Skip to Content

History of accreditation

 In 1995 The Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Australia’s Standards and Conformance Infrastructure (Kean Inquiry) was released and actively encouraged standards developers in Australia. The Kean Inquiry recommended:

 Recommendation 26
Standards Australia reorganise its structure to enable it to serve more effectively as peak body for standards writing in Australia specifically by

  • establishing a process for accreditation of other standards writers which is to be entirely independent of its existing procedures for standards writing
  • establishing a comparable independent process for approval of standards, both written in-house and by other standards writers
  • establishing for distribution and publication of standards fixed and public procedures and prices which allow for an appropriate return to the standards writer for the intellectual property
In 1996 the Standards Accreditation Board (SAB) was created. During this period two organisations were accredited, the first being ACIF (Australian Communications Industry Forum) now the Communications Alliance (CA).
In 2005/2006 Standards Australia undertook a significant internal review of its direction, structure and focus. This review identified the need for a significant upgrade in the role of the SAB, not least because Standards Australia decided to seek accreditation for its own Australian Standards development activities.
In 2006 the Productivity Commission report on In 2006 the Productivity Commission report on Standard Setting and Laboratory Accreditation Standard Setting and Laboratory Accreditation was presented in November and considered the role of the SAB both in general Australian Standards development and within the context of the Standards Australia organisation.
Recommendation 5.2:
The Australian Government should continue to recognise the role of the Standards Accreditation Board in accrediting other standards development organisations to make Australian Standards providing:
  • The Board has sufficient separation and autonomy from the other functions of Standards Australia;  
  • Requirements for accreditation are rigorous transparent and consistently applied; and
  • The Board should be renamed the Accreditation Board for Australian Standards.


In 2007 the SAB was reconstituted as the Accreditation Board for Standards Development Organisations (ABSDO). Between 2006 and 2015 a further four organisations were accredited.


At the request of Standards Australia, an independent review was undertaken by Cameronralph Navigator of the governance and structure of the ABSDO and to consider: what had changed in the past 20 or so years since ABSDO’s establishment; what was likely to change into the future; and whether the current arrangements were still the most effective and efficient way to encourage and oversight the accreditation of standards development organisations.

The review found that ABSDO accreditation and the SDO processes were robust and had produced high quality, credible standards. However the system had not fully leveraged the SDO pathway and had performed poorly by not making potential SDOs aware of the pathway and supporting them to consider it and take it up. The review did find there was strong stakeholder support for an independent accreditation pathway and that there should be multiple supported pathways to Australian Standards.

The consultant concluded there was a need for closer integration of the processes of promoting, choosing and overseeing the best fit pathways to Australian Standards – within a governance framework that continues to provide stakeholders with confidence in the independence of that oversight. 

Accordingly, they recommended ABSDO should be brought closer to the governance process that oversees Standards Australia’s standards prioritisation process. This was to ensure the option of using the SDO pathway is more actively considered when a potential standard is being proposed, and also to ensure that existing groups of standards that might lend themselves to being looked after by an SDO are also considered. This was to be achieved by bringing ABSDO close to the Standards Development Committee with a view to them both working together. ABSDO was to have a dual reporting role - to the SA Board and the SA Council

In light of the findings, the Standards Australia Council ultimately voted to abolish ABSDO and assign the accreditation function and powers to the Standards Australia Board. They, in turn, delegated the accreditation powers to the Standards Development and Accreditation Committee (SDAC)