ISO Standards are developed by several members from different nations, who are the member constituents of ISO’s Technical Committee. These TC’s are made consisting of myriad members, who are from industries, NGOs, governments and other stakeholders. The latter are nominated by ISO themselves. The list of TC’s that ISO has number up to 300, and these TC’s are have different areas of focus that they work on – threads, shipping technology, food products etc.
P-Members (Participating Members): These are the ones who actively participate in the work of a technical committee and have the right as well as the right to vote on all the issues submitted to vote in the technical committee.
O-Members (Observing Members): These members can join the several meetings held by the technical committee, and can comment on these events, but they do not hold the right to vote.
The ISO Membership is granted to the foremost standard organisations in a respective country and only one such organisation can become the ISO Member. No individuals or companies can become an ISO Member.
The membership is divided into three different categories and they will have varying degrees of access and influence over the ISO System. This is made so that the organisation is inclusive and recognizes the different needs and capacity of the standards body:
Full Members: They are wielding their influence over many of ISO’s constituents. They can influence standards development and strategy by participation and voting of ISO technical and policy meetings. They have the right to sell and adopt ISO International Standards nationally.
Correspondent Members: They are able to observe, via meetings in technical committees and policy committees. They also have the power to sell and adopt ISO International Standards nationally.
Subscriber Members are always up to date on ISO’s work but they are not able to participate in it. They don’t sell or adopt ISO International Standards nationally.
The ISO Standards that are developed can be technically defined as follows:
A normative document, developed according to consensus procedures, which has been approved by the ISO membership and P-members of the responsible committee in accordance with Part 1 of the ISO/IEC Directives as a draft International Standard and/or as a final draft International Standard and which has been published by the ISO Central Secretariat.
The ISO Directives that are talked about in this definition is a comprehensive and detailed procedure for the development of standards in general. The ISO Central Secretariat is an acting secretariat to all the other major bodies of the ISO with a Secretary General as well.
The Process of approving an ISO International Standard takes a long time and goes through several stages, but this is necessary as the final ISO Standard requires a general majority. The process is as follows:
- New Standard is proposed to a Relevant Technical Committee.
- If proposal is accepted
- Working group of experts start discussion to prepare a working draft.
- 1st working draft shared with technical committee and with ISO CS
- If consensus is reached within the TC
- Draft shared with all ISO national members, who are asked to comment.
- Is consensus is reached
- Final draft sent to all ISO members.
- If standard is approved by member vote.
- ISO International Standard.
When developing an ISO Standard, the organisation makes it a statement to include a relatively high amount of developing countries. This is done to make sure that they are able to realize their potential and one way to do that is by getting involved in the development work, so that their needs and wants are properly addressed and imbued into the standards.
Similarly, another thing that is taken into account is the views of the consumer, when trying to develop standards. Because of the direct influence of how standards and their quality principles impact the production process of various industries, the commodities that come out of them bear the mark of standards. When the consumers become directly involved with development of a standard then the final products will meet their demands because how they will instill thoughts into the standard. This is a win-win situation for both the consumer and the manufacturer.