RULES OF CERTIFICATION

INTRODUCTION

These Rules of Certification have been developed in accordance with the policies and procedures and they apply to TQCSI Certification Private Limited, its auditors, technical specialists and employees, applicants as clients, clients who have achieved certification and relevant stakeholders. TQCSI Certification Private Limited is referred hereunder as ‘TQCSI’.

Note: The latest copy/revision will supersede the previous copy/revision.

SCOPE

TQCSI provides independent, third party auditing and certification of management systems operated by organisations seeking compliance to various International and other Standards, including ISO 9001 (QMS).

LEGAL STATUS

TQCSI, a proprietary company registered in Singapore, is an independently owned and managed certification of management systems.

CONFIDENTIALITY

TQCSI is responsible for ensuring confidentiality is maintained by its employees, auditors and technical specialists relevant to any information with which they become acquainted as a result of their contact with clients involved in the certification process. Each employee, auditor and technical specialist is required to sign and conform to a Confidentiality Agreement which assures the confidentiality of client information at all times.

GENERAL CONDITIONS

The basic conditions and requirements for obtaining and maintaining certification, which each client must agree to and comply with, are as follows:

  • The client will comply with the requirements of the relevant Standard, the requirements outlined in this document and the relevant Trade Mark Licence Agreement or Certification Contract.
  • The client is to ensure that all necessary information is made available to TQCSI auditors to complete the certification audit.
  • The frequency of all audits is to be determined by assessment of the risk and technical factors pertaining to the certification. TQCSI reserves the right to increase the frequency of auditing if the relevant management system is considered to be nonconforming such that continued certification cannot be assured.
  • TQCSI may conduct short notice or unannounced audits to investigate complaints, in response to changes or as follow up on suspended clients.
  • If TQCSI is not satisfied that all requirements for certification are being met, the client will be informed of those relevant areas requiring attention.
  • TQCSI will re-assess only the necessary parts of the System in order to review remedial action taken as a result of previously identified major non-conformances
  • TQCSI may suspend certification if the client fails to take sufficient corrective action to close or downgrade a major nonconformance within three months of identification or any other period of time determined by TQCSI based on the associated risk.  Certification may then be withdrawn if the major nonconformance is not closed or downgraded following that period.
  • A surveillance audit is to be conducted within 12 months of initial certification and then at least once per calendar year or more frequently depending on the maturity of the System and size of the operation.
  • A re-assessment of the client’s System, known as a Triennial Audit/Re-certification Audit, is to be conducted during the third year of the certification cycle and before expiry of certification.  It is to follow the same format as the initial Stage 2 Audit.  The validity of a certificate cannot be extended as a result of a partial re-assessment.
  • Except in exceptional circumstances (eg a division of a multi-national company which operates as a complete business unit itself), the entire business of the client, including all departments and sites, are to be covered under the scope of certification.
  • Certification is to apply only to the sites within the scope of certification as agreed between TQCSI and the client and as stated on the Certificate of Registration or Schedule of Registration.  This scope is to be the subject of the Trade Mark Licence Agreement or Certification Contract between the respective client and TQCSI.
  • A request for an extension to scope of certification or an upgrade to another Standard may, at the discretion of TQCSI, require an additional review of documentation or additional audit time to assess compliance to the relevant Standard.
  • TQCSI reserves the right to revise the requirements of certification within the period of validity of the certificate.
  • The client is required to maintain a register of complaints which may be audited by TQCSI.  Each complaint received must be investigated and corrective action taken, where considered appropriate.
  • The client is expected to internally audit the management system once per calendar year and not more than 18 months following the previous internal audit.  It may be conducted by a second party who is appropriately qualified and independent of the organisation.
  • The client is expected to conduct a review of the management system by senior management once per calendar year and not more than 18 months following the previous management review.
  • For clients accredited to the National Safety & Quality Health Service Standards, TQCSI reserves the right to release audit findings and relevant information to the respective Regulator and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, including notification when a significant patient risk is identified.
  • The client is to inform TQCSI immediately of any changes which may affect the management system fulfilling requirements of the respective Standard, including changes in key staff and ownership, contact addresses, including any multiple sites, any major changes to products or manufacturing processes, or extension to the scope of its certification. TQCSI will determine the action required to maintain confidence that the management system meets the requirements of the Standard or, in the case of an extension to scope, will decide whether or not extension may be granted. 
  • The issue of a Certificate of Registration in no way implies that the client’s product or service is approved by SAC or any government department.
  • The client is to inform TQCSI within three working days of any significant event that may affect the fulfilment of the respective management system.  A significant event may include legal proceedings, a legal notice of required action from a government authority for a breach of legislation or regulations. It may also include events which may not necessarily be a breach of legislation or regulations but are considered significant. TQCSI will then investigate and take appropriate steps to ensure the integrity of certification is maintained.
  • At Surveillance and Triennial Audits, the client is to inform TQCSI auditors of any significant events that may have occurred since the previous audit, including any findings by another party related to the respective management system.
  • The client is not to use its certification in a manner likely to bring TQCSI into disrepute or make any statement regarding its certification which TQCSI may consider misleading or unauthorised.
  • The client is to have procedures that ensure information supplied by TQCSI is kept up-to-date.
  • Auditors may occasionally be accompanied by TQCSI or SAC assessors for monitoring of TQCSI processes.  This will not incur any cost to the client nor impede the scheduled audit in any manner.

AUDIT CRITERIA

The audit criteria is the management system standard(s) applicable to the client’s certification and the defined processes and documentation of the management system developed by the client.

AUDIT OBJECTIVES

The audit objectives are to:

  • evaluate conformance with the audit criteria described above;
  • determination of the ability of the client’s management system to ensure that the client meets applicable statutory, regulatory and contractual requirements;
  • determination of the effectiveness of the management system to ensure the client organisation is continually meeting its specified objectives; and
  • identify applicable areas for potential improvement of the management system.

CERTIFICATION MARK

The TQCSI Certification Mark is only to be used in reference to the site for which it applies and is not to be affixed directly to the product, product packaging, including outer packaging, or be used in such a way that product certification may be implied such as laboratory test, calibration or inspection reports , as such reports are deemed to be products in this context. This applies equally to the SAC Accreditation Mark.

Clients may choose to use a statement on product packaging or in accompanying information to state they have a certified management system, however the statement may not imply that the product, process or service is certified. If a statement is applied it must reference the client’s name, the type of management system, the applicable Standard and the Certification Body issuing the certificate.

Use of the relevant TQCSI Certification Mark is encouraged on stationery, literature and publicity material.  Similarly, the SAC Accreditation Mark may be used by clients once certified for programs for which TQCSI is accredited, but only when it is accompanied by the TQCSI Certification Mark. When both Marks are used, they are to be proportioned such that neither Mark takes precedence over the other.  When using the TQCSI Certification Mark on letterhead, stationery, literature or publicity material, it is to be accompanied by the Registration Number and Standard to which certification applies. The TQCSI Certification Mark, SAC Accreditation Mark are available through the local TQCSI Office. 

The TQCSI and SAC Marks may be reproduced in a single colour to conform with existing company stationery or newspaper and magazine article colouring, however, it cannot be reproduced in a combination of colours from that specified by TQCSI.  The Mark must also be reproduced clearly and legibly, and is not to be used in any misleading manner.

Clients of TQCSI are not permitted use of the IAF MLA Mark.

FEES

The client is to pay all fees in accordance with the terms of payment as printed on the respective invoices within 7 days of receipt.

Cancellation or amendment to audit dates within two weeks of the scheduled date may incur a fee equivalent to 50% of the auditing cost.  Cancellation or amendment to audit dates within two days of the scheduled date may incur a fee equivalent to 100% of the auditing cost.  Certification may be suspended or cancelled if audits are not carried out within time frames determined by TQCSI.

ASSESSMENT SCHEME

The client has to establish, implement and maintain the documented Management System. The next stage is carried out assessment against the respective standard.

Stage 1 audit

A preliminary audit to review the management system documentation against the relevant Standard(s), ensure the correct scope of certification is known so that an appropriately experienced audit team can be allocated and assess readiness for the Stage 2 Audit.

Stage 2 audit

An audit to assess compliance with the relevant Standard(s) in order to recommend certification. Also known as the Certification or System Audit, the audit team will ensure the processes within the Company comply with the relevant Standard(s) and the Company’s management system.

Surveillance audit

An audit conducted to ensure on going compliance with the relevant Standard(s).  It is usually conducted six or 12 monthly but must conducted at least annually from the last day of the stage 2 audit.

Triennial audit / Re-certification audit

An audit to re-assess compliance with the relevant Standard(s) in order to recommend re-certification. Also known as a Triennial / Re-certification Audit, the audit must be conducted before expiry of the previous Certificate. Triennial audit is carried out every 3 years.

Follow-up audit

A special audit to revisit and, typically, verify that corrective action has been taken to address a major non-conformance. If require to change the scope of certification at any time, the relevant Lead Auditor needs to verify the new activities.  Normally, this will not require additional audit duration unless there are more employees involved.  However, to verify the new scope, normally the Lead Auditor will need to visit the client.  Consequently, change to the scope of certification is normally approved at the next Surveillance Audit.  However, it can be approved before then if the client requires.  The length of the visit is not important, as long as the Lead Auditor can justify the change in an email (full Audit Report not required).  It is also possible for the Lead Auditor to verify the extension of scope without a visit as long as the processes were audited last audit.

Extension to scope

Extension to the scope of a certification already granted, review of the application and determine any audit activities necessary to decide whether or not the extension may be granted. The relevant Lead Auditor needs to verify the new activities and normally, this will not require additional audit duration unless there are more employees involved. However, to verify the new scope, normally the Lead Auditor will need to visit the client and to conduct in conjunction with a surveillance audit. Consequently, change to the scope of certification is normally approved at the next Surveillance Audit. It is also possible for the Lead Auditor to verify the extension of scope without a visit as long as the processes were audited last audit.

Reducing the scope 

Client’s scope of certification shall be reduced to exclude the parts not meeting the requirements, when the client has persistently or seriously failed to meet the certification requirements for those parts of the scope of certification. Any such reduction shall be in line with the requirements of the standards used for certification. 

Short-notice audit  

It may be necessary to make known in advance to the certified clients the conditions under which these short notice visits are to be conducted as to investigate complaints or in response to changes or as follow up on suspended clients. Additional care requires to exercise in the assignment of the audit team because of the lack of opportunity for the client to object to audit team members. If any objection from the client, a reassigning the audit team may be necessary if client has valid reason for their objection of audit team. The applicant shall be informed on the assessment findings on conformity in the form of audit report.

SUSPENSION OF CERTIFICATION

TQCSI reserves the right to suspend a Certificate of Registration for a limited period if:

  • surveillance audits have not been undertaken within three months following the anniversary of the respective certification expiry date;
  • nonconformances or other identified issues have not been closed out within the designated time period;
  • the Certificate of Registration, TQCSI Certification Mark or SAC Accreditation Mark are used in a misleading manner; or
  • there has been any other contravention of these TQCSI Rules of Certification.

During the suspension period, the client shall not identify as certified for their scope and no certificate shall be issued. The suspension period should not exceed 6 months.
If certification is suspended, the client shall immediately cease use of the TQCSI and SAC Marks on all stationery, literature and publicity material.

This does not imply that the certification applies to activities that are outside the scope of certification.
TQCSI will notify the client in writing of the suspension and issue requirements to be satisfied prior to the removal of suspension.  At the end of the suspension period, an investigation is to be conducted to ascertain whether requirements have been met.  If they have been met, the client will be informed in writing and the suspension removed; if they have not been met, the Certificate of Registration may be withdrawn and certification cancelled.  Any costs incurred by TQCSI in the suspension or removal of suspension is to be met by the client and the suspension may be published by TQCSI.

RESTORING CERTIFICATION

Companies may apply for restoration of certification following suspension or cancellation within three month and this may be granted by CAP when all criteria for certification are complied with. For periods greater than three months, the client will be required to undergo a Triennial Audit and, for periods greater than six months, a full System Audit (Stage 1 and Stage 2 Audits).

REFUSING CERTIFICATION

TQCSI may refuse application for certification or issue any certificate or other document verifying compliances with any law, standard, rule or scheme, if in its reasonable opinion the client does not comply with any of its obligations under the contract, or uses the certificate of approval in such a manner that may be misleading or that may bring TQCSI into disrepute.

CANCELLATION OF CERTIFICATION

TQCSI reserves the right to cancel certification and withdraw a Certificate of Registration if:

  • a surveillance audit has not been undertaken in a calendar year or the triennial audit for recertification has not been undertaken before certification expiry,
  • inadequate measures are taken by the client following suspension, or
  • the client fails to comply with its financial obligations in regard to its certification.

If certification is cancelled, the client shall immediately cease use of the TQCSI and SAC Marks on all stationery, literature and publicity material.  Similarly, the Certificate of Registration is to be returned to TQCSI or destroyed within 30 days of notification.

The client is to be informed when certification is cancelled and advised of the right of appeal.  No reimbursement of fees will be given and the cancellation may be published by TQCSI.

TQCSI is to cancel a Certificate of Registration at the client’s request if:

  • the client does not desire to renew its certification, or
  • the client goes out of business or ceases to operate within the full scope of the certification.

No reimbursement of fees will be given and the cancellation may be published by TQCSI.

COMPLAINTS

Should any client or other stakeholder have cause for complaint regarding the conduct of TQCSI auditors, technical specialists or employees, the process of certification or for any other reason, the complaint should be made in writing and addressed to:
General Manager
TQCSI Certification Private Limited
50 Serangoon North Avenue 4
#07-13 First Centre
Singapore 555856
or by email to info@tqcsi.com.  All such complaints will be recorded, investigated, acted upon, where necessary, and the client advised with progress report and the outcome in writing. Formal notice of the end of the complaints handling process to the client will be made. If the client does not believe the complaint is satisfied, they may appeal to the TQCSI Advisory Board.

APPEALS

Appeals resulting from a complaint (described above) or a decision on certification must be made in writing to the General Manager or by email to info@tqcsi.com.sg.  If the appeal is in relation to a suspension or cancellation of certification, it must be made within 14 days of being advised of the respective action.  The appeal must include all known and pertinent facts of the case. 

The General Manager or an appropriate qualified employee delegated to resolve with the appellant in a constructive and timely manner. The appellant will be informed in writing of the results of the appeal.  If the appellant remains dissatisfied then a further appeal may be made directly to TQCSI International, Quality House 117A Tapleys Hill Road, Hendon SA 5014 Australia.

In instances where the appeal was upheld and the client is reinstated with certification, no claim may be made against TQCSI for reimbursement of costs or losses associated with the action taken.

LIST OF CERTIFIED ORGANISATIONS

TQCSI will maintain a register of all clients who have achieved certification and maintain that certification through TQCSI. This register, known as the List of Certified Organisations, will be made available to the public through the TQCSI website (www.tqcsi.com.sg). 

INDEPENDENCE OF OPERATIONS

TQCSI is to conduct its operations separately and at arm’s length from any other company associated with management system consultancy.  Separate procedures have been established to ensure there is no conflict of interest in an auditor’s assessment and the certification approval process.


 

 
     
 

Browse our website for more information about TQCSI Certification Private Limited. If you have any questions of would like to speak with a TQCSI Certification Private Limited representative regarding our services:

Please email us at info@tqcsi.com.sg or call us at (65) 6659 1463.