National/International Standards - do we need them?

By Roger Poole posted 08-27-2010 08:51


**Views expressed in this blog are my personal views and not those of my employer. Any reference to any living person or organisation, past or present, is entirely co-incidental**
Here are some thought provoking and (I hope) some challenging thoughts and ideas in respect to National and International standards organisations and the guidance they produce.

To set the scene for this post, I would advise that the particular organisations I am referring to are the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and the British Standards Institute (BSI).

ISO (not surprisingly) develops standards which are adopted by a significant number of countries throughout the world. The use of ISO standards is widespread among many Global and National Corporations. ISO standards cover a wide range of subjects/topics from Health and Safety to Legal Admissibility of documents in court.

The ISO standards are viewed as good practice and are developed over a period of time in a collaborative manner. Each country which is a member of ISO has representatives on the ISO committee. This committee determines the standards it is appropriate and relevant to establish. Once this decision has been made then all member countries provide input from their (local) advisors/committees. In the case of the UK this is the BSI. BSI convenes meeting with subject matter experts to provide guidance into the standards project. This ensures that any Standards released should be workable as all implications of conformance will have been considered by the subject matter experts. Each country provides it's input to the organising group and a draft standard is produced and released (within the ISO membership) for consideration and approval. At this stage some ISO members (such as BSI) may seek input from specialist interest groups such as relevant industry representative bodies etc. These can provide further input, often from the perspective of the practicality of implementation. This input is invaluable - any ISO standards has to be viewed as best practice but also practicable.

So, after much work has been done and much input received in an internationally collaborative way the standard is published.

These standards are optional but generally regarded as best practice. Some Governments require conformance with various ISO standards as a condition of awarding contracts. Compliance without these standards will not guarantee a successful defence in litigation but they will prove you have taken appropriate steps to ensure your business processes are relevant and in line with internationally agreed standards.

So, some input from you please....

Do you have any experiences with building/implementing standards in your organisation? If yes, can you share these experiences with our audience?

Do you have any strong views relating to International/National standards???

#ElectronicRecordsManagement #ISO #Standards #BSI