ISO standards are developed and published following a systematic process involving ISO members and sector specific experts. When the need for a standard has been identified, a panel of experts, within an ISO technical committee (TC), meet to discuss and negotiate the first draft of the standard. Once a draft has been developed, ISO’s members are asked to comment and vote on it. If a consensus is reached, the draft becomes an ISO standard, if not it goes back to the technical committee for further edits.
6 Steps to Creating an ISO Standard
1. Standard Proposed to Relevant TC.
Contrary to what many believe, ISO does not decide when a new standard should be developed. ISO responds to a sector specific need when industry or other stakeholders make a formal request of a standard. Typically, an industry sector or group communicates the need for a standard to its national member who then contacts ISO. Practically every country (163 to be exact) has one ISO member that can be reached for this purpose.The TC reviews the proposal and if it’s accepted, the process will continue.
2. Experts Prepare a Working Draft
These experts negotiate all aspects of the standard, including its scope, key definitions and content. These group of experts are from all over the world and they are part of larger groups that form a TC.
3. Working Draft Shared
TCs are made up of representatives of industry, NGOs, governments and other stakeholders, who are put forward by ISO’s members. Each TC deals with a different subject; ISO has over 250 TC. The relevant TC reviews the first draft and if consensus is reached within the TC, the process moves on.
4. Draft is Shared with all ISO National Members
As mentioned above, there is a member in almost every country. The draft is shared with these member (over 150) and each is asked to review and comment. All these comments are taken into account by the TC and if a consensus is reached, the process continues to step 5.
5. Final Draft Sent to all ISO Members
The final draft is sent to all members for approval. If it is approved by member vote, the process continues to its final step.
6. ISO International Standard
The ISO International Standard is published and available for the public to purchase. This can be purchased from the ISO store or from the ISO national members. A full list of the ISO member of each country is available in the ISO website.
To the novice quality manager, ISO jargon can be extremely overwhelming. What is an NCR? What do you mean by OFI? Are we certified or accredited? But before you go and pull out your hair, let’s take a moment to go over some of the most frequently used terms and their definitions with regards to ISO and Management System Certification.