Procedure for Complaint, Appeals and Disputes

Corporate Procedure: GIPL_CPRO05_ComplaintsAppealsandDisputes_V4.2
Authorized By: Dr. Jagdish Kishwan, Managing Director
Approval Date: 24th November, 2021
  1. Scope
    This procedure covers the complaints, appeals and disputes addressed to GICIA India Pvt. Ltd (hereinafter referred to as GIPL). It also includes t h e recommendations that follow in response to the assessment actions, and the role of the personnel involved in reaching a conclusive settlement on an appeal.
  2. Objective
    GIPL has a policy to give utmost importance to the complaints and appeals as it feels complaints are a good source of feedback, and useful in taking corrective action for improvement in its activities.
    GIPL respects the right of persons and entities to disagree with the decisions of GIPL, and to prefer an appeal for the reconsideration of GIPL’s decision.
    The objective of this document is, thus, to provide a strong, impartial and transparent mechanism for dealing with complaints, disputes and appeals.
  1. Terms and Definitions
    For the purpose of this procedure, unless the context otherwise stated, the following definitions shall be applicable;
    a. Appeal:
    Appeal is defined as an Appeal against a Certificate Decision or a request made by a client for a formal review of a decision taken by GIPL in respect of its validation and/or verification/certification activities.
    b. Appellant:
    Person, organization or its representative, making an appeal. Corporate Procedure: GIPL_CPRO05_ComplaintsAppealsandDisputes_V4.2 Authorized By: Dr. Jagdish Kishwan, Managing Director Approval Date: 24th November, 2021
    c. Complaint:
    Complaint is defined as – A documented complaint received against either GIPL or a GIPL’s Certified Organization within the scope of certified Quality Management System. It also includes an expression of dissatisfaction other than appeal, made by a person, organization or its representative, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected from GIPL.
    d. Complainant:
    Person, organization or its representative, making a complaint.
    e. Dispute:
    A disagreement or argument.
  • Process
    a. Process for Handling of Complaints, Appeals and Disputes
    a) GIPL is open to receiving complaint/appeal/dispute from any sources. The complaint/appeal/dispute can be against personnel involved in the Certification process or Certified Client. Thecomplaint/appeal/dispute must be made in writing to the Quality Assurance Manager or designee with complete details of complainant (name, address, organization, detailed description and proposed action to rectify the matter, etc.). If the complaint/appeal/dispute has no details of the complainant or the description is not adequate, GIPL will reserve the right of dealing with the complaint/appeal/dispute as deemed fit. GIPL can also investigate the reports appearing in media, if relevant.
    b) Once the complaint/appeal/dispute is received, it should be directed to the respective Scheme Manager for further investigation. GIPL shall provide an initial response for the acknowledgement of the complaint, including an outline of the proposed course of action to follow up on the complaint or appeal, within 3 working days of receiving a complaint or appeal.
    c) The designated personnel shall maintain a record for the complaint/appeal/dispute that is received by GIPL within the Complaint Registry Sheet. The designee personnel shall assign the appropriate registration number/complaint number to the complaint/appeal/dispute as per the Document Control System in GIPL. The important dates, viz., date of receipt of complaint/appeal/dispute, date of acknowledgement, description of the complaint, outcome of the complaint, date of disposal including date of final disposal/closure along with other details shall be recorded in Complaint Registry Sheet.
    d) Initial scrutiny of the complaint/appeal/dispute is done by the designated personnel. This is to determine that the complaint/appeal/dispute falls within the ambit of GIPL activities and whether the complaint/appeal/dispute prima facie holds ground.
    e) If it is found that the complaint/appeal/dispute does not fall within the ambit of GIPL the complaint/appeal/dispute is considered closed and the complainant is informed accordingly.
    f) If the complaint/appeal/dispute falls within the ambit of GIPL and the initial information provided in the complaint/appeal/dispute is enough to act upon, the complaint/appeal/dispute is investigated further as deemed fit.
    g) The entire handling process of the complaint/appeal/dispute should respect and maintain confidentiality, non-discrimination, avoid conflict of interest and maintain complete impartiality.
    h) The decision of the complaint/appeal/dispute Committee shall be final and supersede any procedure of the GIPL to handle complaints, appeals and disputes etc.
    i) In general, GIPL will not charge any fee or cost from the complainant/appellant for investigation of the complaints or processing of appeals filed by him/her. However, in case the investigation of the complainant or processing of appeal involves substantial expenses; viz: procurement of documents, interviews with witnessing or contacting persons at different locations, inspection of visit to and inspection of sites at different places, etc. required to be undertaken in the course of investigation. In such a case, the complainant/appellant shall have to bear a part of the total cost involved subject to a maximum of 25% of such cost.
    j) GIPL shall investigate the allegations, specify all its proposed actions in conclusion to the complaint or appeal and resolve the complaint/appeal/dispute within 30 days of receiving it and the outcome shall be communicated to the complainant within the above specified period.
    k) GIPL shall ensure that the outcome of the complaint, consent of the outcome along with the feedback of the complainant (if it has been resolved or not) to be taken care of by the Scheme Manager.
    l) Any complaint/appeal/dispute received to GIPL shall be communicated to the Head-Quality Assurance and the designated personnel or the Scheme Manager handling the complaint shall make sure to register it in the Complaint Registry Sheet of GIPL adding the remarks if the complaint has been resolved or not.
    m) If a complaint is not resolved, the complaint can go to appeals with GIPL.
    n) The complaint/appeal/dispute received by GIPL can be classified into three categories:
    • against applicant/ certified Client
    • against Assessors/Experts/ Committee Members
    • against GIPL officials
    b. Process for Handling of Complaints:
    a) On receipt of a complaint, designated personnel shall discuss the matter of complaint with the concerned officer dealing with the relevant subject or scheme, and the case is assigned and investigated accordingly.
    b) If required, a hearing with the complainant or clarification form the concerned may be taken.
    c) The complainant shall be informed about the action taken by GIPL If the complaint is found invalid, the complainant is informed accordingly.
    d) The complaint shall be resolved within 30 days of its receipt.
    e) The investigating authority shall record its decision.
    f) If the complainant is not satisfied, he/she may go for an appeal against the decision.
    g) Records of complaints shall be maintained by the Quality Assurance Team and details thereof shall be reported to the management every week.
    h) Submission, investigation and decision on complaints shall not result in any discriminatory actions against the complainant.

4.3 Process for Handling of Appeals
a) Any person or entity not satisfied with any decision of GIPL may prefer an appeal.
b) Appeal shall be made by the appellant within 30 days of the receipt of the decision, indicating the specific decision appealed against along with reasons for disagreement or dissatisfaction.
c) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GIPL may, however, condone the delay beyond 30 days, if satisfied about the genuineness of the reasons for delay.
d) GIPL shall acknowledge immediately the receipt of appeal and make an entry in the appeals register.
e) Designated personnel shall inform the CEO about any appeal received and may request him to set up an Appeals Committee of significant persons including CEO/Management Representative, Quality Assurance Team Head/Representative and technical experts to deal with the Appeal. Any person who was associated with the processing of decision appealed against shall not be part of the Committee. The Members of this Committee shall have the authority to call for any relevant papers, evidences, give opportunity of being heard in person to both sides, or consult any expert on the subject, if felt necessary. After considering the relevant facts, the Committee shall evaluate, verify and record its decision. The decision of the Appeals Committee shall be based on a simple majority, if required, and shall be final.
f) GIPL shall convey the decision of the Appeals Committee to the appellant. The communication shall, inter alia, include formal notice to the appellant informing him/her of the end of the appeals-handling process.
g) GIPL shall take follow up action, including any corrective action as per the decision of Appeals Committee.
h) Records of appeals shall be maintained, and details reported to the management at the earliest.
i) Submission, investigation and decision on appeals shall not result in any discriminatory actions against the appellant.
j) GIPL shall resolve the appeal within 60 days of its receipt, and Quality Assurance Head or designee shall record and communicate the same to the appellant.


4.4 Process for Handling Disputes
a) If the complainant/appellant rejects the proposed decision or action related to GIPL service, it shall be considered as dispute and GIPL Quality Assurance Head (or designee) will provide notice of the dispute to the GIPL top management (CEO/Management Representative) within seven (7) business days of the receipt of the complainant/appellant’s rejection.
b) GIPL Quality Assurance Head (or designee) will submit the formal dispute file in which all materials and correspondence associated with the formal appeal, including the proposed decision or action, to the top management.
c) Top management of GIPL shall constitute a Dispute Panel comprising CEO/Management Representative, Program Manager, Quality Assurance Head and at least one technical expert who is independent of the:
i. certification evaluation at issue;
ii. associated certification decision; and
iii. day-to-day implementation of the policies of the relevant GIPL services.
d) The formal dispute file, including all evidence provided by the complainant/appellant, along with the proposed decision or action prepared by the GIPL’s Quality Assurance Head (or designee), will be provided to the corresponding Dispute Panel.
e) The Dispute Panel shall, at its sole discretion, may request for additional information by telephone or written correspondence from the parties. Based on its review of the facts, the Dispute Panel shall then prepare a written report of its findings, which shall be sent to the Quality Assurance Head, the complainant/appellant, and any additional affected parties. The Quality Assurance Head shall prepare and submit the Resolution Report within 120 days of receipt of the notice of dispute and the same should be communicated to all relevant parties and recorded in specified file.

  1. Responsibility
    5.1 Responsibility of handling of complaint/appeal/dispute rests with the Quality Assurance Team under the supervision of CEO/Management Representative.
    5.2 To ensure no conflict of interest, personnel (including those acting in a managerial capacity) who have provided consultancy (see NOTE) for a client, or been employed by a client, are not used by GIPL to review or approve the resolution of a complaint or appeal for that client within two years following the end of the consultancy or employment.
    NOTE: consultancy means participation in
    a) the designing, manufacturing, installing, maintaining or distributing of a certified product or a product to be certified, or
    b) the designing, implementing, operating or maintaining of a certified process or a process to be certified, or
    c) the designing, implementing, providing or maintaining of a certified service or a service to be certified.
  1. Contact Us
    For any complaint/appeal/dispute please write a mail to us at complaincell@gicia.org.