1.1 Guardian Independent Certification Limited (“GIC”) is a wholly owned subsidiary of GIC Group Pte Ltd, a privately held, limited company, financed through paid-up shares. GIC is an UKAS and JAS-ANZ accredited Certification Body that provides its certification services through a network of representative offices throughout the world.
1.2 All UKAS and JAS-ANZ accredited certification services (“the Services”) delivered are under the management and control of GIC and all certification decisions are made within GIC.
1.3 The Assessment and Certification Regulation (“the Conditions”) is applicable to all clients who will be and / or are certified by Guardian Independent Certification (GIC) through acceptance of the GIC Certification Agreement (“GIC Agreement”) as issued by GIC’s local representative (“GIC Local”) om behalf of GIC.
1.4 GIC offers the Services within the accredited scope granted. The Services provides an independent audit and certification of an applicant’s management system against a recognised and appropriate standard.
1.5 GIC will not be responsible for any liabilities, claims, costs, expense, loss or damage made by certified clients in failing to sustain the management system as a result of any negligent.
2.1 Clients can request for the Services and GIC can accept the application to carry out an assessment of the client organization’s Management System (“the Assessment”). Clients will fill detailed information about the scope of their operations in the questionnaire and return it to GIC Local for GIC’s review on their request for the Services. If GIC accepts the request, GIC Local prepares a quotation for clients’ acceptance. GIC reserves the right to decline any request for the Services and would give the clients the reason for non-acceptance.
2.2 Upon acceptance of the quotation, clients must complete the GIC Agreement form (‘the Form”). The Form serves as the contracting agreement with GIC to provide the Services and if the client’s Management System complies with the Standard specified in the GIC Agreement, to grant certification.
2.3 All correspondence between client and GIC will be directed to and handled through the designated GIC Local, other than matters covered by Clause 14 of the Conditions.
2.4 GIC Local will carry out the appropriate audits to assess that the client’s Management System meets the requirement to the Standard and is achieving continual performance improvement.
3.1 GIC reserves the rights and responsibilities for the Services. These include the rights to grant, refuse, maintain, renew, extend, reduce, suspend, restore and withdraw of certification approval.
3.2 GIC understands the importance of and is committed to impartiality in providing the Services. GIC manages any conflict of interest to ensure objectivity of its management system certification activities.
3.3 GIC will not market or offer the Services as being linked with the activities of an organisation that provides management system consultancy. GIC will take action to correct inappropriate claims by any consultancy organisation stating or implying that certification would be simpler, easier, faster, or less expensive if GIC’s Services are used. GIC will not state or imply that certification would be simpler, easier, faster or less expensive if a specified consultancy organisation is used.
3.4 GIC grants the certification based on its review of the audit findings and conclusions and any other relevant information provided by the audit team after the Assessment. GIC cannot be held liable for any inaccuracies, omissions or errors in the approved certification, audit reports and/or any documents issued to clients by GIC in the performance of the Services.
3.5 The certification granted by GIC does not exempt clients from their legal obligations required of their services or products. Client is solely liable for any defects in their services and products and shall protect and indemnify GIC from any and all claims, costs, expense, loss or damage and liability made by certified clients as a result of their failure to maintain their management systems and /or of any negligent act.
3.6 GIC reserves the right to revise the certification scheme requirement or any normative requirement for certification. GIC would give due notice to clients of any changes and for their compliance with any new requirement.
3.7 GIC shall take appropriate actions with clients to deal with incorrect references to certification status and/or misleading use of certification documents, marks and audit reports. Such actions include requests for correction and corrective actions, suspension, withdrawal of certification, and if necessary, legal action.
3.8 GIC warrants that it, its employee and GIC Local will carry out the Services with the care and skill that may reasonably be expected of an auditor in conducting the Assessment.
3.9 GIC and GIC Local reserve the right to notify the related authority bodies immediately in writing, if any breach of an act or contravention of mandatory country laws and regulations, or the country national authorities’ requirements, being identified during the performance of the services. The certifying client shall initiate appropriate and immediate response to resolve the issue.
3.10 GIC, its employee and GIC Local shall in no circumstances be liable to the client organisation for any cost, losses or charges incurred by the Clients in the event that the performance of the Services and/or GIC’s obligations under the agreement is hindered or is caused to be delayed by any default, act or negligence of the Clients.
3.11 In all other cases, GIC’s aggregate liability to the clients shall not exceed the total of all sums paid to GIC and/or GIC Local by the client for the Services.
4.1 Clients shall be responsible to ensure their management system meets the requirements of the relevant management system standard and appoint a main contact person to liaison with GIC. Clients shall ensure that all documentation provided to GIC does not infringe any copyright, trademarks, licenses and any intellectual property rights of any party.
4.2 Clients have the right to object to the inclusion of any auditor proposed by GIC and/or GIC Local for the performance of the Assessment, on the grounds of competency or possible conflicts of interest.
4.3 Clients shall, with reasonable diligence, co-operate with GIC and/or GIC Local in its provision of the Assessment by providing access to its premises, personnel, documentation required for the proper conduct of the Services. Clients shall obtain necessary consents to facilitate GIC’s auditors’ entry into its premises and to accommodate, where applicable, the presence of observers. Clients shall also ensure a safe and secure working condition on site during the performance of the Assessment. Clients shall inform GIC, GIC Local and its auditors of requirements to comply with any health, safety and security regulations applicable to its premises.
4.4 Clients who are granted certification shall inform GIC and/or GIC Local without delay, of matters that may affect the capability of their management system to continue fulfilling the requirements of the Standard used for certification. These changes/ event include, but not limited to:-
- The legal, commercial, organisational status or ownership;
- Organisation and management, eg. Key managerial, decision –making or technical staff;
- Contact address and sites;
- Scope of operations under the certified management system;
- Major changes to the management system and processes;
- Any fatal incidents, serious injuries, occupational disease or legal action by a regulatory authority.
4.5 Clients who are granted certification shall:-
- Conforms to the requirement of GIC when making references to its certification status in any communication media such as in brochures, the internet, advertising and other documents;
- Not to make or allow any misleading statement regarding its certification and do not use or allow the use of a certification document or any part of it in a misleading manner;
- Not continue its use of all advertising matter that contains a reference to certification if clients’ certification is suspended or withdrawn;
- Amend any communication and /or advertising collaterals when its scope of certification has been reduced;
- Not allow reference to its management system certification to be used to imply that GIC certifies its product, service or process;
- Not imply that the certification applies to activities outside the scope of certification;
- Not use its certification in any manner that brings GIC and its certification system into disrepute and loss of public trust.
4.6 Clients who are granted certification and intend to discontinue their certification shall notify GIC in writing at least two (2) months before the due date of the next surveillance audit.
4.7 Clients shall indemnify GIC against any costs, losses or charges sustained or incurred by the Clients arising from their judgement, decision and/or actions taken on the basis of the information given in the audit report provided and certificate of approval issued by GIC.
5.1 GIC safeguards Clients’ information obtained or created during the performance of the Services.
5.2 GIC may disclose clients’ confidential information to GIC’s employees who need to know in order to provide the Services. GIC may also disclose clients’ confidential information to relevant accreditation body and when ordered to by a court or a governmental or regulatory authority and/or as may be required by law.
5.3 GIC shall undertake to notify the client immediately in verbal and writing if during the performance of the services, any conflict of interest does arise, or appears to arise. GIC shall take such steps as the certifying client shall reasonably require to resolve or to otherwise deal with the issues immediately.
The fees payable for the Services are as follows:-
- Documentation examination fee, if applicable
- Assessment fee for initial assessment and issuance of the certificate
- Reassessment fee, applicable should clients fail the initial assessment
- Surveillance fee for certification maintenance
- The details of the fee are given in the quotation and will remain in force for a period of three (3) years.
- The fees payable will be invoiced accordingly and must be paid prior to its respective assessments.
6.1 Stage 1 Audit
6.1.1 Clients will submit their management system documentation to appointed auditor(s) for preview and to determine the client’s system readiness for stage 2 audit.
6.1.2 Prior to the conduct of stage 1 audit, the appointment of the auditor(s) will be made known to the clients. Clients may object to the inclusion of any auditor proposed on the grounds of competency or possible conflicts of interest.
6.1.3 GIC and/or GIC Local could repeat its stage 1 audit if it determines that clients are not ready to proceed with the Stage 2 audit or the potential major nonconformities are not addressed prior to the scheduled Stage 2 audit. Besides, Stage 1 audit shall be repeated if the gap between Stage 1 and Stage 2 audit exceeded more than 6 months.
Client shall pay the full audit fee for Stage 1 audit irregardless whether the client will continue with the Stage 2 audit. 6.1.4 GIC may amend the agreement with Clients if it determines that adjustments to the stage 2 audit are necessary, eg. Change in scope, sites, audit man-days, auditors. Alternatively, the audit report acknowledged by client will serve as the final certification information.
6.2 Stage 2 Audit
6.2.1 Clients will be given an audit plan prior to the start of the audit. The audit team will meet with the clients’ management to discuss the conduct of the audit and the audit process, including non-conformities, observations and improvement opportunities identified during the audit.
6.2.2 The audit team will prepare an audit report detailing the findings, nature of corrective actions to be taken and the scope of certification to the clients’ management after the audit.
6.2.3 Handling of nonconformities/ corrective action
For nonconformities raised by audit team during the audit, client shall analyse the cause nd describe the specific correction and correctivce actions taken, or plannd to be taken, to eliminate the detected nonconformities, within one month after the last day of the audit for minor nonconformities, otherwise the certification will be affected, i.e. not recommend/ to reaudit. For major nonconformities, client will be given not more than three months from the last day of the audit.
Client shall pay the full audit fee irregardless the outcome of the audit and is obligated to pay additional fee for any incurred revisit.
6.3 Granting or refusing of Certification
6.3.1 GIC will grant Clients its certification when Clients complete all agreed corrective actions and are accepted by the audit team or refuse clients its certification if clients did not complete all agreed corrective actions within reasonable time / are not accepted by the audit team or GIC certification decision team. . The Certificate issued to Clients detail the scope of the management system found compliant at the time of audit. The Certificate and right to use the Registration Mark shall remain the exclusive property of GIC and cannot be sold, lent, licensed or used as an asset of the clients.
6.4 Surveillance audit
GIC performs a minimum of one (1) surveillance audit annually to ensure Clients maintained its management system to meet the requirements of the certification. The surveillance audit program is on-going and is agreed with the Clients in the contracting agreement. Clients would be given reasonable time to complete all agreed corrective actions on non-conformities raised at the surveillance audit. If agreed corrective actions are not closed within reasonable time specified by GIC or are not closed during the next audit, its certification would lead to suspension at the discretion of GIC and could be restored upon satisfactory closure of the corrective actions by the deadline stipulated by GIC. Otherwise, its certification would be withdrawn.
GIC performs a re-certification of clients’ management system every three (3) years after the initial certification. Subject to the satisfactory outcomes of the surveillance audits and the re-certification audit, GIC will grant or refuse the certification to the clients. Clients shall be required to complete the re-certification audit and obtain certification before the expiry date of the current certification to ensure continuity of the certification. 6.6 Observed Visits / Witnessed Audits/ Unscheduled Visits
GIC may be accompanied by a relevant accreditation body and/or a third party observer to witness or observe an Assessment to meet and comply with relevant accreditations, industry and/or other regulatory requirements. GIC shall inform clients in advance of such visits or audits.
Besides, relevant accreditation body may undertake unscheduled visit as deem necessary to client premises and client shall provide such access and cooperation without harassment.
GIC reserves the right to suspend, withdraw, or cancel the certification of clients by giving notice to clients of GIC’s intention. GIC would brief its clients of the intention and will give clients reasonable time to take corrective actions before making the final decision on the action to be taken. GIC reserves the right to publish on its on-line client directory such actions taken. GIC will consider to restore the certification if client has taken correction actions that are deem acceptable.
Suspension of Certification
The certification may be suspended for a limited period of time under the following circumstances:
- No response to the request for corrective action, or corrective action failed to close within the required timeframe;
- Failure to perform the surveillance audits according to the agreed frequency or as required;
- Improper use of the certificate by the client;
- Refuse the access by representative of the accreditation body (see clause 6.6).
GIC or GIC local will notify in writing the official suspension of the certification and client shall immediately cease the use of the certification under suspension. The certification will be restored at the end of the suspension period upon vertification that the conditions of the suspension have been satisfactory addressed; otherwise it will be withdrawn. All costs incurred for the suspension and the subsequent recovery will be bear by the client.
Withdrawal/cancellation of Certification
The certification may be withdrawn/cancelled under the following circumstances:
- Client does not fulfill the conditions of the suspension of certification;
- Client does not fulfill its financial obligations towards GIC or GIC local.
- Client does not wish to renew the certificate or client has ceased operation.
For withdrawal, client will be officially notified in writing and client has the right to appeal under clause 12. GIC or GIC local reserves the right not to refund any payment previously made.
GIC reserves the right to extend or reduce the scope of certification of clients upon undertaking a necessary review and/or any audit activities to decide whether or not the extension may be granted or reduce the scope of certification to exclude the parts not meeting requirements. GIC will notify client on action to be taken and reserves the right to publish on its on-line client directory such actions taken.
The assessed scope may be revised on application to GIC. Simple extensions of scope may be examined during a surveillance visit. More complex extensions may require a special audit visit.
GIC maintains a registry of its certified clients, which list the clients’ name, address(es), certified scope and applicable Standard. The registry is regularly updated. The published information in the registry is made available on GIC’s website to any enquirer.
11.1 Clients will be provided with instructions on the use and application of the GIC’s logo and Accreditation Body Marks (“the Marks”)
11.2 The certificate and right to use the Marks shall remain the exclusive property of GIC and cannot be sold, lent, licensed or used as an asset of the client organization.
11.3 Certified clients shall use the Marks in connection with the scope detail on the certification approvals. The Marks must always be accompanied with the clients’ certificate number and is used only in conjunction with the certified client’s name. Clients must not offer the certified scope from any other address than the address stated on the certificate except on a related site(s).
11.4 The Marks must not be used in any way that would indicate product approvals. The Marks must not be used on a product or product packaging or in any manner that may imply product approvals.
11.5 The Marks shall not be used on laboratory test, calibration or inspection reports.
11.6 For the use of any statement by the certified clients on product packaging (can be removed without the product disintegrating or being damaged is considered as product packaging) or in accompanying information (separately available or easily detachable such as type labels or identification plates is considered as part of the product). The statement shall in no way imply that the product, process or service is certificed by this means. The statement shall include reference to: identification (e.g. brand or name) of the certified client; the type of the management system (e.g. quality, environment) and the applicable standard; and the certification body issuing the certificate.
11.7 Certified clients shall discontinue the use of the Marks found unacceptable by GIC. Any statements deem misleading by GIC shall also be withdrawn promptly by the certified clients.
11.8 If certification are suspended, withdrawn or cancelled, certified clients shall immediately remove the Marks and all references pertaining to the certification.
12.1 Clients who may wish to make a complaint could submit in writing to the GIC management at firstname.lastname@example.org, stating specific details of the nature of the complaint. The GIC management will conduct an internal investigation and conclude its investigation with corrective actions where deem necessary.
12.2 GIC will notify certified clients of any complaint about them that is received from their customers or any other party. GIC would give certified clients reasonable time and opportunity to response to the nature of the complaint raised. GIC will investigate on the compliant and take appropriate actions. If the complaint relates to clients’ certified activities, GIC will examine the effectiveness of clients’ certified management system at the surveillance audits.
12.3 GIC requires certified clients to maintain a Complaints File detailing their customers’ complaints and clients’ responses and corrective actions. GIC’s auditors will review any complaints and customer feedback during the surveillance and/or re-certification audits.
12.4 Clients may appeal any decision and/or actions taken by GIC by submitting in writing, the details to the GIC’s Scheme Manager for escalation actions to the GIC Independent Certification Board (“the ICB”). The ICB shall appoint suitable persons and/or an Appeal Committee to investigate and/or review into the appeals. The ICB shall impose appropriate remedial or conciliatory actions to resolve the appeals. Records of the ICB’s deliberations are noted in the ICB’s minutes.
12.5 The complainants may refer the complaint to accreditation body if they are dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaints handling process.
12.5 If an appeal is raised, clients and GIC Local’s auditors will be called upon to state their case in private with the appointed Appeal Committee. The decision of the Appeal Committee shall be final and shall not be subjected to further appeals.
Failure of either party to perform its obligations under the agreement shall not subject such party to any liability to the other party if such failure is caused or occasioned by an act of God, fire, explosion, flood, drought, war, riot, sabotage, embargo, strikes or other labour unrest, interruption due to the delay in transportation, compliance with any order, regulation or request of any government of competent jurisdiction or any officer, department agency or committee thereof, or by any other event or circumstance of like or different character to the foregoing beyond the control of the party so failing to perform.
14.1 Failure by GIC Local to insist upon strict compliance with any provision thereof shall not be deemed to be a waiver of such provision or any other provision thereof.
14.2 The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision hereof shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision.
14.3 Should clients be dissatisfied with the Services provided, a complaint can be made in the manner as covered in Clause 12. Any complaint will not affect the validity or enforceability of any provision in the Conditions