Terms of Reference for the SFS Standardization Groups
All participants in SFS Standardization Groups must adhere to the Terms of Reference.
1 Standardization Group
An SFS Standardization Group acts as the national expert group on standardization in its sector. The purpose of the Standardization Group is to monitor European and/or international standardization and to represent the views of Finnish stakeholders. When need arises, the Standardization Group also develops and maintains national SFS standards relevant to its sector.
The Standardization Group is responsible for national decisions on the development of standards relevant to its sector.
The SFS website has information on the scope of the SFS Standardization Groups and also on the European and international committees they are connected with.
The Terms of Reference supplement the guidance given in SFS Guide 4 (The working procedure and structure of a national SFS standard) and SFS Guide 5 (The national working procedure for European and International Standards and other deliverables).
Tasks of a Standardization Group include:
- monitoring European and/or international standardization in the sector concerned and representing the views of stakeholders in standardization
- promoting participation in European and/or international standardization
- formulating Finnish positions to ballots and deciding on Finnish comments on draft standards
- appointing from amongst themselves the members to the CEN and ISO Working Groups
- appointing from amongst themselves the Finnish representatives to the CEN and ISO Committee meetings
- preparing proposals for new work items where appropriate
- assessing the need to adopt ISO standards as national SFS standards
- assessing the need for Finnish translations of standards and participating in the review process of translations where necessary
- providing information on standards and promoting their use
- developing and maintaining national SFS standards as appropriate
- monitoring whether there are any national SFS standards relevant to the sector of the Standardization Group that create technical barriers to trade and proposing their withdrawal where necessary, unless the existence of such standards is specifically justified by matters related to safety and health
- evaluating the need for SFS handbooks, standard collections and other publications.
Anyone interested in following standardization in the sector of the group and influencing the content of standards may join a Standardization Group. The aim is to have all the relevant stakeholders that benefit from standardization or have substantial interests at stake included in the Standardization Group. Composition of the Standardization Group is reviewed if needed. When need arises, representatives and experts from different groups can be requested to join meetings of the Standardization Group.
The SFS website has a form for those who wish to become a member in a Standardization Group.
Membership in a Standardization Group is automatically renewed each year unless the member gives notice of termination of the membership by the end of the year.
SFS maintains a list of Standardization Group members and the stakeholders they represent. Information on the members and their organizations is public.
4 Organizing the Standardization Group
SFS appoints a chair for the Standardization Group for three years at a time. The Standardization Group may select a vice-chair from among its members.
The chair leads the discussion in order for the group to achieve a wide-ranging view and national consensus. The chair shall be fair and impartial.
The secretary of the Standardization Group is provided by SFS. The secretary coordinates activities of the group and manages the development of European, international and national draft standards according to the guidance given in SFS Guides 4 and 5. The secretary shall be fair and impartial.
The Standardization Group may establish Working Groups for different matters and it may consult experts.
5 Distribution of material and copyright
The Standardization Group has a website containing all the standardization material relevant to the sector of the group. These materials include:
- agendas and minutes of the meetings of the Standardization Group
- work documents of the CEN and ISO Committees
- draft standards at the enquiry and approval stages
- travel reports.
CEN and ISO work documents and draft standards available on the website of the Standardization Group are protected by copyright. Members of the Standardization Group may use such material for standardization purposes only. No such material shall be shared with anyone outside the Standardization Group unless it is for the purpose of requesting comments from colleagues in the member’s organization. Only members of the Standardization Group have access to the website of the Standardization Group.
When a Standardization Group member proposes certain material to be included in the standard (such as drafts, images or associated documents) during the development of SFS, CEN or ISO standards, the copyright of these materials shall be transferred to SFS, CEN or ISO. No transfer of copyright shall take place if the matter relating to such material is not included in the finished standard.
6 Meetings and decision making
The secretary keeps minutes of the Standardization Group meetings. The minutes should include at least the date of the meeting, the names of the participants, the issues covered and the decisions made. If a member cannot participate in a meeting, he or she may express his or her opinion on the matter beforehand in written form. A member can, in advance and in writing, authorize another member of the Standardization Group to vote in his or her stead or appoint a proxy from his or her own organization.
The aim is to make decisions and take positions by consensus. If consensus cannot be achieved, the decision shall be based on majority rule with each member having one vote. If votes are divided equally, the chair shall have the casting vote. At the meetings, the votes of members present as well as votes submitted by absent members, informed of the vote prior to the meeting, shall be counted.
6.2 Processing the comments
Based on comments on draft standards, the statements regarding Finnish position shall be drawn up by the secretary of the Standardization Group. When necessary, the Standardization Group shall confirm these statements. Any disputes shall be settled by negotiating online or calling a meeting of the group.
6.3 Taking the principles of competition legislation into account
The Standardization Group shall take into account the principles of competition legislation. Guidance on competition legislation is given in CEN-CENELEC Guide 31 (Competition law for participants in CEN-CENELEC activities) and ISO Competition Law Guidelines for Participants in the ISO Standards Development Process. In meetings of Standardization Groups, no information that can be treated as a trade secret or that can have an effect on the pricing or market behaviour of the companies involved shall be exchanged.
Should there be any ambiguity on the legality of any action, legal counselling shall be sought.
7 Participating in international or European Working Groups or meetings
The Standardization Group decides who represents Finland in CEN and ISO Committee meetings (TC/PC/SC) and which experts are appointed to the Working Groups (WG). Delegates participating in meetings and experts appointed to Working Groups shall be members of the Standardization Group.
When making statements and expressing views in European and international TC, SC and PC meetings, the delegates shall adhere to the policy adopted by the Standardization Group.
In the CEN and ISO Working Groups, experts represent their own expertise and the views of their organization when participating. In WG meetings, experts shall take into account any consensus positions reached by the Standardization Group.
Having attended a Committee meeting, the expert shall draw up a memo, which the secretary then distributes to all the Standardization Group members.
The costs of managing the secretariat duties of the Standardization Group are covered by charging an annual participation fee from the members or by funding from other parties.
Information on the participation fees of the different Standardization Groups can be found on the SFS website.
SFS reviews changes in funding needs annually.