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RSB’s Grievance Mechanism ensures that grievances against the implementation of RSB policies and procedures, recognised certification bodies, their certification decisions, and RSB members are handled in a timely, comprehensive, consistent, transparent, and effective manner.

The RSB Grievance Procedure provides guidance on how RSB – as well as certification bodies, participating operators and accreditation bodies – should properly manage grievances made with some aspect of the RSB system and general functioning of the RSB governance or multi-stakeholder dialogue.


Submitting a grievance

Before submitting a grievance, we recommend reviewing the RSB Grievance Procedure.

You can then submit all grievances via email to: [email protected]

Please include the following information:

  • Basic information about yourself / your organisation
  • Details about the grievance
  • Evidence to support the grievance
  • Expected outcomes, including alternatives for resolution of the dispute
  • Evidence of steps already taken to resolve the grievance directly

You may request anonymity.

You will receive a written acknowledgement of your grievance with 5 working days.


Scope of grievances

The types of grievances that are within the scope of the RSB Grievance Procedure are as follows:

Grievance type Grievance to be filed with
Allegation of a breach of Standards by a Participating Operator Certification Body
Quality of an audit or certification services and certification decisionsCertification Body/Accreditation Body
Alleged failure of an Accreditation Body to follow policies and
operating procedures, including managing and monitoring the
performance of accredited Certification Bodies
Accreditation Body
Alleged failure of RSB to follow policies and operating
procedures, including managing and monitoring the
performance of recognised Accreditation Bodies
RSB Secretariat
Alleged failure to follow RSB Standards governance processes
and/or policies and operating procedures (including the
process for standards development and related terms of
RSB Secretariat
Grievance against an RSB Member for its behaviour and/or
failure to comply with its membership requirements
RSB Secretariat


How grievances are handled

Below is a step-by-step overview of how grievances are handled – from the receipt of the initial complaint through to resolution, and the associated timeframe for each step.

  1. Acknowledge Receipt
    • The accountable organisation will acknowledge receipt of the grievance, informing the party that submitted that its grievance is being reviewed for standing. This is to occur in writing within five business days.
    • The accountable organisation will also inform the party against whom the grievance is made and share the details of the grievance. This is to occur in writing within five business days.
    • The accountable organisation will log the grievance and save all relevant materials.
    • The RSB Secretariat is to present a summary of all grievances and their subsequent actions (including those of the Accreditation Body and Certification Bodies) to the RSB Board of Directors on a quarterly basis.
  2. Determine admissibility
    • Using the criteria above, the Grievance Manager is to determine whether or not the grievance is admissible.
    • If the grievance is not admissible and denied, all parties shall be informed within five business days.
    • The party that filed the grievance may appeal the decision. In the case of an appeal of admissibility the party is to send the original grievance, the written response from the Accountable Organisation, and the rationale for the appeal to the party identified below:
      • If Certifying Body is denied admissibility, submit appeal to Accreditation Body.
      • If Accreditation Body is denied admissibility, submit appeal to RSB Secretariat.
      • If RSB Secretariat is denied admissibility, submit appeal to RSB Board of Directors.
    • Appeals should be filed within 10 days of the denial of admissibility, following the procedure for appeals of the Accountable Organisation where relevant. When the appeal is received, the Grievance Manager will inform the Accountable Organisation that denied admissibility and the party to whom the grievance is against that an admissibility appeal has been made.
    • The organisation which has received the appeal has ten days in which to uphold the denial or to overrule and make the grievance admissible. If denial is upheld, then no investigation will proceed and no more appeals can be made. If the organisation rules that the grievance is admissible, the Accountable Organisation that originally denied admissibility shall investigate the grievance.
  3. Determine the investigation process
    • If the grievance is admitted, the Grievance Manager will define an investigation process and share this with the relevant parties within fifteen business days.
  4. Conduct investigation
    • The Grievance Manager will conduct the investigation him/herself or nominate an individual to carry out the investigation. The investigation will be based upon written documentary evidence supplied by both the party that has brought the grievance and the party which is the subject of the grievance. The investigator should make efforts to allow the two parties to counter the evidence of the other, if agreed to by the parties. The investigator may solicit and collect any additional information necessary, including conducting telephone and email interviews. The investigator may request a field inspection to augment the documentary evidence.
    • The parties shall provide to the investigator the means, resources and authority necessary to execute the investigation in a timely, comprehensive, consistent, transparent, and effective manner. Failure to cooperate could result, for instance, in suspension of the certificate of a Participating Operators, of the accreditation of a Certification Body, or a recommendation to the RSB Assembly of Delegates that an RSB membership be terminated.
    • The investigator is to prepare a written report with his/her findings and recommendations, including the possibility to conduct a field investigation. The report should be completed within 90 days of receipt of the formal grievance. The parties should agree with whom the report can be shared. If the timeline is to be different (e.g. in case a field investigation is not immediately possible due to seasonality of operations or for security reasons), this is to be clearly explained to all parties involved.


Potential outcomes

If the conclusion of the investigator is that the allegations are unfounded, the parties will be informed of that finding and the party that brought the grievance can pursue an appeal under the procedure outlined in the next section.

In the case of a breach of standards where the evidence supports the allegation, the Certification Body or the Accreditation Body is to follow their Standard Operating Procedure for managing disputes, complaints, and appeals. This may include convening an internal appeals committee or certification committee to rule on the findings and measures.

In the case of poor quality auditing/certification processes on the part of the Certification Body, it is the Accreditation Body’s sole discretion to determine the action.

FindingPossible outcomes / next steps
Breach of Standards by a
Certified Operator
• A subsequent audit will focus on the issue
• Corrective actions are recommended, agreed to and
implemented within an agreed-upon timeframe
• Suspension of a certificate
• Decertification of the Operator
Breach of RSB Standards or
Policies by a Certification Body
(e.g. Poor quality
• Improvements to operating procedures are published and
implemented within an agreed-upon timeframe
• Probationary period, suspension or termination of an
• Suspension of accreditation as an RSB Certification Body
• Withdrawal of Accreditation to the RSB
Breach of RSB Standards or
Policies by an Accreditation
Body (e.g. Poor quality
• Improvements to operating procedures are published and
implemented within an agreed-upon timeframe
• Suspension of recognition as an RSB Accreditation Body
• Withdrawal of Recognition by the RSB
Failure of RSB Secretariat to
follow governance
• Acknowledge failures and revisit
processes/policies/operating procedures
• Determine corrective actions/improve operating
• Probation or termination of staff
RSB Member in violation of
membership requirements
• Recommend to the Assembly of Delegates probation or
suspension of a member
• Suspension of membership

Other recommendations, outcomes, and next steps may be considered. All investigation reports concerning a Certification Body are to be shared with the Accreditation Body, and the RSB Secretariat. See Section K in the RSB Grievance Procedure for more.



If either party is unhappy with the findings of the investigation and the outcomes, they have thirty business days in which to appeal. Appeals may be submitted to the organisation overseeing the activities of the Accountable Organisation with which the grievance was originally filed (see Section L in the RSB Grievance Procedure for more). Where relevant, the appeal shall follow the procedure for appeals of the organisation to which the appeal is submitted. The appeal shall be received in writing and shall contain the rationale for the appeal.

Only one appeal is allowed. In the case of an appeal, an internal committee within the organisation which receives the appeal will be convened to review it and make a decision on the case within 30 days, except when an Accreditation Body considers the appeal equivalent to a new complaint, in which case the process and related timeline described in Section J may apply.

The outcome of the appeals process is final.


Click here read the full RSB Grievance Procedure

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