Any laboratory that would like to participate in the QM PT Scheme activities must agree to operate in accordance with the policies and conditions for participation as described below:

  1. The participant acknowledges that QM PT Scheme activities are for fee-paying participants and therefore order numbers and/or payment is expected before the commencement of each round.
  2. The participant will follow instructions for each PT activity as per the Instruction Letter and use the reporting template issued in every round. Failure to adhere to instruction may lead to raising of non-conformances and/or exclusion from future rounds.
  3. Participants must use the test methods that is part of their day to day operation. Participants are required to state the methodology, the metrological traceability employed in their procedure, and once per annum the laboratories must provide us with the measurement uncertainties for each analyte and method that is reported on by them, as part of the PT participation.
  4. Participants are requested to report duplicate results in the spaces provided in the reporting template. Failure to adhere to instruction may lead to raising of non-conformances and/or exclusion from future rounds.
  5. QM requests that when reporting results, participants send their internal COA (Certificate of Analysis) together with the Qotho Results Reporting template (2x documents). The same procedure as when reporting to their internal/external clients showing the results of their CRM’s etc. The Reference Materials used and results obtained for them, for each analyte, must be reported on the COA. Submission of the COA however is not manditory.
  6. It is the policy of QM to use robust statistical tools to evaluate homogeneity & stability, the assigning of values to Test Items, and the performances of participants, through the use of validated Prolab software.
  7. QM uses the consensus value from participants/laboratories, after softening of outliers using the Q/Hampel method, to assign the values for the various analytes for the test items, before evaluating the performance of the laboratories against the assigned values.
  8. QM retains the right to approach participants to review their results, should we suspect gross errors relating to swopping of sets of results, use of incorrect unit of measure, or incorrect decimal figures, which may have been due to transcription errors. Where such errors are not obvious during the evaluation, amendments will not be considered, after the issuing of the PT report.
  9. Should a participant identify obvious internal blunders after PT evaluation, such as incorrect allocation of results to analytes, or not reporting the correct state of an analyte (eg reporting Mn, in stead of MnO2, or visa versa), such blunders shall not be considered/qualify for re-submission, re-valuation and re-issuing of PT reports.
  10. QM does not differentiate between analytical methodologies, when assigning analyte values, to test items. However, should we observe bimodal datasets between analytical methods for the same commodity over an extended period, the phenomenon will be investigated and additional policy decisions implemented, if necessary.
  11. Participants have 7 days to raise an appeal/objection against a released PT report. After that period, no further objections/correction requests will be entertained. Management will review the appeals & objections and/or requests for amendments, and if deemed reasonable, will make the necessary corrections/amendments, and reissue the report as an amended report. Any decisions to make amendments will be done in an impartial manner and QM will not entertain undue pressure by participants, to amend evaluations.
  12. The identity of participants in a proficiency testing scheme is confidential and known to the minimum number of persons involved in the provision and evaluation of the scheme. Furthermore, the propriety rights, including procedures, if declared confidential by the clients, are as such protected by QM.
  13. The participant will not use any QM PT report for any purpose other than internal measurement assurance or accreditation/recognition activities (no sales, marketing, or advertising of the results of any participating laboratory), without the written consent of QM.
  14. The participant will not falsify any results submitted to QM, or collude with any laboratory within the scheme prior to submitting results.
  15. Results for any PT test item will only be made available in the PT report, upon completion of a PT round. No results are available and/or published beforehand.
  16. The participating labs are encouraged to attend review meetings and participate in PT discussions.
  17. QM reserves the right to refuse participation to any organization, even if technically qualified, if the participant or participating organization has violated the confidentiality policies and other technical issues that could potentially adversely affect the results for other participants. Prior to QM issuing a notice of refusal to a laboratory, due efforts will be made to notify participants in this category, provide guidance, and ensure that the laboratory has an opportunity for corrective action.
  18. Various aspects of the proficiency testing scheme can from time to time be subcontracted. When subcontracting occurs, it is placed with a competent subcontractor and QM remains responsible for this work. QM does subcontract specialised homogeneity tests (eg PGM and Cu cathode analysis) to either ISO17025 accredited facilities or ones that operate within the specific commodity industry. Should other services need to be subcontracted, QM will inform the clients in writing.
  19. The evaluation of performance shall not be outsourced, but QM retains the right to consult with statistical experts, to gain insights into the handling of abnormal datasets.
  20. Participants acknowledge that QM may use the data submitted in a PT round, for potential future certification of the test material represented during the PT round. COA’s will list the laboratories that contributed towards the certification and the data used for certification, with no direct link of any data, to any particular laboratory.
  21. In compliance with the Protection of Personal Information Act, Act No. 4 of 2013 (“POPIA”), we hereby notify Participants, that your personal information is being collected by QM. QM-GUI-019 Protection of Personal Information informs clients and employees about the type, and use, of personal information the company collects, the ways in which it is collected, the sharing, and protection and storage thereof. QM strongly believes that everyone has the right to control the use of their personal information, and that a person’s privacy must be respected. We strictly limit the collection and processing of personal data. We will not use personal data provided to us, in a manner inconsistent with the purposes for which it was provided to Qotho.