Understanding Complaints and/or Appeals in the BEE verification process.
As with any other service offering, there may come a time where you, as the client, feel that the service delivery received from your B-BBEE Rating Agency (BRA) during the verification engagement was inadequate, and/or that you are not in agreement with the final resultant score determined by your Agency, or any component thereof.
It is important to understand that all accredited B-BBEE Rating Agencies are required by regulation, to handle such instances in a predefined manner in accordance with the relevant sections pertinent thereto, as documented per the SANAS R47-03. How your B-BBEE Rating Agency attends to complaints and/or appeals may differ from agency to agency & how their own procedures are drafted, however, irrespective of your B-BBEE Rating Agency of choice, you as the client should be made well aware of the agency's associated complaints & appeals procedure during the engagement, and prior to the issuing of any B-BBEE Certificate. In fact, the B-BBEE Rating Agency is required to make publicly available their process in terms of handling the latter.
"You as the client should be made well aware of the agency's associated complaints & appeals procedure during the engagement, and prior to the issuing of any B-BBEE Certificate."
As mentioned above, the method of delivery in terms of how a B-BBEE Rating Agency handles any complaints and/or Appeals lodged will differ from agency to agency, however should all have been designed so as to afford the measured entity the ability to query a score they feel unjust, and/or or report any dealing with the agency they feel unprofessional. This being said, the below should provide a high-level generic indication as to the difference between a complaint & appeal, as well as how the latter is generally attended to by the B-BBEE Rating Agency.
A process whereby a measured entity who is in disagreement with any component of its final B-BBEE score, as per the B-BBEE Certificate issued by the B-BBEE Rating Agency, can lodge a formal query there against, requiring further investigation by the B-BBEE Rating Agency.
The above enquiry must be carried out by a completely independent & impartial verification team, not having formed part of the initial verification engagement in its entirety.
Depending on the outcome of the investigation carried out by the impartial verification team, if it is found that the Appeal lodged is indeed valid, and would impact the initial score issued, the B-BBEE Rating Agency would be required to perform a *Special Evaluation, at the B-BBEE Rating Agency's own cost. Adversely, if the outcome of the Appeal procedure yields the same results as initially determined, there would be no further action taken by the B-BBEE Rating Agency, and depending on the procedures & engagement agreements entered into with the relevant B-BBEE Rating Agency in question, the Agency may be entitled to recover the fees incurred for time expended into the investigation carried out.
Depending on the B-BBEE Rating Agency's publicly available process on handling Appeals, the ability for a measured entity to submit such an Appeal would be limited to a pre-defined number of days post issue date of the B-BBEE Certificate in question.
Any Appeals lodged outside of the above specified period would not be required to be accepted & investigated by the B-BBEE Rating Agency. However, and solely dependent on available resources, MSCT may at their own discretion still attempt to investigate such overdue Appeals in an effort to continuously improve their QMS & operations, even though not required to do so.
A process whereby a measured entity is afforded the opportunity, to at any point during their ongoing verification engagement, lodge a formal complaint relating to the process underway. The latter may be resultant from perceived unreasonable behaviour from the verification team, etc.
Any lodged complaint is required to be independently investigated by the B-BBEE Rating Agency, as per their publicly available procedure relating thereto, with the end goal being to ensure that confidence in their verification activities are safeguarded.
Where possible, the B-BBEE Rating Agency should provide feedback to the complainant in terms of the outcome of the investigation carried out.
The B-BBEE Rating Agency is required by regulation to express & explain the above referenced procedures to the measured entity during the verification engagement, prior to the issuing of the BBEE Certificate.