Terms and Conditions

Definitions:

  • we/us/our –  means BritCert Ltd.
  • organisation –  means an authority/auditee/customer/company/sole trader whom is considering or currently being audited or has undergone certification.
  • audit – means a procedure to determine compliance by sampling and risk assessment of a organisation’s management system with respect to a specific standard (this will include a Surveillance Audit or a Re-certification Audit).
  • certification –  means awarding of a certificate for a term as a result of auditing an organisation’s management system for its compliance with respect to a specific standard.

Clauses:

1.0 Overview of our Terms and Conditions

The clauses detailed in the Terms and Conditions are legally binding between the organisation and BritCert Ltd, they are available to view on our website at www.britcert.co.uk. Quotes issued by us for the purpose of a Certification Audit, Surveillance Audits or Re-certification Audit shall be made with respect to these clauses. They shall not be changed or modified by conditions on purchase orders, order acknowledgements or similar documents. Modifications or waiver to these clauses shall be binding if they are in writing and signed by a Director of BritCert Ltd and an authorized representatives of the organisation concerned.

2.0 About the Certification

Certification and Re-certification is a 36 months cyclic process. It commences with the awarding of a certificate with respect to a specific standard as a result of a satisfactory outcome of a Stage 2 Audit. The date a certificate is awarded is referred to as the certification date and will appear on the certificate. Further dates of 12 +0, – 2 months and 24 +0, -2 months from the certification date, Surveillance Audits will be carried out of the organisations management system with respect to the specific standard. Subject to a satisfactory outcome to a Surveillance Audit the organisations certification shall continue. At a date of 36 +0, -2 months from the certification date a Re-certification Audit shall be carried out. Again, subject to a satisfactory outcome of this audit a new certificate will be issued to the organisation, with the old certificate being withdrawn on its expiry date.

2.1  Where an organisation changes its name whether as a company, authority or sole trader, it shall be solely at the discretion of BritCert Ltd as to whether certification is transferred to the new organisation. We reserve the right to undertake an extraordinary Surveillance Audit or Re-certification Audit prior to us issuing a certificate in the new organisation’s name.

2.2  The audit at an organisation’s facilities shall be attended by an Auditor(s) with the possible addition of a Technical Expert. Where there are more than two Auditors required to attend due to the work load in the specified timeframe, we shall appoint one of the Auditors to be the Auditor – Team Leader. From time to time, we may require an Evaluator Auditor and Auditor-in-training to attend an audit process.

3.0  Applying for Certification

We require the organisation to complete the application form found on our website. They are required to complete all sections in a comprehensive manner, so as to describe the activities in full and standard(s) they require certificating for. This must then be submitted electronically to BritCert Ltd, where we may ask for further clarification as to their activities, location(s) etc. Once we have a sufficient understanding of the organisation’s activities, we will email the applicant either with a quote for auditing or saying that we decline to proceed any further with the application.  We will make it clear to the customer as to why we are declining to quote.

Certification is a two-stage process, the first part referred to as Stage 1 Audit, is a review of the organisation’s management system for the specific standard(s) requiring certification. Subject to a satisfactory outcome of the Stage 1 Audit, a date is then agreed with the organisation for the Stage 2 Audit to be undertaken. It is the responsibility of the organisation to ensure the scope of activities describes accurately the nature of their business. As the scope will appear on the organisation’s certificate.

4.0 Application Fee

Subject to the applicant accepting our quote for auditing, an authorised representative of their organisation will be required to complete and return the quote, thereby accepting our Terms and Conditions, along with our fee in full. Subject to the returned and completed quote being accepted by BritCert, we will then sign it, whereby it shall become the Certification Agreement. A copy of this will be returned to the customer.  We must receive the fee a minimum of 28 days prior to the audit date. Failure to receive the audit fee shall result in the application being suspended. The fee may be sent by bank transfer or by cheque in the post, however we will not progress with the audit until the funds have been cleared in our bank account.

5.0 Audits Postponed or Cancelled

The postponement by the organisation of a Stage 1 Audit, Stage 2 Audit, Surveillance Audit or Re-certification Audit less than 14 days from the agreed date of the audit, will incur an additional 50% charge of the audit fee.

Cancellation of a Stage 1 Audit, Stage 2 Audit, Surveillance Audit or Re-certification Audit will result in fees not being credited or returned to the organisation.

6.0 Confidentiality

We understand the need for complete confidentiality with an organisation’s information whether it has been related to us verbally or in document form. Such information will only be disclosed to a third party with the written consent of the organisation concerned.

7.0 Stage 1 Audit

The organisation undergoing a Stage 1 Audit shall provide facilities for the Auditor to undertake their tasks. This means a desk facility, such that the Auditor can use a laptop computer and to be able to review documents. The Auditor must be able to work in an unhindered manner and must be able to hold discussions with the management’s representative or team. A senior member of the organisation’s management shall attend the opening and closing meetings. When a consultant is present throughout the audit, they shall not unduly have an input to the audit process or influence the audit outcome.

The organisation may raise an objection to the presence of a member of BritCert’s audit personnel. We will duly consider this objection in an attempt to resolve the matter.

A Stage 1 Audit report will be provided to the organisation.

A satisfactory outcome of a Stage 1 Audit is the entry requirement for a Stage 2 Audit.

8.0 Stage 2 Audit

The organisation undergoing a Stage 2 Audit shall provide facilities for the Auditor to undertake their tasks. This means a desk facility, such that the Auditor can use a laptop computer and to be able to review documents. The Auditor must be able to work in an unhindered manner and must be able to hold discussions with the management’s representative or team. A senior member of the organisation’s management shall attend the opening and closing meetings. When a consultant is present throughout the audit, they shall not unduly have an input to the audit process or influence the audit outcome.

The organisation may raise an objection to the presence of a member of BritCert’s audit personnel. We will duly consider this objection in an attempt to resolve the matter.

A Stage 2 Audit report will be provided to the organisation.

9.0 Outcome of the Stage 2 Audit

The audit report will be assessed by us and we will write to the applicant as to our decision to:

(a)  award a certificate to the applicant;
(b) pending the implementation of corrective action as required by the audit report within the time permitted, award a certificate to the applicant;
(c) decline the certification of the applicant without any further involvement on the part of BritCert Ltd.

10.0 BritCert Ltd Certificates, Marks and Replica Devices

The following information shall be visible on a certificate:

(a) the full name and address of the organisation (if a head office and various sites exist, the location of the head office and the respective site shall appear on the certificate);
(b) the scope of activities of the organisation;
(c) the standard(s) that certification is awarded for;
(d) a unique number for each certificate;
(e) the BritCert Ltd assurance mark that certification is awarded for;
(f) BritCert Ltd embossed seal;
(g) the date certification is awarded;
(h) the date certification expires.

10.1 The BritCert Ltd certificate and assurance mark shall be used at all times within our Terms and Conditions. From time to time we may ask to inspect a certificate, which must be complied, with, in the timeframe specified.

The certificate held by the organisation remains the sole property of BritCert Ltd and shall be surrendered if our Terms and Conditions are breached. We will send a letter to the organisation by recorded delivery post informing them as to why we have taking this decision, requiring them to immediately surrender the certificate. We shall also advise them of clause 18, How to Appeal.

In the event of clause 18, How to Appeal being instigated. The findings from the appeal process will be the final outcome.

10.2 An organisation that have currently undergone Suspension of Certification, Cancellation of Certification or have no certification with BritCert Ltd, shall not use the words “BritCert Ltd” (or equivalents) or assurance mark for any purpose whatsoever in connection with or the promotion of their business.

10.3 We are prepared to make unannounced visits to any organisation where we believe our certification, assurance mark or the words “BritCert Ltd” (or equivalents) are misused or not permitted to be used. In the case of a certificated organisation this may result in an additional mid-term surveillance audit, which will be charged at the normal rate.

10.4 We have defined the BritCert assurance mark as comprising the company name of the certification body, namely BritCert Ltd, the BritCert logo, the prefixed reference number of the standard and the type of management system certificated. Our assurance mark shall not physically be used on or adhered to: goods for sale or hire; products; product packaging of any description; machinery; equipment; structures.

10.5  We do not permit the certificated organisation to apply the BritCert assurance mark to a: laboratory test report, laboratory report, technical report, calibration report or inspection report. As this would be misleading to the recipient or reader of the report.

10.6 The organisation that has been awarded certification, shall be permitted to make a statement to the extent that its management system has been certificated, however it shall not imply that its product, process or service is certificated by this means. The statement shall include reference to:

(a) the type of management system, e.g. quality, environmental or health and safety, and the applicable standard;
(b) the name of the certification body issuing the certificate.

10.7 The BritCert assurance mark is permitted to be used by the certificated organisation within the scope of their certification for the following:

(a) stationary;
(b) vehicles;
(c) window stickers;
(d) signs;
(e) promotional goods;
(f) advertising;
(g) corporate clothing;
(h) websites.

10.8 We shall ensure, through legal means if necessary, the certificated organisation:

(a) conforms to our terms and conditions when referring to its certification status when communicating with the media, the worldwide web, advertising brochures or corporate documents;
(b) does not make or allows to be made by others any misleading statements about it certification status;
(c) does not allow any certification documentation e.g. certificates, to be used in a misleading way;
(d) where a certification has been suspended or cancelled its reference in advertising matter shall be discontinued, to our satisfaction;
(e) where the scope of certification has been reduced, we shall require the organisation to demonstrate this has been applied to their advertising matter;
(f) we will not permit a certificated organisation to imply that as a certification body, we certify a product, process or service;
(g) we will not permit a certificated organisation to imply that activities outside of the certificate’s scope are covered;
(h) we will not permit the certificated organisation to carry out an act which in the opinion of the Directors of BritCert Ltd, may damage our reputation or jeopardise our standing as a business.

11.0 Requirements for Continued Certification

11.1 An organisation’s continued certification is dependent on achieving and maintaining all of the following conditions:

(a) a satisfactory outcome to a Surveillance Audit or Re-certification Audit;
(b) payment of BritCert Ltd annual fee in full;
(c) compliance with our Terms and Conditions.

11.2 Certification is also dependent on notifying BritCert Ltd by recorded delivery post within 28 days of any one of the following occurrences:

(a) changes to the legal status of the organisation;
(b) where the company or organisation no longer complies with or exceeds the scope of activities described on its certificate;
(c) changes to the organisation’s representative or key decision making personnel;
(d) major changes to the management system and processes;
(e) changes to the contact addresses for the head office or site(s) referred to on a certificate.

12.0 Surveillance Audits

The organisation shall undergo a Surveillance Audit at 12+0, -2  months and 24+0-2 months from the date of awarding certification. The organisation shall provide facilities for the Auditor to undertake their tasks. This means a desk facility, such that the auditor can use a laptop computer and to be able to review documents. The Auditor must be able to work in an unhindered manner and must be able to hold discussions with the management’s representative or team. A senior member of the organisation’s management shall attend the opening and closing meetings. When a consultant is present throughout the audit, they shall not unduly have an input to the audit process or influence the audit outcome.

The organisation may raise an objection to the presence of a member of BritCert’s audit personnel. We will duly consider this objection in an attempt to resolve the matter.

A Surveillance Audit report will be provided to the organisation.

13.0 Outcome to a Surveillance Audit

The audit report will be assessed by us and we will write to the organisation as to our decision to:

(a) continue to certificate the organisation;
(b) pending the implementation of corrective action as required by the audit report within the time permitted, continue to certificate the organisation;
(c) suspend certification of the organisation.

14.0 Re-certification Audits

The organisation shall undergo a Re-certification Audit at 36+0-2 months from the date of awarding certification. The organisation shall provide facilities for the Auditor to undertake their tasks. This means a desk facility, such that the auditor can use a laptop computer and to be able to review documents. The Auditor must be able to work in an unhindered manner and must be able to hold discussions with the management’s representative or team. A senior member of the organisation’s management shall attend the opening and closing meetings. When a consultant is present throughout the audit, they shall not unduly have an input to the audit process or influence the audit outcome.

The organisation may raise an objection to the presence of a member of BritCert’s audit personnel. We will duly consider this objection in an attempt to resolve the matter.

A Re-certification Audit report will be provided to the organisation.

15.0 Outcome to a Re-certification Audit

The audit report will be assessed by us and we will write to the organisation as to our decision to:

(a) continue to certificate the organisation by means of issuing a new certificate.  The new certificate will be issued with the Re-certification date taking the expiry date of the previous certificate, thereby ensuring a continuity of cover. The Re-certification date shall not be set before the expiry date, as this would allow two certificates with identical scopes to be in circulation;
(b) pending the implementation of corrective action as required by the audit report within the time permitted, issue a new certificate to the organisation;
(c) not continue to certificate the organisation’s management system, thereby allowing the current certificate to expire. The expired certificate shall be surrendered to BritCert Ltd.

16.0 Where an Audit Application or a Certification is Suspended
We may suspend an audit application or a certification an organisation holds for a number of reasons, these may include the following:

(a) where we have been asked in writing by the organisation’s authorised representative, to do so;
(b) where we have been refused access for a Surveillance Audit or Re-certification Audit;
(c) where a Surveillance Audit or Re-certification Audit has not taken place, as a result of BritCert Ltd not receiving their fee;
(d) where we have not received the audit application fee a minimum of 28 days prior to the audit date;
(e) where the organisation has seriously and persistently failed in the routine requirements and maintenance of their management system;
(f) where the organisation has deviated from the scope of certification to such an extent that we believe the current certificate is no longer valid;
(g) where the organisation has shown some deviation from the scope of certification and omitted to notify us within the 28 days of the occurrence;
(h) where a customer does not comply with our Terms and Conditions to such an extent that we believe that certification is no longer valid;
(i) changes to the legal status of the organisation.

16.1 We will send a letter to the organisation by recorded delivery post, informing them of our intended action to suspend an audit application or certification an organisation holds and the date this will become effective. We will also give the reason(s) as to why this is due to take place, requiring surrender of the relevant certificate. We will also advise of clause 18, How to Appeal. A period of twenty one days from the date of sending the recorded delivery post will be given for the organisation to implement this clause.

16.2 Where clause 18, How to Appeal has been implemented, the following shall apply:

(a) the outcome to the appeal shall be binding on both parties;
(b) BritCert Ltd will not make a monetary payment to the organisation as a result of claims resulting from the Suspension of Certification or related matters;
(c) clause 19, How to Make a Complaint, will not be instigated.

16.3 Where the appeals procedure has not been implemented, the organisation’s Suspension of audit application or Certification shall then take place. We may name the organisation that has undergone Suspension of Certification on our website. We will endeavour to liaise with the customer as to how the Suspension of Certification can be resolved, within an agreed timeframe. Our efforts may result in charging an additional fee for work incurred, not to mention the payment for a Surveillance Audit or Re-certification Audit

16.4 Failure of the organisation to resolve Suspension of Certification within the timeframe agreed, that is to regain compliance, may result in clause 17, Cancellation of Certification being implemented with the complete withdrawal of the related certificate.

17.0 Cancellation of Certification

We shall undertake a cancellation of an organisation’s certification for any one of the following reasons:

(a) where we have been asked in writing by the organisation’s authorised representative, to do so;
(b) a major breach of the organisation’s certification that we believe cannot be resolved;
(c) a major breach by the organisation of our Terms and Conditions that we believe cannot be resolved;
(d) where we have received a serious complaint appertaining to an organisation’s certification and subject to our investigations, we believe the matter cannot be resolved;
(e) changes to the legal status of the organisation that we believe Cancellation of Certification to be the appropriate measure;
(f) the organisation carries out an act which in the option of the Directors of BritCert Ltd may damage our reputation or jeopardise our standing as a business.

17.1 We will send a letter to the organisation by recorded delivery post, informing them of our intended action to cancel certification for a specified standard and the date it will become effective. We will also give the reason(s) as to why this is due to take place, requiring surrender of the relative certificate. We will also advise of clause 18, How to Appeal. A period of twenty one days from the date of sending the recorded delivery post will be given for the organisation to implement this clause.

17.2 Where the organisation’s agrees to implement a programme of corrective action, Cancellation of Certification shall not take place, but instead clause 16, Where a Certificate is Suspended is adopted. We will send a letter to the organisation by recorded delivery post informing them of the date of our action to suspend certification for a specified standard. We will also give the reason(s) as to why suspension is due to take place. A timetable for the corrective action shall be agreed with the organisation. Failure of the organisation to achieve certification compliance by means of an audit within the agreed timetable, may result in BritCert Ltd cancelling certification.

17.3 Where clause 18, How to Appeal has been implemented, the following shall apply:

(a) the outcome to the appeal shall be binding on both parties;
(b) BritCert Ltd will not make a monetary payment to the organisation as a result of claims resulting from the Cancellation of Certification or related matters;
(c) clause 19, How to Make a Complaint, will not be instigated.

17.4 Where clause 18, How to Appeal has not been implemented, the organisation’s Cancellation of Certification shall then take place. We may name the organisation that has undergone Cancellation of Certification on our website.

18.0 How to Appeal

An organisation shall have the right to launch an appeal to a decision made by BritCert Ltd with respect to the organisation, which it feels to be unfair or inappropriate.

The appeals process shall proceed as follow:

(a) The organisation concerned shall formally write to BritCert Ltd identifying the decision they disagree with, and providing a comprehensive explanation as to why this is so. The letter shall be signed by an authorised representative of the organisation and preferably posted to BritCert Ltd by recorded delivery post;
(b) On receipt of the letter, we will inform the organisation that we will look into the matter and give them an anticipated date for our response. It may be that we will ask the organisation to clarify their concerns, hence our anticipated date to respond may be extended;
(c) From within BritCert Ltd, a suitably experienced person who has had no contact with the organisation in question for a period of 12 months, will be instructed to report on the appeal matter;
(d) Where the anticipated date for our response may be exceeded, we will inform the organisation with a new date. It is always our endeavour to keep the organisation making the appeal up-to-date as to how the matter is proceeding;
(e) The report into the appeal will be sent to our Scrutinising Panel, where their job is to ensure integrity and fairness has been applied to investigating the appeal;
(f) Subject to the satisfaction of the Scrutinising Panel, the report will be sent to a Director of BritCert Ltd, who will in turn write to the organisation’s authorised representative informing them as to the appeal’s outcome. The letter shall be sent by recorded delivery post;
(g) The outcome to the appeal’s process is final and shall be binding on both parties. The outcome to the appeal’s process shall not be subject to the clause 19, How to make a Complaint;
(h) Where the outcome to the appeal requires a decision previously made by BritCert Ltd to be amended, a date will be mutually agreed with the organisation for the work to be completed and the appeal closed.

19.0 How to make a Complaint

An organisation wishing to make a complaint, should do it preferably in writing and sent by recorded delivery post for the attention of a Director of BritCert Ltd. The organisation making the complaint shall be written to, acknowledging our receipt of the complaint and provided with an anticipated date for our response. All complaints received by us shall be dealt with integrity and fairness.

20.0 In the event of Force Majeure

BritCert Ltd shall not be held liable where it is prevented from carrying out its duties and contractual obligations if matters become outside its control and they could not have been reasonably foreseen.

21.0 Choice of Language
Quotes, audit reports, certificates and general correspondence with organisations shall be written and conducted in English, unless there is an agreement in place with BritCert Ltd for another language to be used.

22.0 Law and Jurisdiction
English law and the courts of England shall apply irrevocably to all contractual matters.

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