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Complaints

PUBLIC PROCEDURE ANSI-PR-005 Issued: 2017-6-7, Revision: 3

References ANSI-PL-100: ANSI AS Management System Policy Manual
ANSI-PR-007: Records
ANSI-PR-036: Internal Non-Conformities Corrective Actions and Preventive Action Program
PRO-PR-141: Complaints and Appeals Managed by Accredited Certification Bodies
ISO 9000:2015, Quality management systems - Fundamentals and vocabulary
ISO/IEC 17000:2004, Conformity assessment - Vocabulary and general principles
ISO/IEC 17011:2004, Conformity assessment - General requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies
Contents
1Objective
1.1This procedure defines the process for handling complaints received by ANSI Accreditation Services. It applies to all conformity assessment accreditation programs administered by ANSI. Complaints subject to this procedure are any complaints against ANSI Accreditation Services and complaints against an ANSI-accredited conformity assessment body (CAB).
2Definitions
2.1As a general rule, definitions of ISO/IEC 17000:2004 and ISO 9000:2015 are applicable.
2.2CAB: conformity assessment body (ISO/IEC 17011) that performs conformity assessment services (ISO/IEC 17011) and that can be the object of accreditation as further defined in the ANSI Accreditation Services Policy Manual, ANSI-PL-100.
2.3COMPLAINANT: Person or organization lodging a complaint.
2.4COMPLAINT: expression of dissatisfaction, other than appeal, by any person or organization to a conformity assessment body limited to the ANSI-accredited conformity assessment activities of that body, or to an accreditation body, relating to the accreditation activities of that body, where an action is requested or expected as a result.
2.5ACCREDITATION COMMITTEE: the appropriate committee defined in ANSI-PL-100 as solely responsible for making accreditation decisions for the accreditation program involved in the complaint.
2.6ACCREDITATION COMMITTEE TASK GROUP (ACTG): An ad-hoc group of 2-3 accreditation committee members charged with reviewing the complaint and determining its disposition.
3General
3.1The Director Accreditation Services (DAS), in collaboration with accreditation program directors as needed, is responsible for implementing this procedure.
3.2Where these procedures refer to "written" communications or communications "in writing," the reference includes e-mails.
3.3ANSI shall accept written complaints submitted by regular mail, e-mail, or through the ANSI Accreditation Services website, which provides a vehicle for the public submission of complaints. When a submission is not clear as to whether it is a complaint subject to this procedure, the DAS will follow up with the submitter, in writing, to obtain such clarification.
3.4ANSI shall process all complaints in a timely fashion, and ensure that all records related to complaints are maintained in compliance with ANSI-PR-007.
4Determination of Valid Complaints
4.1The DAS shall review a complaint to determine its validity. A valid complaint meets the definition provided in section 2.4 and includes:
a)Name, organization, and e-mail address of the complainant;
b)Name of the CAB against whom the complaint is made, if applicable;
c)Reference to the accreditation standard, policy, and/or procedure allegedly violated;
d)A description of how the accreditation standard, policy and/or procedure was allegedly violated; and
e)If applicable, evidence of compliance with section 5.1
4.2The DAS will promptly acknowledge, in writing, the receipt of a valid complaint. A determination that a complaint is "valid" is not a decision on the merits of the complaint, but rather only a determination that the complaint can proceed to an investigation.
4.3If a complaint is not valid, the DAS will inform the complainant, in writing, and allow the complainant thirty (30) days to supply the missing information. If the required information is not submitted within that time, or does not establish validity, the complaint shall be closed and the complainant so notified in writing.
5Complaints Against Accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs)
5.1When a complaint is submitted against a CAB, ANSI's initial role is ensuring that the CAB has had the opportunity to resolve the matter, where appropriate. It is the responsibility of the complainant to submit documents sufficient to show that the complainant has exhausted all reasonable means of complaint resolution with the CAB in accordance with the CAB's complaints procedure.
6Investigating Complaints
6.1The DAS will work with the relevant accreditation program director to arrange an investigation into the allegations in a valid complaint. The outcome of that investigation, subject to the confidentiality requirements of ISO/IEC 17011, shall be communicated in writing to the complainant and, where appropriate, to the CAB.
6.1.1Depending on the nature of the allegations in the complaint, the investigation may be conducted as part of the next regularly scheduled assessment of a CAB, or by an extraordinary assessment.
6.2If the investigation takes place more than thirty (30) days after a valid complaint is acknowledged, the DAS will provide periodic reports to the complainant on the status of the investigation.
6.3If applicable, the DAS will identify corrective actions for ANSI and implement them in accordance with ANSI-PR-036.
7Accreditation Committee Task Group (ACTG) Review
7.1Any complainant unsatisfied with the outcome of the investigation described in section 6.1 may, within twenty (20) days of the date of the notice required by section 6.1, send a written request to ANSI that the complaint be referred to a task group of the relevant Accreditation Committee. Such request shall set forth the basis for the requested review by the task group.
7.2The DAS will request the accreditation program director to form an ACTG. Members of the ACTG shall be screened for conflicts of interest.
7.3The identity of ACTG members shall be provided to the complainant, who has the right to request the replacement of any proposed member who has a conflict of interest. Any such request must be submitted in writing to the DAS within ten (10) business days of the notice of the ACTG membership.
7.4The ACTG shall select a chair from its members. The ACTG shall review the materials related to the complaint, and may conduct an investigation as needed. The outcome of the ACTG review, subject to the confidentiality requirements of ISO/IEC 17011, shall be communicated in writing to the complainant and where appropriate, to the CAB. If applicable, ANSI will implement any corrective actions in accordance with ANSI-PR-036.
7.5If the ACTG decision has not been communicated to the complainant within thirty (30) days of complainant's acceptance of the ACTG membership, the DAS will provide periodic reports to the complainant on the status of the process.
8Accreditation Committee Review
8.1Any complainant unsatisfied with the outcome of an ACTG review may, within twenty (20) days of the notice described in section 7.4, send a written request to ANSI that a final review of the complaint be conducted by the Accreditation Committee as a whole (absent the ACTG members).
8.2If the Accreditation Committee review is not complete within thirty (30) days after the complainant's request for such review, the DAS will provide periodic reports to the complainant on the status of the process.
9Scheme Owner Review
9.1If the complaint concerns an CAB under one or more of ANSI's sector specific accreditation programs, the complainant may choose to seek further consideration of the complaint by the appropriate scheme owner(s) upon conclusion of the Accreditation Committee review. ANSI will forward the related documentation to the scheme owner for a coordinated review and will inform the complainant, in writing, of the final outcome. This level of review is not available if the complainant is the owner of the scheme that is the subject of the complaint.

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