Just over 12 months ago, Standards Australia embarked upon our most significant change to date – the Technical Governance Review (TGR). This project was about putting the thousands of contributors front and centre in all aspects of our digital transformation and business improvement agenda.
With the support of cameron.ralph.khoury, and dozens of submissions and workshops with stakeholders right around Australia, we developed an implementation plan to become more strategic, open and proactive.
We’ve learnt a great deal in our first year.
From the success of our monthly project proposal rounds, to the learnings from piloting a new public comment platform, to surveys for the performance evaluation of Standards Australia, and the development of an entirely new contributor portal, there are some great runs on the board already.
As with any long term transformation, we’ve also learnt that not everything will be delivered first time and on time, nor every proposed change will be embraced by our stakeholders. On a number of fronts, the learnings that have come from initial projects will continue to inform our work program as we move on.
We have a further update below which covers the breadth of the work of the Standards Australia team and those working with us to deliver on these initiatives.
As we’ve been talking to our stakeholders on this in committee meetings and other forums, the clear message to us is use the momentum and keep going.
—Adrian O’Connell, Acting Chief Executive Officer
Standards Australia and Techstreet launch new webstore
Standards Australia recently announced a new distribution agreement with Techstreet (a Clarivate Analytics company) aimed at improving access to Australian standards.
As part of this agreement, Standards Australia and Techstreet have launched a new webstore operated by Techstreet accessible via http://store.standards.org.au. Available now, this platform is designed to enrich the experience for users of standards and other technical documents.
Read more in our media release.
Technical Governance Review – one year on
In 2017, Standards Australia’s Board committed to a thorough program of review of our Technical, Company and Accreditation governance arrangements.The Technical Governance Review (TGR) led by independent consultants cameron.ralph.khoury was undertaken through 2017 and 2018. A final report (PDF) was released in April 2018 by cameron.ralph.khoury, and Standards Australia released its response (PDF) shortly after.A number of priorities were addressed in the response, with a clear focus on the six main steps of the standards development process, supported by a three-tiered reform approach. Standards Australia has outlined changes to be implemented as part of this review in the Implementation Plan FY2019 (PDF). The plan highlighted a number of deliverables throughout the four quarters of FY 2018-2019. Highlights of initiatives delivered in the past 12 months are:
- Release of the first phase of the new contributor platform “Connect”
- The pilot for a new online Public Comment platform
- Monthly projects proposal process
- Kick-off workshops across all projects
- Mid-project surveys across all projects to identify and ascertain any early issues and provide feedback on Standards Australia’s performance
- Policy review on appointment, tenure and performance of Committee Chairs
- Independent facilitators and technical writers in place to provide assistance on complex technical committees. A framework and criteria on how to apply these resources has beendeveloped and rolled out with resources in place supporting committees in need.
- Incubator Projects including “red flags” and balloting by stage
Other committed initiatives are underway and will be delivered within this calendar year:
- Training for Committee Chairs and Nominating Organisations
- Development of framework to better resolve disputes
- Process for parallel adoptions of international standards to be rolled out
Throughout the program, we committed to update our stakeholders on progress of the work – view our quarter 4 report.
The TGR identified the role of Committee Chair as an important variable for committee effectiveness and feedback received from stakeholders highlighted that the performance of current Committee Chairs is inconsistent and does not always align with current expectations.The cameron.ralph.khoury report suggested a number of initiatives relating to improving the performance of Committee Chairs. In our Implementation Plan, Standards Australia has committed, in addition to training for Committee Chairs to be provided both electronically and in person, to review the Policy on appointment, tenure and performance of Committee Chairs. The review of the policy and its approval was finalised in June 2019 and Standards Australia will now progress to Stage 2 of the initiative, by implementing the new policy via a staggered approach ensuring an orderly transition.
Key aspects of the new policy are:
- Formalising appointment and management of tenure (tenure will be formally 3 years with Standards Australia’s Production Management Group (PMG) approval needed for renewal);
- Establishing the concept of Chair-elect to ensure appropriate succession planning;
- Implementing a mechanism for ongoing monitoring of Committee Chairs’ performance by Standards Australia’s PMG.
Further information on next steps will be communicated to current Committee Chairs and members.
TGR - Looking forward (FY20)
As part of our Action Plan (2019-20), Standards Australia launched our TGR Implementation Plan FY2020 (PDF) at our Council Meeting in May 2019. The implementation plan continues to deliver against key recommendations from the TGR and we are once again committed to informing our stakeholders on the progress of the work on an ongoing basis.
Improving reach, access, and relevance of Australian Standards
Standards Australia has been working towards opening up access to our content with the needs of stakeholders and users front of mind. This process has included comprehensive consultation in each capital city across Australia seeking views on our Distribution and Licensing Policy Discussion Paper.
Heading to each capital city has allowed us to hear first hand the views of industry, community groups, business, governments, students, and apprentices and to hear firsthand what has worked well and what can improve in the future.
This is an exciting step towards delivering greater value and improving access to Australian Standards, which is to be taken following careful consideration ensuring Standards Australia’s long term sustainability and the ability to increase the reach and relevance of its content across Australia.
In coming months, the submissions received and comments gathered at consultations will be collated and considered as future distribution processes are finalised by Standards Australia.
Battery storage standard heads to ballot with strong support
In recognition of the need for an installation standard for battery storage devices in Australia, Standards Australia has been working with industry, government and the broader community.
The draft standard has gone through the consensus-based standards development process, with Standards Australia engaging with representatives on the relevant technical committee throughout this process to ensure a wide-range of views have been considered.
Read more in our media release.
Human resource experts to help raise Australian standards
International experts will meet in Sydney in September of this year to continue the work already done in guiding a data driven approach to human resource management.
A group of over 50 international experts are expected to come together and contribute as part of an ISO Technical Committee, ISO/TC 260, Human Resource Management, to develop standards across a broad range of human resource management areas.
Read more in our media release.
Standards Australia – coming to a capital city near you!
Join Standards Australia’s Chairman, Richard Brooks, and members of Standards Australia’s leadership team to discuss and get feedback on our plans to engage stakeholders and deliver standards in a smarter and more efficient way.
Key topics include:
- Improving how we develop standards and the contributor experience
- Our plans to shape the future of our organisation
- An update on our Technical Governance Review
For more details and to register, please click on the links below:
Public comment pilot closing soon
In a continuous effort to make it easier to engage with Standards Australia, we opened a pilot of our new Public Comment system. With a few weeks left before the pilot ends, we encourage you to give it a try and share your feedback with us via firstname.lastname@example.org or this quick survey. We are also excited to show the system in action through a short video,
Help us review the safety around lifejackets
Standards Australia together with technical experts, industry representatives, and the Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee (ARBSC) are hosting a forum regarding the need to revise the current Australian Standard for lifejackets AS 4758, Lifejackets.
The need for a revision of the current standard has been highlighted as some aspects of the current standard need to be updated to reflect improved testing, safety and marking requirements.
The aim of this forum is to:
- Ensure that the standard is robust especially in test methods and servicing requirements to improve the requirements and the potential to prevent loss of life at sea
- To ensure all stakeholders (manufacturers, suppliers, regulators & consumers) come together to reach a consensus on what these revisions could be without negative impact on businesses or safety
- Consider possible international adoptions
See our event details page for more information.
In Conversation with David Solomon
With safety front of mind, David has been involved in standards development for around five years. Representing industry, and as a certified Management System Specialist, David has contributed to one of the larger projects published by Standards Australia – AS/NZS ISO 45001:2018, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use. This was a major international standard, adopted into the Australian system after careful consideration of its impact and is now at work in organisations of varying sizes across the country.
Standards Australia: How long have you been involved in standards development?
David Solomon: I first joined up in October 2014, and given my background I have found it an excellent way to support industries across Australia.
SA: In your area of work, what has been the biggest success?
DS: Without a doubt, the development and publication of ISO 45001. Notwithstanding we had some issues to work through prior to adoption, I think the best aspect of this standard was the way it integrates with other management system standards. While there some concerns about how it would interact with its predecessor, AS/NZS 4801, there was little doubt it would interact well with other management system standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, which assists in streamlining documentation for everyone.
SA: Do you think the broader community understands the role of standards?
DS: I think there is good general understanding, and the Australian public certainly has a level of trust in the work of standards and the content development. There are broader challenges in terms of their uptake given a number of barriers including price, access and the static PDFs which have been the status quo for many years. With the changes happening at Standards Australia, I am hopeful these barriers will be identified and resolved where possible ultimately leading to great access to standards in every sector of the economy.
SA: What does the future of standardisation look like?
DS: Very healthy. There are several programs in place to mentor and educate younger generations on the design and development of standards. Similarly, existing standards experts remain engaged from the broad cross-section of Standards Australia committees I sit on maintaining knowledge about them. And most importantly, it would appear there is a healthy appetite for them from industry.
Standards Australia represents Australia on the two major international standards development bodies, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Our activities are reported on our International Updates page.
Highlights from July (PDF):
- Trade-restrictive measures continue at historically high level
- New ISO standard for urban resilience in development
- Robots, AI and big data pave way for smart farming
Access the latest standards development news in your industry sector via our Sectors page.
Drafts open for comment
The public comment process provides an opportunity for stakeholders and members of the public to make valuable contributions. View draft standards currently open for comment.
Joint forestry standard
The first meeting of the AS/NZS 4708 Sustainable Forest Management Standards Reference Committee on the Gold Coast recently set an ambitious target to develop a joint Australia-New Zealand Sustainable Forest Management Standard (AS 4708).
The joint standard will provide common benchmarks for certified Australian and New Zealand forests.
The new standard must meet PEFC social, economic and environmental benchmarks. The committee is now crafting working proposals ahead of the next meeting in August.