ICERT clients have the right to appeal against icert decisions, within 15 days starting from the date of receiving the decision.
The detailed steps of the appeal procedure are as follow:
1. The client is to pay appeal fees according to icert fees list without that the appeal request will not be considered. This amount is refunded in case of acceptance of the appeal.
2. The client fills form Appeal (ADM-040)1. The client can get this form either from icert office or by downloading from icert website. This form together with supporting documents, if any, as well as the receipt of paying the appeal fees should be sent to icert by hand, fax or as an e-mail attachment.
3. The appeal form, the receipt of the appeal fees and the operator’s file are presented to the nearest certification committee meeting to evaluate the case.
4. If the certification committee detects a mistake in the previous decision or if the documents presented by the client prove new evidence, a retroactive decision will be taken by the certification committee.
5. The Complaint / Appeal Manager will then inform the client with outcome of the investigation within 15 days of the appeal date by using the form Appeal (ADM-040). Should the result of the investigation be positive, the appeal fees will be refunded in full. In case of rejection of the appeal, the Complaint / Appeal Manager informs the client in writing about the decision within 15 days of the appeal date by using the form Appeal (ADM-040) and no money is refunded.
6. In case of rejection of appeal, the client has the right to route his appeal through the Impartiality Safeguard Committee by contacting them through the e-mail published on icert website under “the link Appeal”. The Committee will not consider any appeal which has not gone through the first level of resolution by the Certification Committee and will not consider any supporting documents or evidence which have not been presented before to the certification committee.
7. The decision of the Impartiality Safeguard committee is binding for all parties and is documented by using form The Impartiality Safeguard Committee Decision (CER-211) which is e-mailed to ICERT Chairman as well as the appellant.
8. Form “Development of Complaints/Appeals” 2 is used to monitor and maintain the progress of the appeal. All appeals are documented in serial order in the Register of Appeals3.
icert clients have the right to comment, feedback, and protest against work of icert personnel, quality policies, rules, and regulations by using Protest Form4 which can be obtained wither from icert office or by downloading from icert website. This form is to be filled by the client and sent to icert either by hand, fax or as an e-mail attachment. These protests have no associated fees and will be collected by the Quality Manager on regular basis. The Quality Manager discusses these protests with the C.E.O. and prepares a reply for the client on the same Protest Form within 15 days from the date of submitting the protest. Copy of these protest forms are kept in icert office as Protest Register 5.
icert receives complaints from out-of-country importers, international control bodies, and international competent authorities, and on its profile via OFIS (Organic Farming Information System). These complaints are received by icert via e-mails to address issues like pesticide residues detection of imported organic crops and products certified by icert. Also these complaints may address suspicious of certificate authentication. The Quality manager is responsible for confirming receipt of the complaint, with a timeframe of handling the complaint, within maximum 30 days if no improvement can be made before that time, after receiving these complaints and reviewing all relevant submitted documents to confirm that it is traced back to ICERT client it is forwarded to the chief certifier to initiate his investigation to determine the source and reason of the chemical contamination, certificate authenticity, etc. In case of pesticide residue, the chief certifier assigns the inspection department to perform an inspection visit for the concerned firm / farm (whether announced or unannounced) and take necessary samples. Soil and plant representative samples are usually taken and analyzed by the subcontracted ISO 17025-accredited Laboratory. The results of the inspection department findings and the lab analysis are presented to the chief certifier to complete his investigation and write the report which is sent to the complaint/appeal manager to review and approve the decision of resolving the complaint and then sent to the Quality manager to send the decision via e-mail to the concerned parties. Incomplete complaints cannot be processed. A copy of this e-mail is submitted to the certification department to log a proper entry in the Register of Certification Committee Decisions (ADM-180) which is used to update the certification status in icert website. Form “Development of complaints/ Appeals” 2 is used to maintain the development of the complaint investigation process. icert files all the complaints of each calendar year in a complaint register6. The responsibility to maintain this register is the Chief Certifier.