Organisations wishing to become an SDO are usually representative organisations (e.g. industry association, professional body, consumer association) with a membership of allied interests (organisations and/or individuals). They normally have the objective of furthering the interests or status of their members or constituents and provide a range of membership services such as education, research and advocacy. They may have an existing series of publications such as guides, training material or codes. Representative organisations are mostly non-profit but may have commercial subsidiaries.
It is also expected that an the organisation will have appropriate recognition and standing within its sector and have a knowledge of the interests and the issues impacting its business sector, profession and/or industry..While the SDO is a representative body looking after its constituents, they must be aware that they will need to maintain neutrality and independence throughout the standards development process. This means they will not be able to dictate, or even directly influence, the content of the final standard. The organisation is providing a neutral platform for development of standards that will benefit their sector as a whole.
Standards Australia does not accredit organisations to develop standards in a sector where other SDOs are operating. This means that each SDO will have a defined scope of standardisation, but are free to develop any standards within that scope. This is to avoid separate organisations developing conflicting standards on the same topic, thus causing confusion for users.
Accreditation will be assessed on the organisation’s compliance with the provisions of the Requirements for Accreditation of Standards Development Organisations. Before proceeding further with an application, organisations are advised to carefully read this document to ensure they understand the resources required and the processes they need to put in place. Organisations who already develop their own publications such as guides or codes will generally have most of the infrastructure in place.
Where this infrastructure is not in place, or where resources may not be available, organisations may be better off approaching Standards Australia and arranging development of the standard through one of their pathways.