compromise the integrity of a system or product certification scheme.

17. APPEALS

The Client has the right to appeal any of the decisions made by the certification body.

Notification of the intention to appeal must be made in writing and received by Merit Quality Certification within seven days of receipt.

An Appeal must be  supported by relevant facts and data for consideration during the Appeals Procedure.

All appeals are forwarded to Merit Quality Certification and are put before the appeal’s committee. Merit Quality Certification shall be required to submit evidence to support its decision. Any decision of Merit Quality Certification shall remain in force until the outcome of the appeal.

The decision of the appeal’s committee shall be final and binding on both the Client and the Certification Body. Once the decision regarding an appeal has been made, no counter-claim by either party in dispute can be made to amend or change this decision.

In instances where the appeal has been successful no claim can be made against Merit Quality Certification for reimbursement of costs or any other losses incurred.

 

18. COMPLAINTS

If anybody has cause to complain to the Certification Body, the complaint shall be made in writing, without delay, and addressed to the Certification Manager of the Certification Body. If the complaint is made against the Certification Manager, the letter of complaint shall be addressed to the Chief Executive of the Certification Body.

The complaint shall be acknowledged in writing following receipt. The complaint will then be independently investigated by Merit Quality Certification and closed on satisfactory conclusion of the investigation. Following closure the complainant will be informed that the investigation has reached its conclusion.

 

NOTE: MERIT QUALITY CERTIFICATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO ADD TO, DELETE OR CHANGE THESE CODES OF PRACTICE WITHOUT PRIOR NOTIFICATION UNLESS OTHERWISE EXPLICITLY AGREED IN WRITING, ALL SERVICES ARE PERFORMED ACCORDING TO THE GENERAL CONDITIONS FOR SYSTEM & SERVICE CERTIFICATION’S SERVICES. IN CASE OF CONFLICT WITH ANY OTHER PROVISION, THE LATTER SHALL PREVAIL.

 MQC only issues (or re-issue) a certificate when the applicant (or certificate holder) has complied with the requirements of all applicable standards and signed a contract agreeing to all conditions and requirements specified by MQC.

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