POLICY ON GRANTING, REFUSAL, MAINTAINING, RENEWAL, SUSPENSION, WITHDRAWAL, CANCELLATION, EXPANSION & REDUCTION OF SCOPE OF CERTIFICATION
Certification is granted to organizations that have demonstrated conformity to the criteria for certification. Process of achieving SON-MSC certification is provided in route to achieving certification and terms & conditions which are publicly available on SON website.
SON-MSC conducts a review of every application received to determine capability to undertake the conformity assessment activity applied for. Where it is determined that the SON-MSC can or does not have either the competence or the resources to undertake the activity, application is rejected and the Client accordingly informed
Certification is maintained through surveillance audits, recertification audits and special audits.
If an organization has not scheduled their audit by the required due date after certification, client is sent a warning letter with a deadline. This is succeeded by a suspension letter where there is no acknowledgment of warning and case will be treated in accordance with Clause of suspension & withdrawal.
Note: The six-month suspension period may be cut short in some situations, e.g. due to certificate expiration falling before the end of the six-month suspension period.
If the required audit is not scheduled and conducted because the client is seeking to transfer to another certification body, SON-MSC will not suspend the certificate in an effort to facilitate the transfer process as long as there is evidence demonstrating that the requirement to have one audit per calendar year can be met.
If the client expresses a desire not to continue certification but requests to keep the certificate active for as long as permitted by requirements, the one audit per calendar year requirement must still be met. If the calendar year has ended and the client has not conducted an audit, the certificate will be cancelled at the end of that calendar year, prior to the actual certificate expiration date.
Renewal of certification is done after the recertification decision the process of which is described above. This is done after the three year certification period.
SUSPENSION OF CERTIFICATE
A Certificate may be suspended by SON-MSC for a limited period in cases such as the following:
- If Corrective Action Requests have not been satisfactorily complied with, within the designated time limit;
- If a case of misuse of the Certificate, is not corrected by suitable retractions or other appropriate remedial measures by the Certificate holder;
- Nonpayment of charges to SON
- The client does not allow surveillance or recertification audit to be carried out at the required frequencies or schedule
- Any other contravention of the SON certification Terms and Conditions.
- The client requests for suspension.
SON-MSC will confirm in writing to the Certificate holder the possibility of suspension of a Certificate. If the reasons for suspension are not eliminated within the specified time, SON-MSC shall notify the certificate holder of suspension in writing. At the same time, SON-MSC shall indicate under which conditions the suspension will be removed. At the end of the suspension period, an investigation will be carried out to determine whether the indicated conditions for reinstating the Certificate have been fulfilled.
Suspension shall not exceed 6 months in any case.
Under suspension the certification is temporarily invalid.
To restore any suspension, client must fulfill suspension conditions, then suspension shall be lifted and the Certificate holder notified of the Certificate reinstatement. If the conditions are not fulfilled the Certificate shall be withdrawn.
WITHDRAWAL OF CERTIFICATE
SON-MSC may withdraw a Certification and recall the Certificate for any of the following reasons:
- When the conditions for suspension have not been removed within the specified time period,
- If a surveillance audit reveals that nonconformities to the requirements are of a serious nature requiring immediate withdrawal as determined by the Certification Decision Committee,
- When formally requested by the Client,
- If the Client no longer supplies the product, process, or services for which they are registered and revision of the scope of certification is not possible,
- If the Certified Organization does not or cannot ensure conformance to new requirements when system requirements are changed, and/or
- If the Client fails to meet any other provisions of the contract between SON-MSC and the Certified Organization.
- If certification period has ended and the client has not renewed the certification is automatically terminated.
- Any certificate withdrawn is treated as a fresh applicant.
A certified Organisation may appeal to SON any decision to suspend or withdraw certification. Appeals are subject to the appeals procedure of SON. In any of these cases, SON has the right to withdraw the certificate by informing the Certificate holder in writing. SON may publish at its discretion details of all suspended, cancelled or withdrawn certificates without prior notice as it sees fit. In cases of withdrawal there is no reimbursement of assessment charges paid.
CANCELLATION OF CERTIFICATE
A certificate will be cancelled if the certificate holder advises SON-MSC in writing that it does not wish to renew the Certificate, no longer exists or no longer offers the product, process or service. In case of cancellation, no reimbursement of assessment fees shall be made by SON-MSC.
The SON-MSC shall, in response to an application for expanding the scope of a certification already granted, undertake a review of the application and determine any audit activities necessary to decide whether or not the extension may be granted. This is conducted in conjunction with a surveillance audit limited audit (special audit)
SON-MSC shall reduce the clients’ scope of certification to exclude the parts not meeting the requirements of “Normative standard” where the client persistently or seriously fails to meet the certification for those parts of the scope of certification.
The client may also request for reduction of scope due to changes in the organization
The decision to reduce the scope may be made following a surveillance, recertification or special audit
The decision to reduce the scope shall be communicated in writing
SON-MSC will withdraw the certification documents for the original certification and issue new documents for the reduced scope with the same validity as previous certificate.