• Disagreeing with B-BBEE score
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Disagreeing with B-BBEE score

14 March 2019

What to do when your B-BBEE score does not accurately reflect your organisation

The verification process is not famous for being a simple one. Following a B-BBEE Certificate being issued, an organisation's circumstances may change, which would have an impact on the overall B-BBEE score of the organisation. This may be a consequence of a change in ownership structure only being implemented following the issuing of a B-BBEE Certificate, or relevant evidence may not have been presented during the verification process. Alternatively, it could be the result of an error uncovered after the verification process, which is subsequently processed as a complaint or an appeal. The result of these circumstances may be the re-issuing of an organisation’s B-BBEE Certificate.

The verification manual gazetted in July 2008 (no 31255) contains the guidelines which are required to be followed by verification agencies in terms of issuing BEE certificates.

As well as providing guidelines for methodology, planning, record-keeping and reporting requirements, it provides a list of applicable documentation required per element and procedures to be followed in verifying each element.

This gazette also deals with issues that may result in a change of BEE score, and the procedures to follow when this happens.

Special Evaluation

In the case where an organisation disagrees with their B-BBEE score, the legislation provides for the right to appeal. If upheld, a Special Evaluation process will take place to correct this. The verification agency’s policy and procedure in respect of this is required to be publically available and accessible on that organisation's website.

The guidelines for a Special Evaluation are highlighted in clause 10.5 of the verification manual, where it states, “It may be necessary for the B-BBEE verification agency to conduct evaluations of measured entities at short notice in order to investigate complaints or in response to changes”.

Re-assessment

There are various circumstances upon which a Special Evaluation may take place. For example, it may be as a result of a complaint or appeal that is found to be valid by a person or committee that was not involved in the matter that is the subject of the appeal. In all cases where an appeal or complaint is upheld, the verification agency is required to conduct a root cause analysis to ascertain how and why an error was made. Besides, corrective and preventative action must be implemented to resolve such an error to ensure it does not re-occur.

A re-assessment may take place due to a change in the ownership structure, management or if any new relevant information needs to be taken into account. An organisation may apply for a re-assessment by requesting their verification agency considers further evidence that was not provided during the verification process, or if new information is provided which could influence an overall B-BBEE score outcome. More often than not, this occurs when a new ownership structure is implemented that would have a positive impact on an organisation's ultimate B-BBEE score.

What happens to the original certificate?

When a B-BBEE Certificate is re-issued following a Special Evaluation or re-assessment, the lifespan of the original certificate is not extended, the original expiry date remains valid.

Upon a B-BBEE Certificate being re-issued, it must reflect the date on which it was re-issued and must include the expiry date of the original certificate. Some verification agencies highlight the date of original issue, but this is not mandated; therefore, the format of certificates may differ from agency to agency.

For example:

Original B-BBEE Certificate is issued on 1st December 2017, expiry date 30th November 2018.

Following Special Evaluation, B-BBEE Certificate is re-issued on 30th January 2018; expiry date remains 30th November 2018.

A re-issued B-BBEE Certificate must link to the original one so that it can be easily traced. Although the format of re-issuing a B-BBEE Certificate may differ from agency to agency, the reference to a re-issued B-BBEE Certificate should appear in the certificate number. For example:

Upon the re-issue of a B-BBEE Certificate, the original one is effectively withdrawn.

If an organisation is unable to find a resolution with their chosen verification agency, the matter can be taken up with SANAS, the accreditation body for verification agencies.

  • Original B-BBEE Certificate number is - 1234 [followed by the date of issue].
  • Re-issued B-BBEE Certificate number referring to re-issue should reflect – 1234 REV1 [followed by date re-issue] otherwise R1-1234 [followed by the date of re-issue].

Upon the re-issue of a B-BBEE Certificate, the original one is effectively withdrawn.

If an organisation is unable to find a resolution with their chosen verification agency, the matter can be taken up with SANAS, the accreditation body for verification agencies.

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