IFS Integrity Program
Quality assurance actions after complaint notification
If, following a complaint or preventive quality assurance actions, the cause of a deficiency has been found and detected to be the fault of a certification body and/ or an auditor, IFS will forward all necessary information anonymously to an independent Sanction Committee. The Sanction Committee, which consists of a lawyer and participants from industry, retailers and certification bodies, shall make a decision on whether a breach exists and on its severity. Topics concerning administrative faults of certification bodies based on database investigations can be directly assessed by the IFS Quality Assurance Management, but have to be confirmed by the chairman (lawyer) of the sanction committee. Sanctions will be issued to the certification body and/ or its auditors if the Sanction Committee concludes that a breach has been committed. The type of sanction depends on the number of breaches previously committed by the auditor and/ or the certification body as well as the level of severity of such breaches. IFS Management informs the appropriate accreditation body if a breach for a certification body and/ or for an auditor has been established.
Preventive quality assurance actions
Regardless of a possible complaint quality assurance measures in order to control the IFS system are conducted regularly in the form of surveillance audits at the certification bodies (CB Office Audit) and at suppliers (on-site Supplier Audit). The selection process of certification bodies and companies for these surveillance audits takes place according to objective criteria. These criteria are both economic criteria (e.g. number of issued certificates) and quality criteria (e.g. the review and analyses of IFS certification processes and corresponding reports). During a CB Office Audit, taking place at the accredited certification body´s premises, the quality of selected certification procedures is verified by documentary check. During an on-site Supplier Audit at a certified company the present situation is compared with the existing information in the IFS database. An IFS auditor can also be accompanied by an auditor of the IFS Integrity Program during a regular IFS audit (Witness Audit).