- The Assessment and Certification Regulations is applicable to all clients certified by Guardian Independent Certification Pte Ltd (Guardian)
- Guardian is a private limited company, financed through paid-up shares, is accredited by the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC).
- Guardian offers management systems and product certification services within the accredited scope granted (“the Services”). The Services provides an independent audit and certification of an applicant’s management systems against a recognised and appropriate standard.
- Guardian 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 negligence.
Request & Application for Certification Services
- Applicant for certification can request for the Services by sending an email to email@example.com to receive a General Application Questionnaire (GAQ), or call us at 6742 3075 to speak with our sales representative. The required information shall be provided by the applicant and submit to Guardian for review. Guardian reserves the right to decline any request for the Services and would give the applicant the reason for non-acceptance.
- Upon acceptance of the quotation, Applicant must complete the Certification Agreement form and return it to Guardian. The Certification Agreement, together with the quotation upon mutual acceptance by Guardian and applicant (now termed as Guardian Client), serves as a legally binding contractual agreement between Guardian and clients.
Impartiality and Objectivity of Guardian Services
- Guardian understands the importance of and is committed to impartiality in providing the Services. Guardian manages any conflict of interest to ensure objectivity of its certification audit.
- Guardian will not market or offer the Services as being linked with the activities of an organisation that provides management system consultancy. Guardian 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 Guardian’s Services are used. Guardian will not state or imply that certification would be simpler, easier, faster or less expensive if a specified consultancy organisation is used.
Rights & Responsibilities of Guardian
- Guardian reserves the rights for the Services. These include the rights to grant, maintain, extend, reduce, suspend, and withdraw of certification approval.
- Guardian grants the certification based on its review and audit of information, documents and samples provided by clients during the performance of the Services. Guardian cannot be held liable for any inaccuracies, omissions or errors in the approved certification, audit reports and/or any documents issued to clients by Guardian in the performance of the Services.
- The certification granted by Guardian does not exempt clients from their legal obligations required of the services or products. Client is solely liable for any defects in their services and products and shall protect and indemnify Guardian 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 system and /or of any negligent act.
- Guardian reserves the right to revise the certification scheme requirement or any normative requirement for certification. Guardian would give due notice to clients of any changes and for their compliance with any new requirement.
- Guardian 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.
- Guardian shall not be liable for any cost, losses or charges incurred by the clients in the event that the performance of the Services and/or Guardian’s obligations under the agreement is hindered or is caused to be delayed by any default, act or negligence of the clients.
- Guardian reserves the right to conduct short-notice visit when the need arises in particular when required by relevant authorities or complaint received against the certified client.
Rights & Responsibilities of Clients
- Clients shall ensure that their management system meets the requirements of the relevant management system standard and appoint a main contact person to liaise with Guardian. Client shall ensure that all documentation provided to Guardian does not infringe any copyright, trademarks, licenses and any intellectual property rights of any party.
- Clients shall allow Guardian to carry out the succeeding audit (e.g. surveillance, re-certification) after initial certification in accordance to agreed audit frequency or interval. GIC shall notify the client, within a reasonable time, on the scheduled audit.
- Clients have the right to object to the inclusion of any auditor proposed by Guardian for the performance of the Services, on the grounds of competency or possible conflicts of interest.
- Clients shall, with reasonable diligence, co-operate with Guardian in its provision of the Services by providing access to its premises, personnel, documentation required for the proper conduct of the Services. Clients shall obtain necessary consents to facilitate Guardian’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 Services. Clients shall inform Guardian and its auditors of requirements to comply with any health, safety and security regulations applicable to its premises.
- Clients shall pay the fees for the Services invoiced by Guardian in full and promptly on the due date. Guardian may impose an interest charge of 10%, compounded monthly on the sum of outstanding until the payment is made. The fees and other charges are excluding of prevailing GST.
- Clients who are granted certification approvals shall inform Guardian without delay, of matters that may affect the capability of their management system to continue fulfilling the required standard used for certification and approval. These changes include, but not limited to:
- 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
- Clients who are granted certification approvals shall:
- Conform 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.
- Give consent for the assessor(s) of accreditation body to witness the on-site audit if requested upon.
- 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 Guardian 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.
- Clients who are granted certification approvals who intend to discontinue their certification shall notify Guardian in writing at least two (2) months before the due date of the next surveillance audit.
- Clients shall indemnify Guardian 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 Guardian.
- Clients shall provide promptly the required actions on any findings issued during the audit within the required timeframe.
- Guardian safeguards clients’ information obtained or created during the performance of the Services.
- All information provided by applicant and certified clients in relation to application enquiry, application review for certification and other information obtained in the course of the certification services shall be treated confidential. Guardian staff, Associate Auditors / Technical Experts, Independent Certification Board shall observe the signed Confidentiality, Impartiality and Non-Conflict of Agreement with Guardian. This clause does not apply to information that are posted in public domain (e.g. regarding certification status).
- Guardian may disclose client’s confidential information to relevant accreditation body as part of Accreditation Requirements during the periodic Office and Witness Assessment.
- Guardian shall not disclose confidential information about certified clients without written consent, except where the law requires such information to be disclosed without consent of the client.
Fees and Payment
- The fees payable for the Services are as follows:
- Documentation examination fee, if applicable
- Audit fee for initial audit and issuance of the certificate
- Re-audit fee, as required to close non-conformities (if any)
- Surveillance fee for certification maintenance
- Re-certification fee for certification renewal
- Short-notice visit to investigate feedback from relevant authorities or interested parties (if any)
- 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 on or before the scheduled audit.
Guardian’s Certification Audit Process
Stage 1 Audit
- This audit may be conducted on-site or off-site. The client shall be informed of any “on site” activities and assigned auditor during stage 1. The purpose of the audit is for the auditor(s) to conduct documentation review and readiness of the management systems to proceed to Stage 2 audit.
- Guardian could repeat its stage 1 audit if it determines that clients are not ready to proceed with the Stage 2 audit.
- The interval from stage 1 to stage 2 shall not exceed 6 months. Otherwise, stage 1 has to be carried out again prior stage 2 audit.
- Guardian may amend the agreement with clients if it determines that adjustments to the stage 2 audit are necessary, e.g. Change in scope, sites, audit man-days and audit fee.
Stage 2 Audit
- Clients will be given an audit plan prior to the audit. The auditor(s) will verify the effectiveness of the implementation of the management systems.
- The auditor(s) will prepare an audit report detailing the findings and the scope of certification to the clients’ management after the audit.
- Granting of Certification Approval
- Guardian will grant clients its certification approval upon review of the submitted recommendations of the auditors.
- Surveillance audit shall be conducted by Guardian on certified clients at least once in a calendar year and based on the agreed frequency (as indicated in the contractual agreement). The date of the first surveillance audit following initial certification shall not be more than 12 months from the certification decision date.
- Guardian performs a re-certification of clients’ management system every three (3) years from the initial certification date or re-certification of its management system. Clients shall be required to complete the re-certification audit and obtain certification approvals before the expiry date of the current certification approvals to ensure continuity of the certification.
Suspension, Withdrawal, Cancellation of Certification
- Guardian reserves the right to suspend, withdraw, or cancel the certification approvals of clients by giving notice to clients of Guardian’s intention. Guardian 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. Guardian reserves the right to publish on its on-line client directory such actions taken.
- A suspension or withdrawal may be made against a certified client for any or all scopes for such a period if the certified client:
- Violated the terms and conditions stipulated in the Assessment and Certification Regulations
- Failed to rectify the non-conformities within the agreed time frame.
- Failed to pay all necessary fees invoiced by GIC
- Persistently or seriously failed to meet certification requirements, including requirements for the effectiveness of the management system
- Does not allow surveillance or recertification audits to be conducted at the required frequencies
- Voluntary requested a suspension or withdrawal of certificate
Extending or Reducing The Scope Of Certification
- Guardian reserves the right to extend or reduce the scope of certification approvals of clients upon undertaking 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. Guardian will notify client on action to be taken and reserves the right to publish on its on-line client directory such actions taken.
Restoration of Certification
- Guardian shall restore the suspended certification if the issue that has resulted in the suspension has been resolved. Failure to resolve the issues that have resulted in the suspension in a time established by Guardian shall result in withdrawal or reduction of the scope of certification.
- Guardian maintains a registry of its certified clients, which list the clients’ contact, addresses and certified scope as detail in the certification approvals. The registry is regularly updated, at least every six (6) months. The published information in the registry is made available on Guardian’s website to any enquirer.
Use of Certification Mark
- Clients will be provided with instructions on the use and application of the Guardian and Accreditation Body Marks(“the Marks”)
- 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 that the address stated on the certificate except on related site(s).
- 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.
- The Marks shall not be used on laboratory test, calibration or inspection reports.
- Certified clients shall discontinue the use of the Marks found unacceptable by Guardian. Any statements deem misleading by Guardian shall also be withdrawn promptly by the certified clients.
- If certification approvals are suspended or withdrawn, certified clients shall immediately remove the Marks and all references to certification approvals.
Complaints and Appeals
- Any complaints should be made in writing to the Scheme Manager and such complaints should indicate the name of complainant, designation and company.
- Any written complaints shall include objective evidence to support the complaints.
- Guardian shall acknowledge the complaints received and will inform the complainant of the outcome of investigation or actions taken.
- Guardian will notify certified clients of any complaint received by Guardian from interested party. Guardian would give certified clients reasonable time and opportunity to respond to the nature of the complaint raised. Guardian will investigate on the complaint and take appropriate actions, if necessary.
- Short-notice visit may be conducted to investigate a complaint against a certified client. Guardian reserves the right to conduct short-notice visits when the need arises.
- Any client who is not content with the recommendation of the Guardian Certification Decision Team may appeal to an independent arbitration.
- Appeal should be made in writing to the Scheme Manager within 30 days from the receipt of the report and audit conclusion, Certification decision.
- The Appeal Committee shall be convened and chaired by the Scheme Manager, and include at least three independent members from the Independent Certification Board for the review, investigation and decision.
- Guardian shall give formal notice to the appellant of the end of the appeals handling process.