After an audit has been completed, there is occasionally the need for a concern to be raised by a client and resolved in an organized fashion. Disputes – also known as “appeals” – are officially-filed disagreements on the auditee’s part regarding one or more of the conclusions drawn by their auditor. These usually refer to nonconformances, but there is no strict definition of what can be raised in a dispute.
Regardless of why a dispute is filed (usually they are based in disagreements over evidence or the relevancy of audit criteria), it’s important for PJR clients to know that our auditors are encouraged and trained to be forthright and transparent. This helps the final decision in an audit to be as informed as possible.
Nevertheless, disagreements happen – and the appeal process is clearly outlined in PJR’s PRO-10 procedure, as required by ISO 17021-1:2015. Once the steps of the dispute process are followed, there are three possible outcomes:
- The disputed nonconformance is upheld.
- The disputed nonconformance is overturned.
- The disputed nonconformance is upheld but reduced.
At the end of the day, our goal at PJR is for clients to trust us as partners in their certification process both during the audit and beyond. Offering a straightforward dispute process allows open communication, and maintaining a team of experienced, well-trained auditors reduces the number of disputes we might see; in fact, an average year may only see 20 appeals!
If you have questions about the dispute process or the post-audit relationship with PJR, don’t hesitate to reach out.