9. Conflict Resolution

Policy Title: Conflict Resolution
Policy Number: VPM - 005
Issue Date: December 12, 2018 Authorization: SAC Vice President - Higg Index
Distribution: Internal – All
                     External – All potential and current Eligible FEM Verifiers

Table of Contents

  1. General Information 

  2. Reduction of Conflicts During the Verification

  3. Escalation of Disagreements 

  4. Conflict Resolution Process 

  5. Conflict Resolution Flowchart 


1. General Information                                                                      

Higg FEM Verifications are designed to improve the credibility and comparability of Higg Index scores. The Higg FEM Verification process includes steps, such as training and resources like How to Higg, to ensure that the Facilities and Verifiers are knowledgeable concerning both the expectations and the process. However, in the process of verifying Facility Self-Assessments, it is understood that there may be disagreements between the Facility and Verifiers.

This SOP aims to minimize the conflict and to create a pathway towards acceptance of the Verification. It is the hope of the SAC and all stakeholders that all disagreements, questions and concerns can be quickly and efficiently dealt with so that the information can be confidently reviewed and used.

2. Reduction of Conflicts During the Verification                        

1. The On-site Verification Process is designed to increase transparency and reduce disagreements through the following means:
   1.1.  Ensuring the Facility understands all discrepancies in scores prior to the closing of on-site Verification. Facilities should not be surprised at any discrepancy (or lack of discrepancies) when they receive their final report
   1.2.  Ensuring the Facility understands which discrepancies apply to which questions or expectations
   1.3.  Helping the Facility to better understand the questions or expectations where discrepancies have been found
2. Facilities should ensure that, as much as possible, they understand any issues, discrepancies, inaccuracies, or other pertinent information gathered by the Verifier prior to the Verifier ending the on-site Verification
   2.1. NOTE: While the intent is that most issues are known when the on-site portion of the Verification is completed, Verifiers will not always know all issues at this time; Verifiers may find discrepancies or other issues as they continue to complete their work after they have left the facility
3. Communication between the Verifier and Facility regarding discrepancies occurs at the following times during the on-site portion of the Verification:
   3.1. Throughout the Verification:
     3.1.1. As the Verifier discovers or identifies issues, communication may occur that explains their discrepancy(s)
     3.1.2. The Facility may ask the Verifier about their work and associated discrepancies throughout the verification
   3.2. Daily Wrap-up Meeting – it is suggested that, if the on-site portion of the Verification is more than 1 day, there be a Daily Wrap-Up meeting; this meeting:
     3.2.1. Discusses any issues or concerns that the Verifier has discovered throughout the day
     3.2.2. Sets the plan for the remaining portion of the Verification
   3.3. Closing Meeting – at the end of the On-Site portion of the Verification, a closing meeting is conducted where the verifier:
     3.3.1. Discusses any discrepancies, issues, or concerns that were discovered throughout the Verification Presents any confirmed discrepancies, as well as any known potential discrepancies (that may be confirmed as a discrepancy later) Provides answers to any clarifying questions asked by the Facility If appropriate, the Facility can provide additional information to the Verifier, if the Verifier missed or misunderstood information that led to an improper conclusion 3.3.2.The Verifier may request additional information that may need to be sent to the Verifier to clarify or provide additional context (NOTE: These requests should be minimal, as most information should be gathered and/or reviewed during the on-site portion of the Verification)
     3.3.3. While most discrepancies will be agreed to by the Facility and Verifier at this time, the Facility is not required to agree with all issues presented at the closing meeting, however, they should know and understand (as much as possible) all suspected issues at this time
4. After the on-site portion of the Verification is complete, the Verifier must complete the Verification work at a later time; Conflicts can be resolved during this process by:
   4.1. Communicating any and all discrepancies to the Facility – this includes:
     4.1.1. If/when new discrepancies are identified or discovered
     4.1.2. If/when suspected or possible discrepancies are confirmed as either real or not

3. Escalation of Disagreements Through Verification Process    

1. It is the intent of the Verification Process that virtually all discrepancies are agreed to by the Facility and Verifier; however, it is understood that, at times, discrepancies may not be agreed to. When this occurs, these discrepancies may be elevated and resolved.
2. Concerns related to a specific discrepancy in score:
   2.1. During the Verification Process and between the Facility and Verifier(s)
      2.1.1.The goal is that all discrepancies are agreed to during the Verification Process, this is done by: On-Site Verification All discrepancies are presented by the Verifier and discussed The Facility may ask questions and get clarifications from the Verifier The Verifier may provide details about the discrepancy and associated expectation(s) Post Verification

All discrepancies are communicated to the Facility
The Facility may ask questions and get clarifications from the Verifier The Verifier may provide details about the discrepancy and associated

2.1.2.If there are discrepancies that are not agreed to during the Verification process, the

Facility may choose to escalate the Discrepancy to the VPM
2.2. Escalation to the VPM - If the Facility does not agree with a discrepancy, they may choose to

escalation the Discrepancy to the VPM ( for resolution 2.2.1.The Facility must provide: Facility information (name, address, contact information) Verification information (date, who conducted the Verification)

























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