At QMS, impartiality is at the core of all aspects of certification and training we deliver. We acknowledge and respect the importance of delivering all of our offerings without compromising integrity. It is our belief that this commitment ensures that the most effective training and skills are delivered to all participants of QMS training.
QMS CS maintains a culture and professional environment (through formal and informal meetings and discussions) that stresses the expectation that staff and auditors will act in the wider interest of promoting quality culture in auditee organizations and helping in enhancement of the credibility of audits and certification processes by ensuring total impartiality in their actions. As a preventive measure, importance of impartiality is emphasized during on-site evaluation of auditors during their first audit on behalf of QMS CS.
QMS CS has identified, analysed, documented and incorporated controls on the following possibilities for conflict of interests arising from provision of certification and its relationship:
Conflict of Interests arising from Provision of Certification Services:
Self-interest threats and their safeguards
QMS CS – Financial Self-interest: The process of auditor selection, auditing and certification decision is carried out in a way which ensures that the issue of ‘Certificate of Approval’ is based upon objective evidence of conformity with the relevant criteria. The entire certification processes (including internal audits and management reviews) are carried out under the close supervision of management and is being reviewed at least once in a year by the independent QMS Advisory Board. QMS CS management and its employees will not exert undue financial conditions, practice any form of discrimination or other conditions upon applicant or certified organization that may be detrimental to the reputation of QMS CS.
Auditors – Self-interest: QMS CS ensured through the in-depth review of the CV’s of auditors and their current affiliations that they don’t have any financial interest (shares etc.) in the clients being audited by them. Also, through signed Conflict of Interest Agreement it is made mandatory for all auditors to reveal all situations of potential conflict of interests. In such situations, it is ensured that the concerned auditor is not included in audit team or certification decision process. Should an auditor of QMS CS be found to be exerting undue financial or other conditions upon the auditee organization then appropriate disciplinary action shall be taken against that auditor.
Self – review threats and their safeguards
Our documented system ensures that the decision for certification, complaint, appeal etc. will be taken by some body that was not associated with the related certification, complaint, appeal etc.
QMS CS direct employees are prohibited from engaging in management system consultancy activities, which includes, ‘Participation in an active manner in the development of a management system to be assessed by, for example: preparing or producing manuals, handbook or procedures; participating in the decision making process regarding management system matters; giving specific advice towards the development and implementation of management systems for eventual certification/registration.
All audit staff are prohibited from participating in the Audit of any organization to which they have given assistance in document preparation, consultancy, in-house training, internal auditing, or where they have any financial or commercial interest for a minimum period of 2 years prior to the date of application of the organization for certification.
All auditors associated with QMS CS are prohibited from conducting internal audits to its certified clients. Also, QMS CS will not undertake third party certification of management system of an organization, where it has provided internal auditing services in the last two years.
Subcontracted auditors will not be involved in any certification activities (including audits) with any clients of the subcontracted auditor or his employer.
Certification activities for a client shall not be undertaken by QMS CS within two years of presenting an in-house course. Even after two years, it will be ensured that the trainer(s) involved in imparting training are not selected as an auditor(s) for that particular organization.
As a fully independent certification body, QMS CS is not linked to any management system consultancy organization and will take immediate action to correct inappropriate claims by any management system consultancy organization stating or implying that certification would be simpler, easier, faster or less expensive if QMS CS were used. Similarly, QMS CS will not promote any management system consultancy organization by stating or implying that certification would be simpler, easier, faster or less expensive if a specified consultancy organization were used.
Familiarity (or trust) threats
If QMS CS determines that a QMS CS auditor has an unacceptable familiarity with a QMS CS client then QMS CS will change auditors (for at least one audit) after completion of one certification cycle to eliminate or reduce familiarity threat that may arise because of long-standing professional relationship (by virtue of conducting audits) with an auditee.
As addressed above threat due to familiarity because of long-standing personal relationship will be eliminated by not including that auditor(s) in audit team or certification decision process for that particular organization where such relationship is established.
In relation to disagreement on findings being identified during audit, QMS CS auditors are encouraged to raise that particular issue in the audit report, asking auditee to complain or appeal to QMS CS against that finding(s) if they wish.
Similarly, QMS CS will not be coerced by any auditee or other interested parties with a fear of being replaced while carrying out certification activities. QMS CS is committed and determined to carry out its certification activities without any fear of litigations, replacement etc. However, auditee are made aware of the appeal process, in case they are not satisfied with any of the decision being taken by QMS CS.
Competition threats : QMS CS ensures that subcontracted technical auditors are selected after carefully scrutinizing any chances of conflict to eliminate or minimise any competitive threat between auditee and auditor.
Conflict of Interests arising from relationship:
QMSCS have determined the potential areas of conflict of interest due to any relationship based on ownership, governance, management, personnel, shared resources, finances, contracts, marketing and payment of a sales commission or other inducement for the referral of new clients that could threaten the impartiality of its certification activities – refer to the Annual Relationship Analysis Matrix.
If any relationship poses an unacceptable threat to impartiality, QMS CS will not undertake a related certification assignment.
QMS CS will not certify any other certification body for its management system certification activities.
QMS CS will take action to respond to any threats to its impartiality arising from the actions of other persons, bodies or organisations.