These Codes of Practice have been written in accordance with the requirements of the Accreditation Bodies, under whose approval ACS Registrars Ltd currently operate. ACS Registrars Ltd complies with all Codes of Practices applicable to the Accreditation Bodies requirements and the standards for which it offers certification.
- ACS Registrars Ltd refers to the ACS Registrars Group of Companies.
- The Company refers to the Applicant/Certified Client of ACS Registrars Ltd.
ACS Registrars Ltd independently assesses, and provides registration to Companies for their Management Systems, operating against the requirements of the following internationally recognised Management System Standards:
- Quality Management – ISO 9000 Series of Standards (QMS)
- Environmental Management – ISO 14001: 2004 (EMS)
- Information Security Management – ISO 27001:2013 (ISMS)
- Occupational Health and Safety – OHSAS 18001 (OHSAS)
- Food Safety Management Systems – ISO 22000:2005 (FSMS)
- Safe Working of Vehicle Breakdown and Recovery Operators – PAS 43/NHSS 17 and 17b
- International Rope Access Trade Association – IRATA
ACS Registrars Ltd is responsible for ensuring that confidentiality is maintained at all levels of its organisation, concerning information obtained in the course of the Company’s Certification.
Where information is required to be disclosed to a third party, either by law or in maintenance of certification (e.g. Accreditation Bodies), the Company shall be informed of the information provided as permitted by the law.
A copy of the ACS Registrars Ltd Organisation Chart, showing the responsibilities and the reporting structure of the company, including documentation identifying the legal status of ACS Registrars Ltd, is available upon request.
5. General Conditions
In order to acquire and retain certification with ACS Registrars Ltd, the Company shall agree to, and comply with, the following rules:
- The Company shall ensure that ACS Registrars Ltd are provided with the name and contact details for the nominated Management Representative, who has authority and responsibility for maintaining the Company’s Management System. The nominated Management Representative shall be required to maintain contact with ACS Registrars Ltd and any changes to this nominated Management Representative must be formally confirmed to ACS Registrars Ltd in writing.
- The Company shall ensure that all required records deemed necessary to demonstrate implementation and operation of the appropriate Management System are made readily available for the audit, in order to complete the assessment programme.
- ACS Registrars Ltd, if not satisfied that all of the Certification requirements have been met, shall inform the Company of those areas in which the application for Certification has failed.
- When the Company can show that remedial Corrective/Preventative Action has been taken, within the time limit specified by ACS Registrars Ltd to meet all the requirements, ACS Registrars Ltd shall arrange, at additional cost to the Company, to repeat the necessary parts of the assessment unless this may be verified effectively off site.
- If the Company fails to take remedial Corrective/Preventative Action, within the time limit specified by ACS Registrars Ltd, it may be necessary for ACS Registrars Ltd (at extra cost to the Company) to repeat the audit in full.
- Any Certificate of Registration issued shall relate only to the Company site or sites assessed, the Scope and Standard of the Company’s Registration shall be stated on the Certificate.
- Fees are due upon receipt of invoice. Registration Certificates shall not be issued, following initial and re-audits, unless all fees have been paid in full. Fees received later than 90 days after issue of an invoice shall have the Certificate validation period reduced to 1 year and the Company shall be charged an additional fee for future audits of £50 + vat, unless paid within 60 days from issue of the invoice. Additionally, the Company’s Registration may be Suspended or Withdrawn if Surveillance fees are not paid in full.
- Surveillance Audits of the Company by ACS Registrars Ltd are necessary to allow the continued Registration, in line with the planned arrangements stated within the Proposal and Contract. The Company shall allow ACS Registrars Ltd the right of access for Surveillance Audits, whenever deemed necessary.
- ACS Registrars Ltd shall reserve the right to make unannounced visits as required.
- Management Reviews and Internal Audits are required to be conducted at least once per year, by all Companies Certified by ACS Registrars Ltd.
- All Companies Certified by ACS Registrars Ltd shall maintain a register recording all customer complaints, relating to the activities covered by the worded scope of operations on the Certificate, and make this available to ACS Registrars Ltd upon request.
- The Certified Company must only use the Registration Marks/Logos in accordance with the ACS Registrars Ltd rules for Registration Marks, as documented on the ACS Registrars Ltd website:http://www.acsregistrars.com/registration.asp
- The Accredited Offices of ACS Registrars Ltd retain sole responsibility and authority for the decisions to Approve, Maintain, Renew, Extend, Reduce, Suspend and Withdraw the Certification of Companies.
- Failure to return Certificates upon request from ACS Registrars Ltd within 1 month shall result in legal action being taken against the Company, on the basis of unauthorized use of Certification and Accreditation marks and of inaccurate representation of certified status.
- ACS Registrars Ltd clients shall, upon request of an Accreditation Body, accept the presence of the Accreditation Body attending an audit conducted by ACS Registrars Ltd. This shall be only to allow the Accreditation Body to review the activities and conduct of the ACS Registrars Ltd Audit Team. The presence of an Accreditation Body shall in no way affect the Certification Decision making processes of ACS Registrars Ltd.
6. Application For Certification
Upon receipt of a completed Application Form, ACS Registrars Ltd shall provide the applicant Company with a Proposal and Contract, outlining the Scope of the Assessment and the costs. The times and costs of the initial on site audit shall be subject to variation, based upon any Auditors' findings and IAF Guidance.
Once the Contract, signed by the relevant senior management representative of the applicant Company, has been received by ACS Registrars Ltd, together with any due payments and controlled copies of relevant documentation, the project shall be allocated to a Lead Auditor, who shall be responsible for ensuring that the assessment is carried out in accordance with the procedures of ACS Registrars Ltd.
7. Initial Audit
Audits are based on sampling techniques, therefore there can be no 100% guarantee from the results of an audit that a Management System conforms to all nominated International Standard requirements.
Initial Audits of an applicant Company's Management System shall be conducted in two stages.
A Stage 1 (on-site, wherever possible) audit is conducted to determine the Company’s readiness against the criteria of the nominated International Standard. This shall include a full review of the Company’s documented Management System. A report shall be produced identifying any areas requiring attention prior to a Stage 2 conformity Audit.
A Stage 2 (on-site) audit is conducted to ensure that the Company’s operations comply with their documented Management System and also with the elements of the nominated International Standard. A report shall be produced identifying any areas requiring Corrective Actions prior to the issue of a Certificate of Registration.
Once a thorough review of the audit reports has been conducted and the responsible Certificate Decision Maker of ACS Registrars Ltd is confident that the Company meets the requirements of the nominated International Standard requirements, the Company shall be informed and a Registration Certificate (which shall remain the property ACS Registrars Ltd) shall be issued to the Company. The Certification period shall be for three years, less one day, from the date of commencement of the Stage 2 Audit, or three years from the date of the previous Certificate Expiry, in the case of Re-Certifications.
9. Surveillance Audits
Surveillance Audits must be conducted at least annually, and no later than 12 months after the previous Audit. Surveillance Audits shall cover aspects of the Company’s Management System at the discretion of the nominated auditor. A report shall be produced identifying any areas requiring Corrective Actions.
Companies shall be subject to a Re-Audit at the end of every three-year Certification cycle. A Re-Audit shall be required prior to the expiry date of the Company’s existing Registration Certificate, in accordance with Accreditation Body requirements. Three-months prior to the Re-Audit due date a new Proposal and Contract shall be created, covering the next three year cycle.
Failure to submit for a Re-Audit prior to the expiry date of the existing Certificate shall result in a period during which the Company’s Certification shall be deemed to have expired and therefore continuous Certification cannot be shown on subsequent Certificates. If the Certification Decision Date made by ACS Registrars Ltd is after the expiry of the existing Certificate, then the Company shall lose the Date of Original Registration from their new Certificate. The re-issued Certificate shall display a Certificate Issue Date to match the Certificate Decision Date, and the validity shall last for the same 3 years from the previous expiry.
11. Extensions/Reductions to Certification
If a Company requires an addition to the Scope of Registration as shown on their existing Certificate, to cover new products/processes/locations, a new Application Form is required to be completed and returned to ACS Registrars Ltd, showing details of the requested change. This shall allow ACS Registrars Ltd to determine whether additional audit time or costs are required to cover the changes requested. The Application process shown above (Section 6) shall then be followed and an audit shall be conducted on the appropriate products/processes/locations requiring Certification. Any additional costs or additional time shall be based on the nature and programming of the extension to the Scope of the Company’s Certification. Upon receipt of a revised Certificate, the original certificate issued to the company shall be returned to ACS Registrars Ltd within 1 month.
If a Company requires a reduction to the Scope of Registration as shown on their existing Certificate, it is mandatory that ACS Registrars Ltd is advised immediately of the changes in organisation or products. These changes might include the closure of sites or the removal of product lines previously supplied under the original Scope of the Company’s Certification. Upon review and acceptance of the updated information, ACS Registrars Ltd shall notify the Company if an additional audit, and/or a change to the worded scope, is required. Any additional costs or additional time shall be based on the nature and programming of the audit, if required, or administration for the revised Certificate. Upon receipt of a revised Certificate, the original certificate issued to the company shall be returned to ACS Registrars Ltd within 1 month.
12. Systems Modification
The Company shall immediately inform ACS Registrars Ltd, in writing, of any of the following intended changes
- The legal, commercial, organisational status or ownership
- Organisation and management (e.g. 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
Upon receipt in writing of notified intended modification, ACS Registrars Ltd shall then determine whether or not the modifications shall require any additional costs or additional audit time, based on the nature and programming of the modification on the Company’s Certification
Additionally, the Company’s Registration may be Suspended or Withdrawn if there has been found to be a failure to notify ACS Registrars Ltd of any intended modification.
13. Publicising Certification
A Certified Company has the right to make reference to the fact that their Management System has been Certified.
A Certified Company may apply the relevant Certification Marks to any stationery and promotional material relating to their Scope of Certification, as displayed on their Certificate.
The Certified Company must only use the Registration Marks/Logos in accordance with the ACS Registrars Ltd rules for Registration Marks, as documented on the ACS Registrars Ltd website:http://www.acsregistrars.com/registration.asp
A Certified Company is prohibited from applying the Certification Marks to any of their Products or their Packaging, or from making any ambiguous claims, through publications and advertising, which could mislead third parties to believe that a product, process or service has been registered when it has not.
Accredited Certification does not imply that the Company is providing a superior product, or that the product itself has been Certified as meeting the requirements of the nominated International Standard.
14. Misuse of Certificates
ACS Registrars Ltd shall take suitable actions to deal with any incorrect references to Certification or any misleading use of Certificates or Logos/Registration Marks found within publications such as Advertisements, Catalogues and Websites.
These actions may include Suspension or Withdrawal of Certification, Publication of any transgressions and/or Legal Action. Any costs associated with correcting the misuse of the Certificates or Logos/Registration Marks shall be paid for by the person or company committing the misuse, including all legal fees.
An additional charge of £100 per day for the misuse of the Certificates or Logos/Registration Marks shall also be applicable.
15. Suspension of Certificate
The Certification of a Company may require temporary Suspension in cases where evidence of one or more of the following circumstances has occurred:
- Failure, by the Company, to effectively implement key activities of their documented Management Systems.
- Failure, by the Company, to allow a Re-Audit to be conducted prior to the expiry of existing Certificate.
- Failure, by the Company, to allow the first Surveillance visit to be conducted within 12 months of the Initial Audit.
- Falsification and/or fabrication, by the Company, of records of implementation.
- Failure, by the Company, to respond to any Non-Conformities.
- Failure, by the Company, to make payment of Certification fees owed to ACS Registrars Ltd.
- Failure, by the Company, to address Complaints in an appropriate manner.
- A request from the Company for the voluntary Suspension of Certification.
- Any other contravention of the ACS Registrars Ltd Terms and Conditions/Code of Practice.
ACS Registrars Ltd shall confirm to the Company, in writing; advising of the reasons for the Suspension, the duration of the Suspension and the conditions for the removal of the Suspension of a Certificate.
Upon receipt of the notification of Suspension the Company shall immediately cease to advertise the relevant Certification.
At the end of the duration of the Suspension, an investigation shall be conducted to determine whether or not the required conditions for the removal of the Suspension of a Certificate have been fulfilled. If these conditions are deemed to have been met then the Suspension shall be lifted and the Certificate shall be reinstated. If the conditions are not fulfilled then the Certificate shall be Withdrawn.
The Company shall be invoiced for any costs incurred by ACS Registrars Ltd during the process of Suspension and Reinstatement of a Certificate.
16. Withdrawal of Certificate
The decision to Withdraw a Company’s Certification shall only be made if there is failure to resolve any of the issues that have resulted in a Suspension, within the Suspension period agreed by ACS Registrars Ltd, and only where it is not possible to resolve the issues by Reducing the Scope of the Company’s Certification.
ACS Registrars Ltd shall confirm to the Company, in writing, advising of the reasons for the Withdrawal of a Certificate.
The Company does have the right to Appeal against a decision to Withdraw Certification, within 7 days of receipt of the notification of Withdrawal of the Certificate.
Under the terms of Withdrawal a Company's Certification is no longer valid and the Company shall discontinue any promotion or advertising containing any reference to a Certified status. The Company shall also return the Certificate to ACS Registrars Ltd within 1 month. In cases of Withdrawal, no reimbursement of Audit fees shall be given.
The reinstatement of a Withdrawn Certificate shall require a full Re-Audit to be carried out by ACS Registrars Ltd.
17. Cancellation of Certificate
A Certificate shall be Cancelled if the Company advises ACS Registrars Ltd, in writing, that they do not wish to renew the Certificate, or that they no longer offer the product, process or service for which they have been Certified, or if the Company has gone out of business.
Under the terms of Cancellation a Company's Certification is no longer valid and the Company shall discontinue any promotion or advertising containing any reference to a Certified status. The Company shall also return the Certificate to ACS Registrars Ltd within 1 month. In cases of Cancellation, no reimbursement of Audit fees shall be given and full fees for the remainder of the 3 year contract shall become payable at this time.
The reinstatement of a Cancelled Certificate shall require a full Initial Audit to be carried out by ACS Registrars Ltd.
Fees are due upon receipt of invoice and Certificates shall not be issued unless all fees have been paid in full.
Fees received later than 90 days after issue of an invoice shall have the Company Certificate validation period reduced to 1 year and the Company shall be charged an additional fee for future Audits of £50 + vat, unless paid within 60 days from the issue of the invoice.
ACS Registrars Ltd fees shall be detailed in the Proposal and Contract. Once the Contract has been signed and returned, the Company is then committed to payment of the first year fees of the three-year cycle, regardless of whether the Company progresses to Certification, as costs shall already have been incurred.
A new Proposal and Contract shall be prepared three months prior to the three-year Re-Audit due date, with an accompanying invoice. Once the Contract has been signed and returned, the Company is then committed to payment of the first year fees of the subsequent three-year cycle, regardless of whether the Company progresses to Re-Certification, as costs shall already have been incurred.
As costs are based on the charge rate applicable and details submitted by the Company at the time of submitting a Proposal and Contract, ACS Registrars Ltd reserves the right to increase the charges during the period of Certification.
Additional fees shall be charged for services that are not included in the agreed Proposal and Contract and for any Special Audits, required due to non-conformances being identified in the Management System. These shall include any costs resulting from:
Repeats of any part of the Audit programme, due to the initial Certification requirements not being met.
Additional work due to Suspension, Withdrawal or Reinstatement of a Certificate
Re-Audit, due to changes in the Management System
Costs connected with short notice (within 10 working days) Cancellation/Postponement of confirmed booked Audits
The fees quoted shall, unless specified, exclude all travel and subsistence expenses associated with an Audit, which shall be charged at cost.
All fees and additional charges are subject to local taxes in the country concerned.
19. Appeals and Disputes
The Company has the right to Appeal against any Certificate Decision made by ACS Registrars Ltd, for example a decision to Withdraw Certification or a failure to grant Initial or Re-Certification. The Company also has the right to Appeal against any Non-Conformances raised by the Audit Team during an Audit.
If the Company does not accept either the Certificate Decision of ACS Registrars Ltd, or the Audit Team findings, then they shall refer to the Appeals and Complaints Information Section, provided within the ACS Registrars Ltd Audit Report, detailing the appropriate procedure for the submission of a formal Appeal.
Written notification of the intention to Appeal must be made and received by ACS Registrars Ltd within seven days of the Certificate Decision, or the issuance of the Audit Team’s Report.
An Appeals Form shall be sent, by ACS Registrars Ltd, to the Company for completion and must be returned to ACS Registrars Ltd, including with it any supportive documentation/ information for consideration during the Appeals Procedure, within 14 days of receipt.
All Appeals shall be forwarded to ACS Registrars Ltd Accredited Office to investigate the documentary evidence and the causes of the Appeal. Should the Accredited Office reject the Appeal then it shall be forwarded to the ACS Registrars Ltd CEO for review. Should the CEO investigate the documentary evidence and reject the Appeal then the Appeals Committee, drawn from the independent members of the Impartiality Committee, shall investigate the documentary evidence and consider the Appeal. The Company shall be advised of the names of the Impartiality Committee Appeals Committee members who shall review the Appeal, and the Company has the right to dispute the members of the Appeals Committee by formal notification of their dispute. This dispute shall be reviewed by the chair of the Impartiality Committee, or by the vice-chair if the chair is a member of the Appeals Committee. The result of the Appeals Committee review shall be notified to the Company.
The decision of the Impartiality Committee shall be final and binding on both the Company and ACS Registrars Ltd. Once the decision regarding an Appeal has been made, no counter-claim by either party in dispute can be made to amend or change this decision.
For all upheld Appeals, investigations shall be conducted to develop the necessary Corrective and Preventive actions and to assess the effectiveness of the Corrective and Preventive Actions. In instances where the Appeal has been successful and the Certificate issued or reinstated, no claim can be made against ACS Registrars Ltd for reimbursement of costs or any other losses incurred.
The Company shall not suffer any discriminatory actions as a result of their Appeal
If a Company have any reason to complain regarding the conduct of ACS Registrars Ltd staff members or subcontract auditors, or against a certified client of ACS Registrars Ltd by a user of that client; the Complaint shall be made in writing, including with it any supportive documentation/ information for consideration, and addressed to the Directors of the Accredited Office of ACS Registrars Ltd. If the complaint is made against a Director, the letter of complaint shall be addressed to the CEO of ACS Registrars Ltd.
Any Complaints are required to be made in writing, including with it any supportive documentation/ information for consideration, to allow for a full investigation. If a Company does not document their Complaint then the issue can go no further.
For all upheld Complaints, investigations shall be conducted to develop the necessary Corrective and Preventive actions and to assess the effectiveness of the Corrective and Preventive Actions.
21. Directory of Certified Companies
ACS Registrars Ltd maintains a full directory of all Companies certified by ACS Registrars Ltd, within the Accredited Office. This directory may be made available, upon request.
The Company shall not involve ACS Registrars Ltd, or any associated companies in any litigation arising from the Company’s activities, including products produced or sold, or any services supplied. ACS Registrars Ltd is removed from any responsibility or liability to the Company for any implications or actions resulting from legislative/regulatory non-compliance on behalf of the Company, including any actions taken subsequent to an Audit resulting in legal or financial failures of the Company.
Except for liability for death or personal injury, directly resulting from the acts or omissions of ACS Registrars Ltd, in the event of any claim the liability of ACS Registrars Ltd to the Company shall not exceed the amount paid by the Company to ACS Registrars Ltd. ACS Registrars Ltd shall not be liable for any losses, consequential losses or damages incurred by the Company. The liability of ACS Registrars Ltd does not extend to the organisations, or individuals there-of, represented on the ACS Registrars Ltd Impartiality Committee.
The Company shall indemnify ACS Registrars Ltd against any losses or damages suffered by ACS Registrars Ltd arising from the Company’s neglect of the staff and subcontract auditors of ACS Registrars Ltd, whilst on the Company’s premises, or in the event of the Company’s misuse of the Certificate and Certification Mark.
24. Applicable Law
It is agreed that these Terms and Conditions/Code of Practice shall be construed in accordance with the laws of the England & Wales and the execution hereof shall be deemed to have taken place within the England & Wales. Each party hereby agrees that the jurisdiction for the resolution of any dispute shall be within the Courts of the United Kingdom.
Over and above the details herein, all Companies within the USA agree to the provision of a separate Hold Harmless Agreement, between themselves and ACS Registrars Ltd.
Any past or future violations of Environmental and/or Health and Safety related laws, or regulations, or possible accusations that may lead to a prosecution or legal action, shall be immediately notified to ACS Registrars Ltd.
Please note that within the standard terms and conditions of contract, Companies have an obligation to advise ACS Registrars Ltd of any breach of Legal or Regulatory requirements and any pending prosecutions of whatever nature.
Although proportionality and scale of the situation should be considered, the Company is required to advise ACS Registrars Ltd of any potential risks to certification but not, for example, isolated cases of a minor nature.
The Company is required to inform ACS Registrars Ltd as soon as it becomes aware of any breach or pending prosecutions for the breach of any regulatory requirements relevant to the Certified Management System. ACS Registrars Ltd shall review the details of any breaches brought to its attention, and may elect to perform additional verification activities, chargeable to the Company, to ensure compliance with specified requirements. ACS Registrars Ltd reserves the right to Suspend or Withdraw Certificates for both failure to inform ACS Registrars Ltd and the appropriate regulator of such breaches.
ACS Registrars Ltd reserve the right to amend these Codes of Practice at any time.