Audit and Certification Process
CONDITIONS FOR USE OF THE AVU REGISTRATIONS, INC., MARK
Reference to certification and use of marks
AVU governs any management system certification mark that it authorizes certified clients to use. These rules ensure, among other things, traceability back to AVU. There isn’t any ambiguity, in the mark or accompanying text, as to what has been certified and which AVU has granted the certification. This mark is not be used on a product nor product packaging nor in any other way that may be interpreted as denoting product conformity.
AVU does not permit its marks to be applied by certified clients to laboratory test, calibration or inspection reports or certificates.
AVU governs the use of any statement on product packaging or in accompanying information that the certified client has a certified management system. Product packaging is considered as that which can be removed without the product disintegrating or being damaged. Accompanying information is considered as separately available or easily detachable. Type labels or identification plates are considered as part of the product. The statement in no way implies that the product, process or service is certified by this means. The statement includes reference to:
— identification (e.g. brand or name) of the certified client;
— the type of management system (e.g. quality, environment) and the applicable standard;
— AVU issuing the certificate.
Rules for Use of the AVU mark
A certified organization may use the AVU mark on the organization’s stationery and literature, and in its advertising, subject to the conditions in this procedure Conditions for Use of AVU Registrations, Inc. Mark.
The AVU mark shall be reproduced:
a. in the original color or black as provided by AVU in a digital file.
b. in a size which makes all features of the mark clearly distinguishable.
c. without distortion of its dimensions.
The AVU mark shall not be used on any document unless the document relates in whole or in part to certification activities which are accredited by AVU. This would not preclude the mark on its preprinted letterhead paper.
The AVU mark shall not be used on a product or in such a way as to suggest AVU has certified or approved any product, process, or service of a certified organization, or in any other misleading manner. a. If larger boxes, packaging, etc., used for transportation include the mark(s), a clear statement must be included to the effect that the product contained therein was manufactured in a facility with [quality or environmental] management systems certified as being in conformity with [specific standard such as ISO 9001 or ISO 14001].
Upon withdrawal of AVU registration, the client shall discontinue its use of all advertising matter that contains any reference thereto including on letterhead (in any medium, including electronic media and Web sites), and return any registration documents as required by AVU.
WITHDRAWAL, SUSPENSION AND REDUCTION IN SCOPE OF REGISTRATION
Suspension, Withdrawal or Reduction in Scope decisions and actions will be handled by the Business Manager or appropriate AVU Manager or Impartiality Committee designee and will be different than those involved in any registration decisions.
Suspension of the Registration may occur under the following conditions: client system has failed over time during the surveillance or recertification audits and shown the certified system to not be effective in meeting the requirements of the standard or the clients documented system. the Client does not allow AVU access to the facility or staff to conduct required audits during the current cycle and schedule. the Client voluntarily makes the decision to suspend their certificate. the Client is in breach of the AVU Client Contract/Terms and Conditions. a substantial change in the management system of the Client occurs without the Client notification of the change to AVU for its review and follow up assessments.
Based on the conditions as stated in 1.1 AVU will provide a notice to the client that it considers that registration is no longer valid. AVU notifies the Client they can no longer promote or publish its certification for any reason during the suspension. AVU requires that the Client acknowledge its management system registration is temporarily invalid, immediately take all steps necessary to enable the suspension of its Registration to be removed and refrain from further promotion of Registration including the use of information, forms, documents and electronic media that use the Mark. The suspension may not be in effect longer than a six month duration.
The requirements as specified in the AVU Client Contract are enforceable at this time and are so noted and communicated to the Client. The Client is provided with information outlining the steps that must be taken by the Client to enable the suspension to be removed or reversed.
The suspension of the Clients certification is listed in the AVU documentation system and is listed on avuregs.com for the duration of the suspension. AVU will publicly acknowledge and inform interested parties of the suspension when requested by the interested party. Upon receipt and acceptance of corrective actions of the conditions that caused the suspension, AVU Registrations will notify the Client that the suspension has been removed and registration can continue in good standing. The suspension is removed from the website.
Client failure to communicate and to resolve the issues that have resulted in the suspension in a time frame supplied by AVU will result in withdrawal or reduction of the scope of certification. Any such reduction of scope is in accordance with the requirements of the standard used for certification body requirements.
AVU requires that the Client acknowledge its management system registration is withdrawn and invalid. The Client is instructed to refrain from further promotion of Registration including the use of information, forms, documents and electronic media that use the Mark. The withdrawal requires that the AVU conducts a stage 1 and stage 2 audit in order to be certified.
All Client withdrawals are listed on the avuregs.com for a period of not less than six months from the time of withdrawal unless the stage 1 and stage 2 audits are successfully conducted and the Client has a valid certificate.
Appeals will be handled by the Business Manager, an appropriate AVU Manager or Impartiality Committee designee.
Submission of Appeals
Any client who wishes to exercise their right to appeal certification decisions or Audit Finding Reports shall submit the appeal in writing (fax, email or hardcopy) to AVU within 30 days of the registration decision.
AVU is responsible for all decisions at all levels of the appeals-handling process.
Upon receipt of an appeal, AVU will document the appeal. The Business Manager or an appropriate AVU Manager will acknowledge receipt of the appeal by formal correspondence with the client.
Appeals are resolved through submission to The Business Manager or an appropriate AVU Manager. The personnel engaged in the appeals-handling process are different from those that carried out the audits and made the certification decisions of those clients making the related appeal. The Appeals members should have direct workplace experience and/or knowledge in the company’s sector industry, as supported by their resume. The Appeals members may consist of Industry Experts if deemed necessary. The members of the Appeals process are under obligation of confidentiality concerning anything that might come to their knowledge during their function, with regards to AVU, or the personnel or business situation of the appellant. The panel is responsible for investigating, validating, and documenting the resolution of the appeal. Appeals members will make judgment based on facts and evidence provided. The Appeals members may elect to hear oral testimony from both parties. A review of similar appeals if in existence may be used as a basis for review of the current appeal.
The Business Manager or an appropriate AVU Manager will provide the appellant with progress reports (if necessary) and the outcome.
The decision related to the outcome of the full and thorough investigation shall be documented utilizing the AVU Corrective Action procedure for root cause analysis and corrective action as a result of the appeal. Corrective actions or results are reviewed and approved by the Business Manager or an appropriate AVU Manager, who will forward it to the client within 30 working days of receipt of the appeal. This communication will also inform the client of the provisions for escalation. Fees incurred resulting from this escalation are recoverable from the appellant in the case of final rejection.
The members of AVU appeals process assigned to a specific appeal must ensure that there is no negative or discriminatory actions against the client.
The client can appeal the decision to a higher level by presentation to a committee made of members of the AVU Impartiality Committee for consideration.
AVU Impartiality Committee representatives are selected by the AVU Management and in some cases the Impartiality Committee members themselves.
The AVU Impartiality Committee will provide the committee with all documentation pertaining to the appeal, including the results of previous investigations and decisions pertaining to said subject matter.
The AVU Impartiality Committee will provide the appellant with progress reports (if necessary) and the outcome.
The decision related to the outcome of the investigation shall be documented and forwarded to the client within 45 days of receipt of the appeal.
The decision of the committee shall be the final decision of AVU. Should the client not be satisfied with the outcome of the appeal decision, the client has the right to file an appeal with AVU’s certification/oversight bodies.
Complaints will be handled by the Business Manager, an appropriate AVU Manager or Impartiality Committee designee.
Any party wishing to submit a complaint shall contact AVU via telephone, email, or other formal document. The complaint must be documented by AVU.
The complaint handling process is subject to the requirements for confidentiality.
Upon receipt of a complaint, AVU will log and acknowledge the complaint within 2 working days of receipt (typically via email). If the complaint is deemed valid, it will be assigned to designated personnel for investigation and resolution. If the complaint is deemed invalid, the complainant will be notified in writing including the reason for rejection.
AVU will take any necessary corrective actions related to the complaint, whether against AVU certification activities or against the certified client.
When the complaint is against a certified client, the subject of the complaint is not to be made public unless AVU, the complainant, and the client decide together as to what extent the subject of the complaint and the resolution shall be made public.
Complaints are resolved through an investigation and validation process with decisions made by AVU authorized personnel on what actions are to be taken in response to the complaint. AVU has the responsibility of gathering and verifying all necessary information to validate the complaint.
Complaints received from Certification Bodies, Sector Authority Organizations, or clients’ customers typically require an on-site investigation review visit within 30 days from receipt of the complaint. When an on-site investigation review visit is necessary, the lead auditor will be provided appropriate background information from operations to base the review. A report of the on-site investigation review visit will be documented.
Investigation of complaints related to certified clients shall include an examination of the certified client’s management system effectiveness. It may be necessary for AVU to conduct a short-notice special audit to investigate complaints. This audit shall be conducted in accordance with .This investigation may also lead to the suspension of the certification.
AVU will notify the client of the receipt of a complaint against their certified system at an appropriate time.
Annually, each AVU office will provide an analysis of corrective actions trend analysis. This report will be provided at the management review.
Corrective Action Process
The AVU process shall be followed when investigations into complaints indicate corrective action is necessary to eliminate the cause of the complaint.
AVU will maintain records of complaints (including receipt, investigation, and any actions taken in response to complaints) in a complaint folder.
Records of complaints and related actions will be presented at Management Reviews.
AVU Registrations, Inc. provides a value added registration process. Impartiality is the center of our organization’s policy and beliefs. Policies and procedures regulate our registration process to ensure integrity and honesty is communicated and delivered to our clients.
AVU understands the importance of impartiality in carrying out its management system certification activities, manages conflict of interest and ensures the objectivity of its management system certification activities.
AVU’s impartiality committee ensures that the policies and procedures of our impartiality process are implemented and adhered to. AVU’s team is responsible for complying with the impartiality process.
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