In September of 1999, 53 community representatives received notification
of their selection to work on the Community Advisory Committee. Representing a
diverse mix of ages, genders, occupations and ethnic backgrounds, the group was
charged with recommending shelter certification standards and “good neighbor”
policies and procedures. The Committee’s work served as a component of
Rebuilding Lives implementation. Rebuilding Lives seeks to establish coordinated,
targeted and cost-effective methods to provide services to those experiencing a
housing crisis, as well as supportive housing to stabilize the lives of those with
long-term needs. Involving nearby neighbors and the community-at-large in the
planning process is an essential ingredient to building cooperative relationships
Greta Winbush and Ed Krauss served as committee co-chairs. Patricia
Timm served as process facilitator and lead consultant. The committee’s structure
and meeting process allowed the free and open exchange of ideas, views and
information among participants. The group collaborated to address the concerns
of shelter residents, providers, funders and neighbors before reaching a
consensus. As a result, the Good Neighbor and Shelter Certification documents
reflect agreements reached and recommendations adopted by the Community
Advisory Committee. A public input session was also held at which time the
public was able to comment and make suggestions for the final document. As of
February 14, 2000, the document was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the
Community Shelter Board.
Good Neighbor Agreement
These voluntary agreements between a service provider and neighborhood
address issues such as property maintenance and appearance, neighborhood
codes of conduct, community safety, communication and agreement monitoring
and compliance. The Advisory Committee recommends sponsors negotiate
agreements with their neighbors to promote communication, assure safety,
establish long-term relationships and, most importantly, provide a structure and
process for the resolution of conflicts.
The developer of a proposed development shoulders the responsibility for
providing the opportunity for all concerned parties to participate in developing and
executing a good neighbor agreement and documenting the process. All involved
parties discuss concerns and negotiate agreements for specific provisions. By
creating a structure and process, good neighbor agreements will enable funders,
licensing agencies, neighbors and service providers to develop facilities that meet
the needs of both clients and neighborhoods.
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The proposed standards for shelter certification are intended to improve the
quality of facilities and services available to persons facing a housing crisis. The
standards will apply to all shelters that receive funding from the Community
Shelter Board and will be used in contract compliance review and annual funding
Shelter Certification Standards address issues including organizational
structure and management; compliance with federal, state and local laws;
building, equipment and environmental standards; safety and security; operations;
staffing and personnel files; fiscal management; community relations and
administration. These standards are intended to ensure the accountability of
shelter and homeless service programs while protecting the people they serve.
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Good Neighbor Agreements
The template components are not to be understood as specific agreement
requirements; but, rather, items that must be considered when negotiating a “Good
Neighbor” agreement. A Good Neighbor Agreement serves several important
purposes: 1) promoting communication, respect, and trust among neighbors,
residents of proposed facilities and apartments, providers, and funders by assuring
that the rights and responsibilities of all parties are understood and monitored; 2)
assuring that safety, security, codes of conduct, and property management
standards are established and upheld; 3) establishing successful, long-term
relationships while providing all affected parties with the opportunity with respect to
safety, security, codes of conduct and property management to be involved in
planning, decision-making, monitoring, evaluating and re-negotiating the
agreements; and 4) providing a structure and process for the resolution of conflicts
minimizing the incidence of litigation. Good Neighbor Agreements do not include
any items that are governed by law, such as fair housing laws and municipal
codes. This Agreement Template, Best Practices Guidance and Model
Agreements will be provided by supportive housing providers and homeless
shelter operators to neighbors and representatives of local businesses and
organizations when a shelter or supportive housing developer has Site Control
(meaning when a lease or purchase contract is executed or when ownership
otherwise has changed).
A. Neighborhood property: maintenance and appearance standards
2) Trash and litter
B. Design Input
II. Neighborhood Codes of Conduct
A. Agency’s responsibilities for informing all residents of neighborhood
codes of conduct. All neighbors and residents uphold mutual behavior
expectations, such as neighborhood codes of conduct.
III. Community Safety
A. Community policing and crime prevention
B. Block watches
C. Security lighting
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IV. Regular Communication and Information Sharing
B. Disclosure: Information about provider’s other facilities;
communications about property concerns
C. Process for continued communication among parties
D. Participation in facility and neighborhood committees and boards
E. Mechanisms for sharing information and resources
F. Mechanism for informed planning and decision-making that is inclusive
of the interests of all stakeholders
G. Responsibility for management of media relations
V. Good Neighbor Agreement Monitoring and Compliance
A. Compliance mechanisms
B. Responding to non-compliance
C. Implementation of agreement provisions by the parties
D. Enforcement of federal, state and local laws, regulations, and or
E. Dispute resolution mechanisms
F. Fair eviction procedures
G. Re-affirming and re-negotiating agreements.
VI. The Process for Development of Good Neighbor Agreements
The following steps are to be taken:
A. When a developer (shelter operators, supportive housing developers,
program sponsors) of supportive housing or a homeless shelter has
Site Control, the developer must initiate a proactive approach to gain
community support. The developer is responsible for maintaining a
complete written account of all activities, including correspondence and
B. All stakeholders shall be appropriately notified in writing by the
developer and provided the opportunity to participate in developing and
executing a Good Neighbor Agreement that will guide the relationship
of the developer and the stakeholders. The developer must document
the notification process and response. The stakeholders shall include
the following among others as appropriate:
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2) Neighborhood organizations and agencies
3) Neighborhood businesses
4) Other community-based groups
C. The developer shall sponsor meetings with stakeholders, providing
information about all of the following:
1) The needs of the homeless population
2) The laws protecting homeless people
3) The agency’s experience providing shelter services and/or
4) The proposed development, including an operations plan
5) Best Practices Guidance, attached as Exhibit A (to be appended
by June 2000)
6) Model Agreements, attached as Exhibit B (to be appended by
7) The Good Neighbor Agreement Template
D. The developer and the stakeholders shall identify and address any
concerns of the neighbors, as well as how the community can serve the
development and how the development can serve the community.
E. The developer and stakeholders shall negotiate a Good Neighbor
Agreement as appropriate to the neighborhood and the development,
considering neighborhood specific provisions that promote good
relations, including agreement on all or part of the following:
2) Neighborhood Codes of Conduct
3) Community Safety
4) Regular communication and information sharing
5) Neighborhood participation in the project
6) An agreement monitoring and compliance process, including a
complaint/dispute resolution process
7) Who will sign the agreement
F. The developer shall make all reasonable efforts to obtain a signed
agreement between the developer and the stakeholders.
G. The parties to the Agreement shall sustain dialogue, implement the plan
and hold follow-up meetings as needed.
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Shelter Certification Standards
The goal of the Community Advisory Committee is to develop certification
standards that can be used by homeless shelters to improve the quality, efficiency,
and effectiveness of their services to homeless persons. In some instances broad
policy statements are articulated and shelter providers will establish the specific
standard of service; in others, specific minimum standards that providers must
achieve are set. The standards will be incorporated by reference into the CSB
Master Provider Agreements and will apply to all shelters that receive funding from
the Community Shelter Board. Shelter certification standards will be used in
contract compliance review and annual funding decisions.
I. Organizational Structure and Management
A. Written and up-to-date Articles of Incorporation, Regulations, and
purpose/mission statements are available and will be furnished on
B. The governing board authority, oversight and responsibility are clear.
C. The governing board minutes are available and will be furnished upon
D. The governing board is responsible for the selection and annual
performance review of the chief administrative officer.
E. The governing board is responsible for the acquisition and management
of resources, the review of budgets and expenditures on at least a
quarterly basis, and the review and approval of accounting and
reporting procedures on at least an annual basis.
F. The governing board shall cause its books and records to be audited
annually by an independent certified public accountant consistent with
1) the audit is performed in accordance with generally accepted
2) the audit incorporates internal control procedures;
3) The auditors issue a management letter reporting any control
weaknesses, irregularities or illegal acts discovered during the
course of the audit.
G. The governing board membership reflects the diversity within the
facility’s service area in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, residents,
clients, and constituents.
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H. Contract approval is recorded in Board minutes and contract
compliance is monitored by the board or a board representative.
I. The governing board shall be informed about the needs of homeless
persons on at least an annual basis.
II. Compliance with federal, state and local laws
A. The agency has a written policy that prohibits requiring, mandating or
improperly influencing religious participation as a prerequisite to
receiving agency services. There is evidence that it is being
B. The agency does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion,
sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or other handicap, age,
marital or familial status or status with regards to public assistance.
The agency has a written nondiscrimination policy applicable to staff,
trustees, volunteers and clients and there is evidence that it is being
implemented. The agency operates in compliance with all applicable
Equal Employment Opportunities and Affirmative Action requirements.
C. The agency has a uniform sexual harassment policy applicable to staff,
trustees, volunteers and clients and there is evidence that the policy is
D. The facility complies with all applicable building, housing, zoning
environmental, fire, health, safety, and life safety codes and fair housing
E. The facility is in compliance with applicable provisions of the Americans
with Disabilities Act. There is a written plan and evidence for
accommodating persons with disabilities.
III. Facility Standards
A. Building and Equipment
1) A bed, crib, or cot with clean and appropriate linens is provided for
each guest except in extenuating overflow situations. The proper
number of beds, cots and units are provided as according to CSB
contract. There is a process for providing clean sheets, blankets,
and a towel for each client and there is evidence it is being
followed. The Open Shelter shall be permitted to use mats until
such time as it moves to a new location.
2) Restroom facilities include showers/baths, wash basins and toilets
for people served. There is warm and cold running water.
Facilities are clean and in good working order. In individual
apartment units there is at least one toilet, wash basin, and
shower/tub per unit.
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3) The general appearance of the building is well maintained.
Facilities are in good repair. Windows and doors operate properly
and are not broken. The facility is in a fit and habitable condition.
4) The facility has heating units for winter and the ability to create
airflow in hot weather. Furnaces are kept clean and in good
operating condition. Filters are changed routinely as evidenced
by a building maintenance log. Fans and air conditioning, if
available, are in good operating condition.
5) There are designated spaces, not accessible to the general
public, where shelter staff can meet privately with clients.
6) There are secure designated spaces available for storing client’s
personal belongings (such as clothing and toiletries) during the
time they are residing at the shelter. Provision for reasonable
access by the residents must be provided.
7) In facilities providing services to children, the following special
precautions are followed:
a. There are childproof electrical outlets.
b. Adults are reminded that children must be watched at all
c. Above ground stories have precautions in place to prevent
children from falling out windows.
d. Doors open from inside without a key.
1) The facility must be kept in a safe and sanitary condition. There is
a written housekeeping and maintenance plan and evidence that it
is being implemented.
2) The area is free of debris and there are no obvious safety risks.
3) There is evidence of adequate provision of pest control.
4) Garbage is regularly removed as needed so as to avoid health
risks and maintain a clean facility. Where appropriate, there are
lease agreements specifying a landlord’s responsibility for trash
removal and extermination.
5) There is adequate natural or artificial illumination to permit normal
indoor activities, including reading small print where posted.
6) The agency shall consult with the Columbus Health Department or
other appropriate entities on sanitation, communicable diseases,
hazardous material storage and use, and food handling as
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C. Safety Standards
1) The shelter facility has either:
a. removed all asbestos from the premises in accordance with
applicable law, or
b. determined which, if any, building materials must be
managed as asbestos in compliance with OSHA standards,
and there is written evidence that such building materials are
being managed in accordance with OSHA standards. There
is evidence that radon testing has been done and necessary
2) In facilities housing children, testing for lead has been done and
necessary remediation has taken place in accordance with
3) There is evidence that radon testing has been done and
necessary corrections made.
4) Hallways, stairwells and exits are well lit, and there are back-up
batteries for exit lights. There are exit signs with symbols capable
of being understood regardless of the language of all shelter
5) Exits, steps and walkways are clear of debris, ice and snow and
other hazards. There is a process in place and utilized to
maintain clear walkways. Exits are clearly marked and not
blocked. All steps have handrails as required by applicable codes.
Steps have treads or similar accommodation to prevent slipping.
6) First aid is complete and accessible to staff and residents. In
congregate units, a first aid kit with sufficient supplies to handle
multiple occurrences is kept in a well-known accessible place. In
independent units, first aid materials are provided at Intake.
7) The shelter facility has written plans for identification, treatment
and control of medical and health conditions (contagious
diseases, body infestations) which implements Universal
Precautions Procedures as required by OSHA standards. There is
evidence that TB protocol is used. Staff members are trained in
the implementation of disease prevention protocols.
8) There is a written procedure regarding the possession and use of
controlled substances and prescription medication and evidence
that the procedure is being implemented.
9) There is a fire safety plan. In congregate shelters, there are
records of an annual fire inspection, a posted evacuation plan in
symbols capable of being understood regardless of the language
of all residents, an adequate fire detection system, regular fire
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drills, and adequate fire extinguishers. The shelter has
documentation that employees are trained in fire safety
procedures, including the use of fire extinguishers. In
independent units, there are working smoke detectors and posted
evacuation plans. In multiple units with common entrances, there
is record of an annual fire inspection.
10) The facility and its staff shall not release, spill, store, or generate
any hazardous or toxic substances in, on, or under the facility,
except for ordinary and necessary quantities of cleaning materials
which should be handled and stored in a safe and lawful manner
according to OSHA standards. Spill kits and Material Safety Data
Sheets (MSDS) are available and used as appropriate.
11) The shelter has a written policy posted in a manner that will
communicate to the greatest number of residents possible
prohibiting the possession of weapons and there is evidence that
the policy is implemented. The Community Shelter Board shall
address the issue of language and the use of symbols.
12) If shelters provide meals, they make adequate provisions for
sanitary handling and safe storage of foods.
IV. Security Plan
A. In congregate facilities, there are “lock up” procedures and staff are
equipped with keys; in independent units, the clients lock up and staff
are equipped with keys for accessibility—there are no interior only
B. In congregate facilities, staff members are responsible for monitoring
the entry, and from inside they can see who wants access to the
C. In independent units, windows can be secured.
D. Phones are readily accessible for 911/emergency calls.
V. Operational Standards
A. The agency has a written plan for delivery of shelter services. The
facility is not being used for any purpose inconsistent with the agency’s
purpose statement/mission statement.
1) Admissions. The agency has written shelter client admissions
policies. The admissions policy, including re-entry policies and
procedures are posted and distributed and otherwise made
known. The shelter can make its own rules about the right to leave
and return to the shelter, but these rules cannot be intended to
unfairly discriminate against clients. Hours of operations are
clearly posted. Reasonable efforts will be made to
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accommodate applicants with a disability. If the program is not
able to accommodate the applicant, then referral to another
appropriate program should be made.
2) Code of Conduct. The shelter has a process for posting and
distributing and otherwise making known house rules, regulations,
disciplinary procedures, and termination policies. There are
written and posted guidelines of unacceptable resident behaviors,
such as violence, theft, and any other activities that are against
the law; and the consequences of rules violations are clearly
stated and consistently enforced. There is an expectation that the
staff is aware of client activities and behaviors.
3) Clients’ Rights and Responsibilities. The shelter has a process for
posting, reading, and otherwise making known, the rights and
responsibilities of residents that includes a grievance policy for
addressing alleged violations of clients’ rights. Reasonable efforts
shall be made to ensure that all residents regardless of language
understand their rights and responsibilities. There is evidence
that the governing board (or its agent) collects, evaluates, and
analyzes all grievances so that trends and patterns can be noted
and corrections can be made.
4) Food Services. Shelter shall provide, or arrange for, food services
to clients or make known the available services nearby. At sites
where clients prepare their own food, clients have access to a
kitchen. Food and other necessary supplies are provided on an
as needed basis. At sites where food is prepared for clients, the
staff is knowledgeable in nutrition and sanitary food safety
handling and safe food storage practices. The shelter makes a
reasonable effort to meet medically and culturally appropriate
dietary needs of residents.
5) Funds Management. If the shelter holds funds or possessions on
behalf of residents, the funds or possessions shall be returned
upon demand within 2 business days of the resident’s demand.
6) Public Education. In shelters serving children and youth, the
children and youth have access to public education and rights
protected in accordance with the federal requirements for
enrollment in school.
7) Telephone Use. There is reasonable access to a public or private
telephone for use by shelter clients.
8) Voter Registration. Shelter residents may use the shelter as a
legal residence for the purpose of voter registration.
9) Search Consent. The shelter has a written, posted policy for
consent or non-consent to searches.
10) Fees For Service. The delivery of any service cannot be denied
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because a client is unable to pay for the service.
11) Supportive Services. The agency shall encourage and make
referrals to appropriate support service providers—such as
assistance with employment opportunities, education, and
training; medical, health care and mental health services;
transportation services; alcohol and drug treatment programs;
assistance to secure long-term housing; material assistance
programs, and adult/children’s protective services and basic
1) Staff Organization. There is a table of organization of paid staff,
including written position descriptions, responsibilities, and
2) Staff/Client Ratio. There is an adequate number of paid and/or
volunteer shelter and security staff to the number of clients
served. The required client/staff ratio is set by agreement of the
provider agency and the Community Shelter Board. Evidence that
the set standard is achieved is documented in the weekly staff
3) Identification. All shelter staff and volunteers are identifiable to
residents and visitors.
4) Office Logs. Daily logs are kept documenting shift activities,
special client instructions, and accounts of unusual or special
situations. There is evidence, such as initialing, that the logs are
reviewed by staff.
5) Emergency Assistance. At least one staff person is on duty at all
times with verifiable training in emergency first aid, emergency
evacuation, and CPR procedures.
6) Training. All relevant staff members (including volunteers) receive
training in the following areas. Documentation is maintained on
site that employees’ training is current or scheduled to be
completed within a new employee’s first year.
a. Emergency evacuation procedures;
b. CPR and First Aid procedures;
c. Agency operating procedures;
d. Non-violent crisis intervention techniques;
e. Relevant community resources and social service programs;
f. Ethical client practices; and
g. Recognition and reporting of child and elder abuse.
7) Professional Development. The agency encourages and supports
appropriate planning for staff professional development.
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1) Data Collection. The agency has a data collection process in
place that is efficient and cost effective.
a. The shelter has written intake and client record keeping
procedures and files that include intake interviews and
records of services provided. There is an up-to-date
attendance list, which includes, at least, the name of each
person residing in the shelter and dates that they stayed.
b. Files containing client information are in a secure location
and locked (or capable of being locked) to maintain
c. The shelter has records of accountability for any money
management/payee programs, clients’ funds, or possessions
turned over for safe keeping.
d. There is a plan and process for reporting child and elder
abuse and evidence that the procedures are followed.
2) Posting. The following permits and policies are posted in the
a. Building and Occupancy Permits
b. Non-Discrimination Policy
c. Affirmative Action Plan and/or Equal Employment
d. Drug-Free Workplace Policy
e. Weapons Policy
f. Controlled Substances Policy
g. Search Policy
h. Unacceptable Behavior
i. Client’s Rights and Responsibilities
j. Worker’s Compensation Certificate
k. Wage and Hour Notice
l. Food Service License (if applicable)
3) Personnel Policies
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a. The agency has written personnel policies detailing
employee responsibilities, rights, roles, benefits, job
requirements, grievance procedures, hiring and termination
procedures, hours of operation, and confidentiality. Each
employee receives a copy of the policies, a job description,
attendance requirements, and compensation information
upon beginning employment. If positions require licensing,
documentation is maintained and available for review.
b. The agency has an Affirmative Action Plan and/or Equal
Employment Opportunity Policy
c. The agency has conflict of interest and nepotism policies for
staff and volunteers.
d. Job vacancies are advertised and the staff members are
e. The agency has a compensation and benefits plan.
f. Agencies are encouraged to maintain a competitive salary
structure for their employees.
g. The agency has a system of staff supervision and regularly
scheduled performance evaluations.
h. The agency has a written grievance procedure for staff,
volunteers and clients.
4) Insurance. The agency has the following insurance provisions
and upon request shall furnish certificates evidencing the
existence of the following insurance:
a. Workers Compensation
b. Unemployment Liability (if applicable)
c. Public Liability
d. Director and Officer’s Liability is encouraged. Board
members are informed of liability.
e. Property/Casualty for agency-owned property
5) Fiscal Management. The agency maintains a financial
management system that is accurate and clear.
a. Costs, direct and indirect, are consistently charged to
appropriate funding sources.
b. There is separate accountability of administrative and
c. Duties are adequately segregated between review and
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authorization of costs.
d. Payments are reviewed and approved in compliance with the
e. Managers and Board review financial reports, budgeted and
actual costs, and supporting documentation on a timely
f. The general ledger is current.
g. The organizational chart for fiscal management and
accounting is clear.
h. The written, updated accounting policies and procedures
manual is available.
6) Evaluation. The agency has a clearly defined evaluation process.
a. The effectiveness of programs and the implementation of
policies and procedures are evaluated regularly, and
recommendations for improvements are duly considered.
b. Client evaluation and feedback is collected, analyzed and
used. Clients are encouraged to complete exit surveys, and
summary reports are forwarded to the Community Shelter
Board on an annual basis.
c. The needs of the homeless community are routinely
assessed and this information is used to determine program
directions and updates.
d. Exit interviews and surveys include client satisfaction that
religious activities have been optional.
D. Consumer Involvement
1) Clients are involved in decision-making processes, including
planning for services and designing and monitoring grievance and
2) Clients participate in service evaluation.
E. Community Relations and Good Neighbor Agreements
1) The Agency promotes communication, respect and trust among
neighbors, residents and staff of facilities and apartments.
2) The Agency assures that neighborhood safety, security, codes of
conduct, and property management standards are established,
monitored and complied with by the Agency.
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3) The Agency provides opportunities for neighbors and facility
residents to be involved in planning, decision-making, monitoring,
evaluating and re-negotiating agreements.
4) The Agency promotes the resolution of conflict minimizing the
incidence of litigation.
5) The Agency works to have positive relationships with peer
agencies, service providers, funders and the general public.
6) The Agency has a process for communicating with community
representatives in the the neighborhood where it is located.
7) The Agency has worked with neighborhood stakeholders in a
good faith effort to develop a partnership with neighbors,
neighborhood organizations and agencies, neighborhood
businesses and other groups and has initiated Good Neighbor
Agreement (GNA) discussions and executed a written agreement;
or, every reasonable effort has been made to execute a written
8) All appropriate stakeholders in the neighborhood were notified by
the developer of the process.
9) A Communication Plan, including sharing of all information
relevant to the Agreement, has been adopted by the Agency
board and is being implemented by the Agency.
10) Board and/or staff of the facility participate in appropriate
11) The Agency’s board monitors the Agency’s compliance with the
GNA on at least an annual basis.
VI. Application of Shelter Minimum Standards Certification
A. CSB shall be given access at reasonable times for the purpose of
inspecting and examining the condition and maintenance of the facility
and determining whether the facility is in compliance with these shelter
certification standards. Agencies will be notified by the CSB in advance
of a scheduled site visit.
B. Agencies will be reviewed annually for compliance with shelter
C. A Review Team will include CSB staff and/or its consultants.
D. A CSB appointed Evaluation Committee will oversee the evaluation
E. CSB will provide a uniform Consumer Questionnaire to shelters for the
collection and analysis of consumer opinion.
F. CSB will provide an Agency Questionnaire to evaluate the Monitoring
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Tool and Review Team performance.
G. A Preliminary Report of contract compliance issues, including
recommendations that must be resolved to be “in compliance”, will be
submitted to the Agency.
H. Agencies in non-compliance will provide a written response that
addresses the review recommendations. They may request a waiver of
specific certification standards or procedures.
I. After a review of the Agency response, the Review Team will submit a
Final Report to the Agency finding them either “In Compliance” (a
certificate is issued) or “In Non-Compliance” (an appeal can be
J. Final Report Appeals. The Agency may appeal the final report
recommendation in writing to the Executive Director. The Agency and
the Review Team will meet and attempt to clarify and/or resolve their
differences. If this effort fails, an appeal meeting will be held between
agency representatives and the Executive Director. The Executive
Director will review the Agency materials and reaffirm or revise the
initial recommendation, and will respond accordingly to the appealing
Agency. Any further appeal will be reviewed in compliance with CSB
K. A Certificate of Compliance will be issued to agencies in compliance.
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