PEFC UK is aware that there may be issues of non-conformity or non-compliance from time to time. We have put in place a series of complaints and appeals mechanisms to respond to such situations, over and above these issues being dealt with during the regular certification and surveillance audits.
We encourage stakeholders to forward information on any suspect activities to the respective complaints and appeals mechanism. In addition to correcting any such issues, complaints and appeals also provide an opportunity to implement corrective and preventive measures and to improve PEFC services. Crucially, they provide a mechanism for ensuring accountability.
Complaints/Appeals Concerning Certification
All PEFC UK notified certification bodies are required to have documented procedures for dealing with all appeals, complaints and disputes relating to the certification process – up to and including the point of award, suspension or withdrawal of forest management and/or chain of custody certificates. Such procedures include:
- Establishing and maintaining documented records of all appeals, complaints and disputes raised against the Certification Body and resultant actions
- Methodology, allocation of responsibilities and time-scales for responding to and addressing appeals, complaints and disputes and implementing and appropriate corrective actions
- Provision for periodic monitoring and review of procedures and case histories with a view to developing preventative action and continuous improvement in the certification process.
Referral to UK Accreditation Service
In the event that a complaint, dispute or appeal concerning the certification process or the conduct of the certification body cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, certification body or another third party, the matter will be referred to the relevant accreditation body, which in the UK will normally be UKAS. Failing resolution by the accreditation body the matter will then be referred to PEFC UK for a final decision.
Role of PEFC UK
The PEFC UK Board will function as the final organ of appeal in the case of disputes related to certification decisions, use of the PEFC logo and label and/or loss of the certificate.
The entity that wishes to resort to this authority should contact the National Secretary of PEFC UK in writing, normally within one month of the grievance, informing PEFC UK of the background and detail of the appeal. The Board, or its nominated representatives, which may include non-members who have specific expertise, will submit a report to the PEFC UK Board, who will issue a decision within two months.
According to this decision, PEFC UK shall take the recommended actions and communicate these to the entities involved.