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Complaint and Appeal Policy


DisclaimerThe term “certified” shall only be used for personnel certifications, based on ISO/IEC 17024 requirements. The term “certificate holder” shall only be used for certificate programs, based on ASTM E2659 requirements. Certificate holders are not certified, licensed, accredited, or registered to engage in a specific occupation or profession.

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define the actions to be taken in the event that a complaint or appeal is received from candidates, certified persons, certificate holders and other parties with regard to a certified person, a certificate holder or decisions related to the certification process or certificate program, as well as complaints for the overall PECB operations for which appeals are not applicable.

This policy is not applicable for complaints related to alleged illegal, financial, or regulatory issues, which will be handled by proper authorities.

2. Scope

The complaints and appeals  addressed to PECB about:

  1. a certified person or a certificate holder, i.e., for breaching the code of ethics, and/or in specific schemes/programs for breaching the code of conduct,
  2. the certification/certificate program process, i.e., activities by which a certification body determines that a person fulfills certification requirements, including the application, assessment, decision on certification, recertification and use of certificates and logos/marks
  3. the certification program, and the role of the Appeal Board in reaching a conclusive settlement on account of an appeal.

3. References

This policy is mainly based on the clause 9.8 (Appeals against decisions on certification), 9.9 (Complaints) of ISO/IEC 17024:2012, 5.8 (Complaints) and 5.9 (Appeals) of ASTM E2659-18.

4. Terms and Definitions

Complainant: 

  • “Person, organization or their representative making a complaint.” (ISO 10002:2018, clause 3.1)

Complaint: 

  • “Expression of dissatisfaction, other than appeal, by any individual or organization to a certification body [PECB], relating to the activities of that body or a certified person, where a response is expected.” (ISO/IEC 17024:2012, clause 3.20). These types of complaints are also referred as Certification Complaints within PECB, and exclude any operational complaints or complaints related to alleged illegal, financial, or regulatory issues, which will be handled by proper authorities.
  • “Written request, other than an appeal, made to a certificate issuer [PECB] for corrective action relating to the activities of that issuer”. (ASTM E2659-18, clause 3.1.15)

Appeal: 

  • “Request by applicant, candidate or certified person for reconsideration of any decision made by the certification body [PECB] related to her/his desired certification status.” (ISO/IEC 17024:2012, clause 3.19)
  • “Written request made to the certificate issuer [PECB] for reconsideration of an adverse decision made by the certificate issuer [PECB] related to the certificate program.” (ASTM E2659-18, clause 3.1.3)

Certification process: 

  • “Activities by which a certification body [PECB] determines that a person fulfils certification requirements, including application, assessment, decision on certification, recertification and use of certificates and logos/marks.” (ISO/IEC 17024:2012, clause 3.1)

Operations complaint (PECB term): 

  • (Adapted from “Complaint” definition from ISO 10002:2018): “Expression of dissatisfaction, made to an organization [PECB], related to its products, services, [procedures, policies, overall operations], or the complaint handling process itself, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected.” These types of complaints exclude complaints against decisions related to the certification process, certified individuals or complaints related to alleged legal, financial, or regulatory issues, which will be handled by proper legal authorities. Appeals are not applicable to these type of complaints, as these complaints are not related to any certification decisions made by PECB.

5. General Rules for Filing a Complaint or an Appeal

General rules for filing a complaint or an appeal are as in the following:

  1. By submitting a complaint or an appeal, any complainant commits to reporting facts completely and truthfully.
  2. Any complainant who provides any proven false statements will see their entire complaint or appeal terminated.
  3. Any unsubstantiated elements — not supported with real evidence — of a complaint or an appeal (hearsay, rumors, unproven accusations, etc.) will not be taken into consideration in any complaint or appeal.
  4. The Complaint and Appeal Policy does not deal with alleged illegal, financial, or regulatory issues. For any complaint or parts of a complaint related to alleged illegal, financial, or regulatory issues, PECB will respond by recommending that the complainant reaches the proper authorities and inform them that it will not deal with alleged illegal, financial, or regulatory issues. The only exception to this is if a complainant provides evidence that a legal decision has been rendered and asks PECB to deal with it (e.g., if a complainant provides evidence that a PECB affiliate or employee was the subject of a recent court decision).
  5. The Complaint and Appeal Policy does not deal with issues for which the deadlines to submit complaints and/or appeals have been reached.
  6. No complaint will be processed if it is done anonymously. Complainants must provide personal information, as described below under the instructions sections for filing complaints.
  7. If applicable, all complaints need to be shown to the individuals being complained against so that they can have an opportunity to respond. If the complainant does not give the authorization for the complaint to be shown to the person or function being complained against, the complaint will not be processed.
  8. In cases where individuals consistently display challenging or persistent behavior, as defined in the Behavior Policy (e.g., making excessive or unreasonable complaints, repeatedly appealing determined issues using the same arguments within a short timeframe), PECB will refrain from processing the complaint or appeal without first seeking guidance from the Impartiality and Certification Appeals Committee. This committee can provide an alternative perspective on addressing the complaint that may not have been previously considered by PECB.
  9. All reports, findings, and materials created, collected or submitted in connection with the Complaint and Appeal Policy, including but not limited to information submitted by a Complainant or a Respondent, are PECB’s confidential property. Materials submitted to PECB in connection with a Complaint or an Appeal will not be returned unless agreed to prior, by the Complainant or Respondent and PECB. PECB will take reasonable measures to ensure that any files resulting from implementation of this Complaint and Appeal Policy shall be and remain confidential except as required by law, or as necessary to fully investigate a complaint and appeal. Parties are encouraged to maintain confidentiality.

6.  Certification/Certificate Program Complaints

6.1  Procedure Overview

All complaints relating to a certified person, certificate holder or the certification process or certificate program are reviewed by the CEO and/or a designated employee assigned by him or her. The designated employee will not be part of the staff involved in the assessment against which a certification/certificate program complaint or appeal is being raised.

In the event that the individuals filing the certification/certificate program complaint are not satisfied with the review and the decision made upon the complaint, they may consider filing an appeal.

Subsequently, PECB appoints an Appeal Board which is in charge of the appeal process and is accountable for safeguarding impartiality with regard to the appeal.

6.2 Operating Procedure

When candidates disagree with the decisions made by PECB related to their certification process or the certificate program, they must declare in writing the reasons for disagreement to PECB, and ask for a re-evaluation, via email, within 30 days from receiving PECB’s initial decision. Re-evaluation requests received after 30 days will not be processed. Re-evaluation requests are not considered complaints.

6.2.1 Certification/Certificate Program Complaint

If candidates still do not agree with the re-evaluated decision from PECB, they should submit a certification/certificate program complaint in writing through PECB Ticketing System, no later than 30 days after receiving the re-evaluated decision. Certification/certificate program complaints received after 30 days will not be processed. 

Certification/certificate program complaints about a certified person or certificate holder can be raised anytime.

The certification/certificate program complaint, as well as the personal information (full name, address, and other contact details) of the complainant, should include the complainant’s personal opinion about the assessment, the reasons for disapproval of the decision reached during the initial decision and re-evaluation, as well as the settlement being sought. A notice of acknowledgment will be sent by PECB within 24 hours following the certification/certificate program complaint reception. An initial assessment is conducted within 3 calendar days following the complaint reception.

The submission, investigation, and decision on certification/certificate program complaints will not result in any discriminatory actions against the complainant.

Certification/certificate program complaints will be reviewed by the CEO and/or a designated employee assigned by him or her. The designated employee will not be part of the staff involved in the initial decision. The reviewer of the certification/certificate program complaint should consider the complainant’s explanation and provide a written response, which includes:

  • A clear explanation or a repeated explanation of the assessment decision following a re-evaluation of the evidence

The reviewer of the certification/certificate program complaint should reply within 15 calendar days after receiving a complaint. Depending on the complexity of the case, when the case involves multiple parties and requires a more comprehensive investigation and resolution process, the deadline can be extended to a maximum of 30 calendar days. The complainant will be informed of the reason for the extension. Following the extension, the complainant will receive an answer on the decision reached in writing (via email or the PECB Ticketing System).

If the complainant agrees with the outcome at this stage, the certification/certificate program complaint does not proceed to further stages.

If complainants are not satisfied with the outcome, then they may file an appeal, within 30 days from receiving the reply from PECB (see 6.2.2 Appeal Process).

If necessary, PECB will take appropriate correction and corrective/preventive actions. 

All certification/certificate program complaints, including actions taken, will be tracked and recorded by PECB. 

6.2.1.1 Instructions on Filing a Certification Complaint

To file a certification/certificate program complaint, the following steps should be taken:

  1. Go to https://pecb.com
  2. Click "Contact" from top menu then click “Help Center” from the drop down menu that will appear
  3. Click “Drop a Service Ticket” 
  4. From a drop down menu under “Topic,” choose “ File a Certification/Certificate Program Complaint”
  5. Complete all the fields and submit the form (click "Submit")

Information to include in your certification/certificate program complaint: 

Besides personal information (full name, email address, telephone), write in the message box your opinion about the assessment and why you are not satisfied with the initial decision and re-evaluation.

6.2.2 Appeal Process

Where complainants disagree with the certification or certificate program decisions of the re-evaluation stage and the certification complaint, they then may proceed to the appeal stage, explaining the reasons for disagreement.   

Steps to be followed by the appellant: 

  1. The appeal should be submitted after receiving the certification/certificate program complaint decision and no later than 30 days after receiving the complaint decision.
  2. The appeal should be submitted in writing via the PECB Ticketing System. 
  3. The appeal should include the Appeal Fees.
  4. The appeal, besides the personal information (full name, address and other contact details) of the appellant, should include the opinion about the assessment and why the appellant is not satisfied with the first decision, re-evaluation, and PECB’s review done after the complaint.

Steps to be followed by PECB:

  1. PECB appoints an Appeal Board which is in charge of the appeal process and is accountable for safeguarding impartiality with regard to the appeal.
  2. The Appeal Board will respond to an appellant in writing (via email) within 30 calendar days after receiving the appeal. Depending on the complexity of the case, when the case involves multiple parties and requires a more comprehensive investigation and resolution process, the deadline can be extended to a maximum of 60 calendar days. The appellant will be informed of the reason of the extension. It should be noted that following the extension, the decision taken is absolute and final.
  3. The submission, investigation, and decision on appeals will not result in any discriminatory actions against the appellant.
  4. Appellants will be charged a fee of US$200 per appeal. In case the appeal decision is in favor of the appellant, this fee will be reimbursed.
  5. If necessary, PECB will take appropriate correction and corrective/preventive actions. 
  6. All appeals, including actions taken, will be tracked and recorded by PECB.

6.2.2.1 Appeal Board 

The Appeal Board is composed of at least three members with a majority of members being independent of PECB personnel. Upon the request of the Appeal Board, the management will provide the board with all the necessary information, including the reasons for all significant decisions, actions, and the selection of persons responsible for particular activities, to allow PECB to ensure proper and impartial decision.

The Appeal Board’s recommendations are guided by international or national law. If the recommendation of the board is not respected by the management, the board will take appropriate measures, which may include informing PECB’s accreditation bodies.  Additionally, Appeal Board members are independent and impartial individuals assigned by PECB. In the event that a member or members of the Appeal Board have a conflict of interest, based upon the facts or circumstances of a specific appeal, including employment or other affiliations of the appellant, PECB management in conjunction with the Appeal Board will select a substitute member or members to hear and decide upon that claim. PECB has the right to appoint its Impartiality and Certification Appeals (ICA) Committee members as Appeal Board members if the criteria are met.

6.2.2.1 Instructions for Filing a Certification/Certificate Program Appeal

To file an appeal, the following steps should be taken:

  1. Go to https://pecb.com
  2. Click "Contact" from top menu then click “Help Center” from the drop down menu that will appear
  3. Click “Drop a Service Ticket”
  4. From a drop down menu under “ Topic,” choose “File a Certification/Certificate Program Appeal”
  5. Complete all the fields and submit the form (click "Submit")

Information to include in your appeal: 

Beside personal information (full name, email address, telephone), write in a message box your opinion about the assessment and why you are not satisfied with the initial decision, re-evaluation, and the review done by PECB after the certification/certificate program complaint.

7. Operations Complaints

7.1 Procedure Overview

Operations complaints and all their relevant information will be recorded, upon its reception, in the PECB Ticketing System. The person wishing to make operations complaints can do so directly through submitting a service ticket. Operations complaints received via email will be recorded in the PECB Ticketing System (alongside with the email) by the receiver of the complaint. Only written operations complaints will be recorded. Verbal operations complaints will have to be converted into written form. Note: When submitting a ticket, it is important that the category “Complaint” is selected.

In order for the operations complaints to be handled effectively, the complaint record must contain all the information necessary, including the complainant’s full name, email, and phone number, the department and staff member involved in the complaint, the description of the complaint, and the date. Once recorded, the operations complaints are to be tracked through the whole complaint handling process until the final decision.

A notice of acknowledgment is sent by PECB within 24 hours following the complaint reception. An initial assessment is conducted within 3 calendar days following the complaint reception.

7.2 Operating procedure

7.2.1 Operations Complaint Level 1

All operations complaints initiated are considered Level 1 and will be investigated and handled by the Head of Division (HoD) to whom the complaint has been addressed or the Head of Customer Service Department. The person initially addressing the operations complaints will investigate the complaint and offer a response to the complainant within 10 calendar days. Depending on the complexity of the case, when the case involves multiple parties and requires a more comprehensive investigation and resolution process, the deadline can be extended to a maximum of 15 calendar days. The complainant will be informed of the reason for the extension.

7.2.2 Operations Complaint Level 2

If the complainant is not satisfied with the response of Level 1 investigation, the complainant has the right to file for a Level 2 operations complaint. The complaint is assigned to the immediate supervisor of the HoD or top management to be investigated independently in coordination with the internal auditor or any other independent employee designated for the investigation. 

During Level 2 support, the person responsible will assess the operations complaints. Based on the assessment, they will offer a response to the complainant within 15 calendar days. Depending on the complexity of the case, when the case involves multiple parties and requires a more comprehensive investigation and resolution process, the deadline can be extended to a maximum of 30 calendar days.  The complainant will be informed of the reason for the extension. Following the extension, the response will be communicated in writing along with all evidence reviewed (if applicable).

Once the response of the Level 2 investigation is received by the complainant, it is considered a final response from PECB, and at this stage, the complainant can only agree or disagree with the final response, but in either case, the process ends. In case there is a conflict of interest, real or implied, with the Level 2 support, e.g., between the HoD or top management or internal auditor and the complainant, an independent and external investigator will be appointed to conduct the Level 2 investigation.

7.3 Instructions for Filing Operations Complaints

All operations complaints must be submitted and communicated in writing via the PECB Ticketing System based on the steps below: 

  1. Go to https://pecb.com
  2. Click "Contact" from top menu then click “Help Center” from the drop down menu that will appear
  3. Click “Drop a Service Ticket” 
  4. From a drop down menu under “Topic,” choose “File an Operations Complaint”
  5. Complete all the fields and submit the form (click "Submit")

Information to include in your operations complaints:

Besides personal information (full name, email address, phone number), write in the message box the description of the operations complaint, the department and staff member involved, if applicable, and the date.

Version: 2.9, Latest update: 2024/02/27

 

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