In line with international best-practice laid out in ISO 10002, the follow steps represent the complaints-handling process for Equal Assurance.
We disclose our process for complaints-handling here on this website. The other primary sources we such processes are disclosed is in our Client Charter, which is available from the downloads page. Requirements in the Client Charter provide confidence in the users of certification that our clients maintain procedures for handling complaints from external sources.
The primary mode for communicating complaints to Equal Assurance is through the use of the Feedback Form, which is available from the downloads page. However, Equal Assurance will receipt a complaint in any form, provided it is in writing. Upon reporting of this feedback, we determine if it is a complaint; and if so, and the complaint is directed at one of our certified clients, the certified client has been given sufficient opportunity to resolve the complaint. The record of the initial complaint should identify the remedy sought by the complainant and any other information necessary for the effective handling of the complaint including the following:
a description of the complaint and relevant supporting data;
the requested remedy;
the products or related organisation practices complained about;
the due date for a response;
data on people, department, branch, organisation and market segment;
any specific requirements for confidentiality (in addition to those already in place at Equal Assurance); and
immediate action taken (if any).
Once the feedback meets this criteria, the complaint is raised internally as a System Improvement Notice (SIN) and, along with supporting information, is given a unique identifier code.
The complaint should be tracked from initial receipt through the entire process until the complainant is satisfied or the final decision is made. An up-to-date status is made available to the complainant upon request and at regular intervals, at least at the time of preset deadlines.
Receipt of each complaint is acknowledged to the complainant immediately (for example via post, phone or e-mail).
After receipt, each complaint is initially assessed in terms of criteria such as severity, safety implication, complexity, impact, and the need and possibility of immediate action. Equal Assurance will determine, together with the client and the complainant, whether and, if so to what extent, the subject of the complaint and its resolution shall be made public.
Every reasonable effort is made to investigate all the relevant circumstances and information surrounding a complaint. The level of investigation is commensurate with the seriousness, frequency of occurrence and severity of the complaint.
Following an appropriate investigation, we will offer a response, including for example how the problem has been resolved and prevented it happening again in the future. If the complaint cannot be immediately resolved, then it shall be dealt with in a manner intended to lead to its effective and timely resolution.
The decision or any action taken regarding the complaint, which is relevant to the complainant or to the personnel involved, is communicated as soon as the decision or action is taken. The decision to be communicated to the complainant is made by, or reviewed and approved by, individual(s) not previously involved in the subject of the complaint.
If the complainant accepts the proposed decision or action, then the decision or action will be carried out and recorded. If the complainant rejects the proposed decision or action, then the complaint shall remain open. This is recorded and the complainant should be informed of alternative forms of internal and external recourse available. Equal Assurance continues to monitor the progress of the complaint until all reasonable internal and external options of recourse are exhausted or the complainant is satisfied to the greatest possible extent.