Scheme Rules, Regulations, Complaints and Appeals:
United Registrar of Systems (Holdings)Ltd. - (hereafter referred to as URS) certification regulations and other services regulations are presented below.
1. These regulations relate to certification by a member of the URS Holdings.
For the purpose of these regulations, "URS Holdings" Means any Brand operated under URS (Holdings) Ltd.. All associated brands and related companies, such as URS Regulation, URS Systems, URS Verification, URS People, URS Product, URS Monitoring (Inspection).
"Logo" Means the logo approved by the URS Holdings.
"Appeals Committee" Means a committee of the URS Independent Certification Board established for the purpose of hearing appeals. The panel appointed in respect of each appeal will consist of a Chairman and at least two members of the Independent Certification Board, none of whom shall have any direct interest in the subject of the appeal.
"Applicant" Means an individual, body corporate or body incorporate which has applied but has not yet been granted a certificate for the scope of the application, whether this be for certification, Inspection or other related service.
"Board" Means the Board established as the governing body of the URS Holdings.
"Standard, or Scheme" Means the standard or scheme for which the Client is seeking Certification (e.g.: ISO 27001) and, or Inspection services such as Social Audits, or related services provided by the URS.
"Certificate" Means a certificate recognizing that the management system, or Inspection performed, or Training given, or other service which produces a Certificate output, granted to the organization having been assessed by a URS Holdings member in accordance with these regulations.
"Schemes Manager" Means the person who is appointed for the time being by the Board of Directors with approval by the board, to be in charge of the area for which the Board has responsibility. There may be several Schemes Manager(s) dependent on the Schemes and, or services offered.
"Registered Organization" Means an individual, body corporate or body incorporate which has been granted a certificate by a URS Holdings member.
"Documented Management System" Means a set of documents/descriptions/protocols/Std. Operating Procedures/Work Instructions, or other formal instructions serving to implement the system of an organization which sets out the specific practices, resources and activities of that organization relevant to achieving compliance with a particular standard, specification or otherwise specified requirement, plus, if appropriate, practices and activities relevant to specific Codes of Practice.
"Guidance Notes/Auditor Notes" Means a document developed by the URS, industry, procurement and associated interests, with or without the participation of a URS member which particularizes the requirements of a Standard/Scheme/Requirement in relation to a particular sector of industry.
2. The URS Holdings or any of its subsidiary companies is the final authority by which certificates may be granted or the reports issued (i.e. URS Verification in case of Social Audits), and acts through the Schemes Manager who, for the purpose of making assessments under these regulations, may from time to time delegate his/her functions as he/she may appoint or remove as he/she may deem necessary, subject to such conditions as the executive board may from time to time impose.
3. An applicant who satisfies the Schemes Manager that they are capable of compliance with these regulations and that the client carries out a bona fide business, and who gives to the Schemes Manager such undertakings as he may require shall, subject to the conditions of these regulations be entitled to a certificate or an audit which shall nevertheless remain the property of the appropriate URS member. In case of Management System Certification Scheme, Initial Certificates generally, have a valid from date and an expiry date (for Management system certification the period is typically 36 months). In such case, if an organization does not intend to renew its certificate it must notify the Schemes Manager in writing of its intention not to do so, at least two months before the certificate expiry date. An organization’s right to use the certificate or the report, as the case may be, is not transferable without the express permission of the schemes manager in writing.
4. A certified or the audited organization, means a client, shall:
(i) comply with these regulations at all times
(ii) Use the appropriate logo in accordance with the conditions defined for the use of Marks and Logos - as defined within this website and in respect of the service(s) or product(s) which is/are the subject of the certificate, and then only from the address stated on the certificate or the report (and annex if appropriate). (iii) Maintain and document a system (where applicable) in accordance with the appropriate standard, and make available copies of all or part of the documented system should the Schemes Manager require it to be lodged with the appropriate URS member for reference purposes.
(iv) Notify the appropriate URS Holdings member of matters arising that may affect the capability of their Certification to continue to fulfil the requirements of the standard(s) used for certification or these certification regulations. The notification must be immediate and in writing, when amendments to the system are significant (e.g. changes relating to legal, commercial, organizational status or ownership; changes to key management personnel; change in contact address and sites; changes in scope of operations covered by the certified/registered management system; and major changes to the management system and processes). Where amendments are of a minor nature, they must be notified to the URS Holdings representative at the next scheduled assessment /surveillance visit. (v) Discontinue any use of the applicable logo, which is unacceptable to the stated regulations, and any form of statement or reference to the authority of the organization to be certified which in the opinion of the URS Holdings might be misleading. (vi) Give representatives of the appropriate URS Holdings member access during normal working hours, to the premises or sites in which work subject to the Audit or certificate is being carried out, for the purpose of examining materials, procedures, processes, methods of test, records and systems, or establishing that the procedure for the termination of the certificate or report issued described in regulation (v) has been carried out if necessary.
(vii) Nominate for the approval of the Scheme Manager(s) a management representative and one or more deputies authorised to act in the main nominees absence (and replacement nominees as may be necessary) who will be responsible for all matters in connection with the requirements of the certificate or the report, as the case may be, and who will, upon each visit by the representative of the URS Holdings member sign a declaration if requested by the representative, to the effect that any changes in the procedures and other information relevant to the conditions under which the certificate or the report is held including customer complaints, have been notified to the appropriate URS Holdings member.
(viii) Upon the termination of the certificate, or withdraw of issued report (however determined) forthwith discontinue the use of the applicable logo and all advertising matter which contain the logo or any reference thereto. In addition, any other material or documents in the possession of the organisation which bear reference to the certificate will, if the Independent Certification Board requires, be so treated as to erase it.
(ix) In the event that a Product or Service is subject to the client being involved in legal proceedings related to a malfunction of the said Product or Service that is under the Certification/Approval Scope issued by URS, then the client shall inform URS of the matter and URS shall be entitled to perform an investigation, with due co-operation of the client in question, which may involve a Special Visit that URS is entitled to charge for the required special visit and closure of any corrective actions.
(x) As stated in clause vi, the certified client, in case of management system, must have a regular surveillance visit to maintain their Certificate, this is typically at least annually. If, however, a surveillance visit can not be performed, for whatever reason as required, then the client will be suspended until a visit can be arranged. Should the visit not be arranged in a reasonable time-frame, the certificate shall be cancelled.
Please note that different schemes have differing time-frames regarding the period in which a suspension is triggered and/or cancellation.
If in any doubt regarding the time-frames for the "trigger dates," please contact your local URS office.
Any decision made by URS shall documented to the client and any decision shall be considered final, noting Section 11 below.
5. The appropriate URS Holdings member shall be entitled to charge fees at a level to be determined from time to time having regard to its costs relating to the administration of its schemes: An organization shall pay:
(i) A fixed annual fee, or other fee agreement as agreed in writing for each certificate granted or report issued (this will include costs of surveillance, where appropriate), which shall not in general be returnable.
(ii) Additional fees for assessment, supervision, re-issue or endorsement of the certificate or the issuance of report and administration such as shall from time to time be determined by the board to be fair and appropriate.
(iii) A final assessment fee upon termination of the certificate or withdrawal of report, however determined if such assessment be required by the certification board. (iv) (a) Any additional costs incurred by the URS Holdings member due to the certified organizations non-compliance with these regulations. (iv) (b) Whilst it is the Group´s policy to offer competitive fees, clients which cancel pre-arranged visits without reasonable notice (less than 7 working days), may force a charge to be levied for such a cancellation, given that travel arrangements and accommodation may have been booked in order to provide an economic tour to be made by the auditor to keep costs, and therefore, fees to a realistic level. Further, the situation can be aggravated when sub-contract auditors are used for audit assignments. Given the above, clients will no doubt avoid such requests and fully understand the above policy and appreciate that any notice of cancellation should be made in writing to the local office.
(v) Travel expenses, as applicable, and related to certification activities.
(vi) All fees may be payable in advance of the activity to which they refer i.e. Application fee prior to document review; Assessment fee prior to assessment: and Annual Surveillance fee prior to surveillance, except where a continual payment method is used e.g. Standing Order or other arrangements have been approved by the appropriate URS Holdings member. Failure to pay could result in delayed surveillance or recertification activities which would jeopardise certification. URS Holdings will send payment reminders until such time as non-payment prevents the surveillance or recertification activity whereupon the certificate will be suspended or withdrawn (see 9. below).
6. The URS Holdings member shall:
(i) Send a representative to the registered organization in line with the agreed surveillance programme (or appoint an evaluator for assessment of documents and records at a URS Holdings designated office), which will be notified to the client (these visits are normally once or twice a year) for the purpose of verifying that the obligations imposed by the certification rules are being carried out. Note, for the 1st Surveillance audit, the visit must not exceed 12 months from the date of the stage two (OA1) audit.
(ii) Notify the registered organization of any changes in applicable Guidance Notes, Standard or Certification Rules/Regulations and allow the organization such time as in the opinion of the Independent Certification Board is reasonable in which to adjust its processes and relevant procedures to meet the revised requirements.
(iii) Not Disclose Any Information concerning the registered organization which is of a confidential nature, other than information which is in the public domain. (iv) Notify the registered organization of customer complaints relating to the compliance of the registered organizations product, process or service.
7. If a registered organization is temporarily unable to comply with the requirements of these regulations, the URS Holdings member will require the registered organization to discontinue use of the logo, and/or any claim to be a registered organization with immediate effect until they are satisfied that the conditions of certification are again achieved or pending the result of any appeal under regulation 12.
8. In the event that an IATF 16949 registered organization no longer supplies to an IATF 16949 subscriber the Schemes Manager must be notified in writing within 20 working days, where upon registrations will be withdrawn (but not ISO 9000). Additionally, those companies that are being audited and registered to ISO 14001 must notify the relevant regulatory body or bodies (including the appropriate URS Holdings member) of any known breach of regulation/legislation appertaining to the environmental system certified. Similarly, those companies that are being audited and registered to Health and Safety must notify the relevant regulatory body or bodies (including the appropriate URS Holdings member) of any known breach of regulation/legislation appertaining to the system certified.
9. If a registered organization fails to comply with these regulations the URS Holdings member may, subject to the provisions in regulation 12 as appropriate: (i) Suspend or withdraw the certificate or reduce its scope (ii) Refuse to grant or renew the certificate or extend its scope. Such decisions, and the grounds for them, shall be communicated to the registered organization in writing. Reasons for suspension/withdrawal include: failure to comply with these regulations; persistent or serious failure to meet certification requirements including the requirement to maintain effectiveness of the certified management system; not allowing surveillance or recertification audits to be conducted at the required frequencies; and client request. Failure to resolve the issues leading to suspension or highlighted during audits/visits/complaints, in the agreed time frame (not to exceed 6 months), non payment of fees, will result in withdrawal or reduction of the scope of certification.
10.The URS Holdings may, at their discretion, and subject to regulation 12, revoke or refuse to grant or renew a certificate if the registered organization becomes subject to the bankruptcy laws or makes any arrangements or composition with its creditors, or enters into liquidation, whether compulsory or voluntary (but not including liquidation for the purpose of reconstruction), or has a receiver of its business appointed, or is convicted of an offence tending to discredit the registered organizations reputation and good faith as a trader. Such decisions, and the grounds for them, shall be communicated to the registered organization in writing.
11. In the event of a registered organization or applicant wishing to appeal against any decision of the URS Holdings Schemes Manager, Auditor, Independent Certification Board (ICB) under these regulations, it shall be within 21 clear days after having been officially informed of such a decision, giving notice in writing to the Independent Certification Board of its desire to appeal against that decision.
A meeting of an appeal committee constituted in accordance with the regulations will be held within 30 clear days of receipt of such notice, and the appellant shall be given at least 7 clear days notice of the time and place of such a meeting. The ICB Chairman must convene an Appeals Committee, which will consist of not less than 3 ICB members and must exclude URS officers. The committee members must not have any involvement with the appellant and any interest must be declared. Any member with an interest cannot sit on the committee.
The appellant will be advised as to the constitution of the appeals committee with respect to the individual candidature and shall be given the opportunity to object to any member of the committee. Such objections must be notified to the Schemes manager in writing, and the appeals committee will be duly re-constituted if upheld.
The Schemes Managers decision shall remain in force pending any meeting of the appeals committee. At such meeting, both the appellant and the Schemes Manager shall be entitled to be heard in confidence. The decision of the majority of the appeals committee as declared by its chairman shall be final.
The decision and subsequent action agreed by the Chairman of the ICB will result in no discriminatory action.
12. Should a client or other third party wish to make a complaint or provide adverse feedback against the service offered by any member of the URS Holdings, they may, in the first instance, write to the Schemes Manager at the appropriate URS Holdings member Head Office. The contact addresses can be found on the URS Holdings website at www.urs-holdings.com.
Any officer, employee, or contractor of any member of URS Holdings receiving or becoming aware of a complaint or adverse feedback against the service offered by any member of URS Holdings should immediately inform the Local Office Head to ensure the correct procedure is followed.
All complaints shall be duly recorded and reviewed, any corrective action thought necessary shall be communicated to the complainant, within a reasonable time-frame. Should the action not be considered sufficient, the complainant should write to the Head Office, but mark the correspondence for the attention of the Independent Certification Board (ICB).
Following the ICBs review of the matter, any actions considered necessary shall, once again be communicated to the complainant. If the above action is still not considered satisfactory, the complainant should address his/her concerns to the relevant URS Holdings members Accreditation Body (e.g. UKAS, SMMT (for IATF 16949), NABCB, etc.). Links to the Accreditation Bodies are available on the URS Holdings member websites - https://urs-holdings.com/accreditations.
Note: The Appeals Committee and all officers, employees, and contractors of any member of URS Holdings will at all times comment upon and respond to complaints and adverse feedback from any source with courtesy, even while questioning or (if that be the outcome of its fair consideration) finding against any complaints or feedback.
Due Confidentiality and constructive views are upheld while handling complaints and Adverse feedback. URS acknowledges, while providing adverse feedback (even not in form of formal complaint & grievance), a person or organization makes a Protective Disclosure of information (may like to act as whistle blower), a complete confidentiality is maintained, especially of the identity of the person making such disclosure.
13. Independent Certification Board or the Impartiality Committee (ICB), is constituted to ensure impartiality and independence in the activities of URS group. It further ensures that any complaints received either about URS or its customers or any of the appeal are fully investigated and appropriate corrective action has been taken.
ICB membership is designed to represent a balance of interests that are covered by the URS activities, these include but are not limited to; the health care sector. Consumers e.g. Trading Standards, automotive industry, person with environmental aspects, ISMS, Aerospace, Health and Safety, Food sector, Product certification activities, Energy Management, Anti-Bribery. Directors of URS group have no voting rights.
14. These regulations may from time to time be altered by the ICB. No such alterations shall affect the right of any registered organization to use the applicable logo, or claim to be registered under these regulations unless or until it shall have been given notice in writing of such alterations by the appropriate URS Holdings member who will notify the registered organization of the date by which it must comply with the altered regulations, which shall not normally be less than six months from the date of notification of the alteration.
15. The following information shall be open for inspection by the public at the appropriate URS Holdings members operating address, which shall be published:
i) List of Registered Organizations
ii) Certifications suspended & withdrawn
iii) Complaint & Appeal handling procedure.
For the checking of an Organization to determine whether they hold a valid Certificate, the general public can access the URS Holdings website.
16. Any notice under these regulations shall be in writing and signed by or on behalf of the party giving it and may be served by leaving it or sending it by pre-paid recorded delivery or registered post, in the case of the URS Holdings member or the registered organization at or from its address for the time being (registered office where applicable).
Any notice so served by post shall (unless the contrary proved) be deemed to have served 48 hours from the time of posting; and in proving such service it shall be sufficient to prove that the notice was properly addressed and was posted in accordance with this regulation.
17. As an accredited registrar the relevant Accreditation Bodies reserve the right to perform witnessed audits on our auditors, evaluators, or Inspectors, you therefore need to be aware that as a registered client, for some schemes, standards there maybe instances where the auditor, evaluator, or Inspector will be accompanied by an auditor(s) from the relevant Accreditation Body. As a registered client you are obliged to allow the Accreditation Body auditor(s) to carry out the witnessed audit on your site.
For certain schemes, such as IATF 16949, the registered client is also required, if necessary, to afford the right of access to an IATF representative or delegate, In addition, the IATF rules state that NO consultant may be present during the audit performed by the certification body, or an IATF representative or delegate.
In Particular, the Aerospace Scheme (AS 91XX) has particular requirements e.g.: rights of access* requirements which cover IAQG members and Regulatory Agencies attending with the Accrediting Body or even independently. Rights of access must also be granted to records and facilities. This is required in order to satisfy the IAQG Resolution #136. (Note - AQMS clients are also bound to provide copies of audit reports and associated documents to their clients or potential clients upon request unless justification can be provided e.g.:Conflict of interest). Under the scheme rules such rights also include the IAQG Members and Regualtory Agencies the ability to visit and audit the approved certification body (URS).
18. Product Certification Requirements under (ISO 17065).
The following conditions are also applicable to any client certified by URS Products Limited. (these terms are in addition to the above);
a) the client always fulfils the certification requirements, including implementing appropriate changes when they are communicated by the certification body.
b) if the certification applies to ongoing production, the certified product continues to fulfil the product requirements.
c) the client makes all necessary arrangements for;
d) the client makes claims regarding certification consistent with the scope of certification
e) the client does not use its product certification in such a manner as to bring the certification body into disrepute and does not make any statement regarding its product certification that the certification body may consider misleading or unauthorised.
f) upon suspension, withdrawal, or termination of certification, the client discontinues its use of all advertising matter that contains any reference thereto and takes action as required by the certification scheme (e.g. the return of certification documents) and takes any other required measure.
g) if the client provides copies of the certification documents to others, the documents shall be reproduced in their entirety or as specified in the certification scheme.
h) in making reference to its product certification in communication media such as documents, brochures or advertising, the client complies with the requirements of the certification body or as specified by the certification scheme.
i) the client complies with any requirements that may be prescribed in the certification scheme relating to the use of marks of conformity, and on information related to the product;
NOTE See also ISO/IEC 17030, ISO/IEC Guide 23 and ISO Guide 27.
j) the client keeps a record of all complaints made known to it relating to compliance with certification requirements and makes these records available to the certification body when requested, and
NOTE Verification of item j) by the certification body can be specified in the certification scheme.
k) the client informs the certification body, without delay, of changes that may affect its ability to conform with the certification requirements.
NOTE Examples of changes can include the following:
Limits of Liability
Whilst the URS Holdings has Insurance cover to ensure the liabilities, in the event of a failure of service are covered, the cover of liabilities are based on the following Terms and Conditions accepted by a URS Holdings (which covers any URS Holdings brand, as stated within the services offered on this website and restricted to those services listed and offices stated within the said website) Customer and Client.
Further the acceptance of the limits of liabilities are implied by the statements made within this website, including the Disclaimer, Rules and Regulations, Use of Marks and any Contractual terms and conditions.
The Professional Indemnity Insurance Cover varies from service to service, and the URS Holdings limits its liability based on certain principles being honoured by our Customers and clients, dependent on the service contracted, such that:
1. Any URS Holdings Auditor, Inspector, Evaluator (whether permanently employed, or acting as a sub-contractor) to a Customer, or Client premises, or customers to the URS Holdings Customer, or supplier, hold the appropriate Insurance to cover the said URS Holdings Auditor, Inspector, or evaluator.
2. If transportation is required to and from a Customer, Client, or customer, or supplier to the URS Holdings Customer and such transport is taken by the URS Holdings Auditor, Inspector or Evaluator (whether permanently employed, or acting as a sub-contractor), then appropriate insurance cover shall be held by the Customer, Client, customer to the URS Holdings Customer, or supplier.
3. Where Auditors, Inspectors, Evaluators visit a client, or a customer, or supplier of a client to perform their duties, the customer must provide the relevant Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and provide adequate training, instruction prior to work commencing. Further the Customer must NOT allow the Auditor, Inspector, Evaluator to handle equipment without express supervision and instruction.
4. System Certification - Findings that must be corrected against the standard that is being audited, the URS Holdings will not be liable for the determination of the said corrective action and implementation. The decision as to what is required to correct a finding is solely within the remit of the Customer or Client.
5. Persons Certification - As item (4) above, but in some cases, in particular for the FLAME scheme, recommendations will be given to correct the finding. It is incumbent on the customer to review such recommendations and should the customer have concerns with the stated recommendation, the customer is invited to contact URS Holdings Head Office for a view prior to any such implementation.
6. Product - As item (5) above, but additionally, there may be specific requirements stated within the contract or regulatory requirements as required by the Competent Authority.
7. Inspection - As item (5) above, but additionally, there may be specific requirements stated within the contract, together with additional PI insurance requirements.
The extent of Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance is dependent on the brand/service being offered. Details of the extent and amount of cover regarding Insurance can be obtained by contacting the Head Office of the Holding - see Offices on this website and select Worldwide.
The Client of the URS Holdings is reminded that should such Insurance cover be of importance for the delivery of services to them, with regard to the limits of Liability, then enquiries to Head Office are welcome to satisfy themselves cover is adequate.
*Specific additional AS requirements
9.1 General requirements (EN 9104-001)
9.1.1 AQMS certified organizations shall be in conformance with the requirements of this standard. An issue or nonconformance that may affect the integrity of the certification may be cause for application cancellation, or certificate suspension or withdrawal.
9.1.2 AQMS certified organizations, that have their AQMS standard certification suspended, shall provide notification to their ASD customers (where known) within 15 days of suspension.
NOTE Organizations should also provide notification when their certification is withdrawn.
9.1.3 AQMS certified organizations shall support ICOP scheme oversight activities to confirm the effectiveness of the CB audit process (reference EN 9104-002).
9.1.4 AQMS certified organizations shall allow CBs to publish public data (e.g., information on the AQMS certification and its’ status) and non-public data (e.g., audit results, assessment results, nonconformities, corrective action, scoring) in the OASIS database.
9.1.5 AQMS certified organizations shall identify when there is a need to omit information that is proprietary or subject to restrictions, from the audit report, prior to the OASIS database entry.
9.1.6 AQMS certified organizations shall appoint and maintain an administrator for the OASIS database responsible for:
a) managing customer access requests for certification audit data in the OASIS database;
b) providing the e-mail address(es) of the organization’s OASIS database administrator(s);
c) providing the organization’s contact details, phone, e-mail address, and website, as applicable;
d) providing access and assign roles/privileges to other users within the organization; and
e) managing OASIS database feedback generated or received.
9.1.7 AQMS certified organizations shall support the CB AQMS audit process via direct input of data into the OASIS database, including online corrective action management.
9.1.8 AQMS certified organizations shall either provide electronic access to audit results data contained in the OASIS database, or download and distribute audit results data to their ASD customers and regulatory authorities, upon request, unless justification can be provided (e.g., competition, confidentiality, conflict of interest).
NOTE 1 AQMS certified organizations should address specific customer requirements with respect to OASIS database access.
NOTE 2 AQMS certified organizations have the option to make information available to all OASIS database users.
9.1.9 AQMS certified organizations shall work with the CB to resolve any issues regarding access limitations to the organization (e.g., resolve by limiting the scope of certification).
9.1.10 AQMS certified organizations shall provide data required by this standard, to their CB prior to initial, surveillance, and recertification audits for the completion of the OCAP analysis.
NOTE Failure to provide accurate and timely data may result in the issuance of a nonconformity by the CB and/or prevent certification.