Jul 13, 2020 Last Updated 3:13 PM, Apr 24, 2020

Procedure for Handling Complaints and Appeals and Receiving Customer Feedback

Procedure for Appeals, Complaints and disputes

March 22, 2019


1.0                 Purpose & Scope

The purpose of this procedure is to clearly outline the steps related to the handling of complaints against JANAAC or one of its accredited CABs, and appeals from Conformity Assessment Bodies against an accreditation decision taken by JANAAC It also outlines the steps taken in determining customer satisfaction.

This procedure covers the activities from the receipt of a verbal or written complaint or appeal, to the submission of a report to the JANAAC Accreditation Council for its review of the management system.



2.0                 Definitions & Abbreviations

For the purposes of this document, the terms and definitions given in ISO/IEC 17000, ISO/IEC 17011, ISO 9000 and the following apply.


2.1       Complainant - any party (person or organization) that lodges a complaint.

2.2       Appellant - any Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) which is making an appeal against an adverse decision made by the accreditation body related to its desired accreditation status.

2.3       Dispute - a verbal or written disagreement with a decision made, after pursuing the appeal process.

2.4       Appeals Committee - the Appeals Committee is a committee of the Accreditation Council with a minimum of five (5) members.  This is not a standing committee in membership but its members are appointed by the Chairman of Accreditation Council ensuring that persons are competent and independent of the subject of appeal.

2.5       Complaint – an expression of dissatisfaction, other than appeal, by any person or organization, to the accreditation body, relating to activities of that accreditation body or of an accredited CAB where a response is expected.

2.6       Appeals – request by a conformity assessment body (CAB) for reconsideration of any adverse accreditation decision made by the accreditation body in relation to its desired accreditation status



3.0                 Actions

3.1         Categories of Complaints

3.1.1     Complaint against JANAAC   Complaints against the activities, policies, and/or procedures of JANAAC are handled according to the procedure outlined in Clause 5.2 of this document.    If the complainant is not satisfied that JANAAC’s complaints handling procedure was followed and would like to pursue the matter further, then the complainant has the option to submit a complaint to the Inter American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC)


3.1.2    Complaint against JANAAC-accredited CABs   Complaints against the activities, policies, and/or procedures of a CAB accredited by JANAAC must be raised directly with the CAB by following the CAB’s complaints procedure.   If the complainant is not satisfied that the CAB’s complaints handling procedure was followed, then the complainant may submit a complaint to JANAAC which will be addressed as outlined in Clause 3.2 of this document


3.2         Complaints

3.2.1    JANAAC has established a complaints committee to handle all complaints received. The terms of reference are indicated in JANAAC/DOC 06-10

3.2.2    Upon receipt of a verbal complaint, the Receiving Officer (RO) documents the complaint on a Complaint Form – JANAAC FM 01-01, and requests that the complainant send his/her complaint in writing to JANAAC. The RO then passes the complaint to the chair of the complaints committee.

If the complainant does not choose to confirm the complaint in writing but the complaint can be regarded as justified, the chair of the committee recommends to the CEO, the formulation of a proposal for improvement if such a proposal would be beneficial to JANAAC.

3.2.3    Upon receipt of a written complaint, the chair of the complaints committee completes the appropriate sections of the Complaint Form and attaches the correspondence from the complainant.

3.2.4    The chair of the committee assigns the appropriate reference number to the complaint according to the Procedure for Control of Management System Documents – JANAAC/MSPR/02 and acknowledges receipt of the complaint, indicating the complaint reference number, using JANAAC/FM/01-02.

3.2.5    The committee then review the complaint and confirms the category of the complaint as per Clause 3.1 of this procedure.

3.2.6    If the complaint falls under Clause 3.1.1 of this procedure, or if the complainant has appropriately followed and exhausted the process outlined in Clause 3.1.2 then the committee will review the complaint. Further information and evidence may be requested from the complainant prior to proceeding with investigating the complaint.

3.2.7    JANAAC will obtain the complainant’s written permission to approach the parties associated with the complaint as part of the investigation.

3.2.8    If the complainant does not respond to requests from JANAAC for further information and/or evidence in regard to the complaint, at any time during the process for a period of 3 months, then the complaint is deemed to be closed. 

3.2.9    Where the complaint relates to the activities of a CAB accredited by JANAAC, and the complainant has not raised the complaint directly with the CAB, the complainant is advised in writing to pursue that course of action first.  The committee chair will then close the complaint with a brief explanation noted and no further action by JANAAC is required.

3.2.10     Where the complaint was referred to the accredited CAB but the complainant is not satisfied with the CAB’s response, the complaint can be referred to JANAAC for investigation.

3.2.11     Within ten (10) working days, the committee, investigates the documented complaint through discussions or correspondence with all parties concerned and review of available records, and makes a decision on the actions to be taken to address the complaint.

3.2.12     On conclusion of the investigation, the chair of the committee takes immediate steps to ensure that the particular problem is resolved.  If a nonconformity is raised from the complaint, it is handled according to the Procedure for the Identification and Management of Nonconformities and Corrective Action - JANAAC/MSPR/03.

3.2.13     If there is no nonconformity, but an opportunity for improvement is identified, then the necessary actions are taken and records maintained

3.2.14     The chair of the committee informs the complainant of the progress made within thirty (30) working days of receipt of the complaint, using the form letter JANAAC/FM/01-03, and requests that the complainant submit written confirmation of acceptance.

3.2.15     At the end of the process JANAAC will advise the complainant of the actions taken, using JANAAC/FM/01-04.

3.2.16     If the complainant is dissatisfied with the actions taken, then the matter can be referred to the CEO by the chair of the committee.

3.2.17     The relevant officer files all the related documents with the Complaint Form.  A report is submitted to JANAAC’s Accreditation Council for its management review meeting.

3.2.18     JANAAC will not exercise any discriminatory actions against any of its complainants.

3.2.19     No individual to whom the complaint is related will be involved in the review, approval or decision related to such complaint.


3.3         Monitoring and Measuring Customer Satisfaction

3.3.1    JANAAC recognizes that it needs to get feedback, both positive and negative from its customers.  As a result, JANAAC monitors and measures customer satisfaction by:

a.    identifying customer expectations;

b.    gathering customer satisfaction data;

c.    analyzing customer satisfaction data;

d.    providing feedback for improvement of customer satisfaction;

e.    monitoring customer satisfaction on an ongoing basis.

3.3.2   JANAAC also uses existing (indirect) sources of information on customer satisfaction.  These include:

a.    Frequency or trends in customer complaints,

b.    calls for assistance, and

c.    customer compliments;


3.3.3   Direct sources of information include conducting qualitative or quantitative surveys and results from evaluation of training exercises.


3.4         Appeals by Conformity Assessment Bodies

3.4.1    On receipt of the indication of intention of a CAB to lodge an appeal against a decision made by JANAAC, the appellant is instructed to lodge a written appeal and comprehensive report to the Chairman of the Accreditation Council, copied to the CEO.  On receipt of the report, the CEO attaches it to the appellant’s file

3.4.2    The Accreditation Council considers the validity of the appeal and determines the next course of action.  Where the Council considers the appeal to be valid, an Appeals Committee is constituted, within thirty (30) working days of the appellant’s report, ensuring that impartiality is maintained in the selection of the members as described in the committee’s Terms of Reference – JANAAC/DOC/06-02

3.4.3    A written response is sent to the appellant indicating the actions being taken.

3.4.4    Upon receipt of an invitation from the Chairman of the Appeals Committee, the CEO makes an oral and written presentation to the Committee, on behalf of the accreditation body, including any additional information gathered.  This is done in the presence of the appellant, and any other parties relevant to the case as agreed by the Committee.

3.4.5    The Chairman of the Appeals Committee advises the appellant of the decision(s)/ruling on the case. The appellant is informed of the option of further recourse up to a month after the committee’s decision, if he/she is dissatisfied with the ruling of the committee.

3.4.6    If the appellant agrees with the ruling, the CEO secures a copy of:

a.    the Appeals Committee’s ruling on the case;

b.    any additional presentations made by the appellant and any other relevant party;

c.    the appellant’s signed statement of acceptance re the ruling.  These are attached to a report and submitted to JANAAC’s Accreditation Council for its management review meeting.

Copies of these documents are also placed on the appellant’s file.

3.4.7.   The CEO conducts checks to verify the appellant's compliance with the ruling, documents the findings and places them on the appellant’s file

3.4.8.   Where the appellant expresses non-acceptance of the ruling given by the Appeals Committee, the CEO obtains this in writing from the appellant and places a copy on the appellant’s file.

3.4.9.   All documents, which arise from the appeal process, are attached to a report/update prepared by the CEO and submitted to JANAAC’s Accreditation Council to be considered during the management review meeting.

3.4.10.   The CEO submits a copy of the Appeals Committee’s ruling on the case, along with the appellant's non-acceptance documents to the Accreditation Council, to make representation in court, if necessary.

3.4.11.   Any additional documents, which arise from the case of dispute, are attached to a report/update prepared by the CEO and submitted to the JANAAC Accreditation Council for its management review meeting.

3.4.12.   JANAAC will not exercise any discriminatory actions against any of its appellants.

3.4.13.   Records are retained of all activities associated with the appeal


3.5         Appeals by Committee Members

3.5.1    Where the chairman of any JANAAC committee recommends termination of membership of one of the committee members, the member against whom such recommendation is made may lodge an appeal to the chairman of the Accreditation Council.

3.5.2    Such appeal must be submitted in writing within 30 days of receipt of notification of the termination

3.5.3    The appeal is addressed according to 3.4.2 – 3.4.9 above. No discriminatory actions will be taken by JANAAC.

3.6         Management Review

3.6.1    After submission of a complaint, appeal or dispute report to the JANAAC Accreditation Council, the CEO retrieves the decision(s) made with respect to the report and places a copy on file.  The review is carried out as outlined in the Procedure for Conducting Management Review - JANAAC/MSPR/08.

3.6.2    If any decision(s) made by the accreditation council results in the need for a modification of any part of the management system and its processes/procedures, the change(s) are supervised by the Quality System Manager.

Notice of Transition to
ISO/IEC 17011:2017

    JANAAC is currently in transition to the new ISO/IEC 17011:2017 standard. As such, all our accredited CABs and new applications will be informed in a timely manner of any accreditation requirements which may be affected. Please contact JANAAC for further information or clarifications.

    Notice of Transition to
    ISO/IEC 17025:2017

    ILAC, in consultation with ISO, has agreed on a three-year period for laboratories that demonstrate conformity to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard, to make the transition from ISO/IEC 17025:2005, to the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 version of the standard. A communique has been issued in this regard. JANAAC, in keeping with this communique, requires its accredited laboratories to make this transition by November 30, 2020. After this date, accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025:2005 will no longer be valid. During this transition period, both revisions of the standard are equally valid and applicable. Testing and calibration laboratories may continue to submit applications for accreditation to the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard up to December 31, 2018, in which case, initial assessments must be conducted by March 31, 2019. After December 31, 2018, JANAAC will no longer be accepting applications for ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation. After March 31, 2019, all assessments (initial, re-assessments and interim assessments, including scope extensions) will be conducted using the revised standard, ISO/IEC 17025:2017. If the date of reassessment or interim on-site assessment (surveillance) occurs before Nov 30, 2020, and after December 31, 2018 the laboratory will be assessed against the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standard, in accordance with international practice. All accredited and applicant testing and calibration laboratories are required to purchase a copy of the revised standard at the earliest opportunity and to commence the transition process. Please contact JANAAC for any further information and clarification required.