Todays date:
22 April 2018

THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING STANDARDS

The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) is mandated to facilitate the development of standards. Standards are rules and/or guidelines, that are presented (developed) for use within various fields of practice as required; following studies and consensus, standards are presented for use as approved, by agencies recognised internationally, such as a National Standards Body.

Some standards, as they apply to products, processes or production methods may include or deal exclusively with terminologies, symbols, packaging, marking requirements or labelling requirements.

To develop any standard by consensus is crucial. Consensus is the general agreement, achieved by all of the parties concerned as to a specific standard being developed.

Standards are important for the development of any economy, since they provide the benchmark for quality, consistency and reliability. Standards provide confidence and there is an agreement for example on either: specification, size, appearance, quality, safety, performance, security or any other criteria, for the product, process or service under consideration.

In Guyana, we often observe inconsistencies in the quality of some products being sold or certain services being delivered. If you encounter any of these, it is a clear indication that a standard has not been: developed, implemented or enforced.

In this week’s article, the GNBS would be outlining the process to have standards developed, therefore, as consumers and citizens of Guyana; anyone can submit a request to the GNBS for a standard to be developed, to address the quality, safety or performance of any product, process or service under consideration.

The standards development process comprises of the following steps:

  1. The standards development process begins with the completion of a New Work Item Proposal (NWIP) which is submitted by the proposer. This NWIP documents all information which justifies the need for a particular standard. This completed form must be submitted to the GNBS for consideration.
  1. The completed NWIP and any supporting documents submitted to GNBS, are evaluated and assigned priority based on: social and economic importance, stakeholders perceived needs, and future needs, in keeping with National Development Plans and Policies.
  2. The National Standards Council (NSC) reviews the submission and decides whether to approve or reject the proposal based on its importance and relevance.
  3. Once approved, research is done by the GNBS to identify whether such a standard exist at similar International, Regional or other National Standard Bodies (e.g. ISO, IEC, ASTM, ANSI, BS). If a suitable standard is found it is either 1) adopted (as is), or 2) modified.

Further, if no standard is available, further research on the subject is conducted and a draft standard is prepared by the assigned technical committee.

  1. The Draft standard is prepared by the GNBS and is reviewed by a Technical Committee (TC) comprised of members from government, private sector, consumer, academia, individual and NGOs.
  2. After the Technical Committee has approved the draft standard, it is advertised for Public Comments for a period of 60 days. Public Consultation sessions are held during this time. In urgent cases, the fast tract method is utilized. The comments period will be reduced to 30 days. This is a very important stage in the standards development process, since it ensures that manufacturers, importers, consumers, regulators and other interested parties are provided with an opportunity to comment on the proposed requirements of the standard under development.
  1. All of the comments received from stakeholders during the Public consultation period are reviewed by TC, which determines whether each comment is accepted or rejected (with justification). A final draft is prepared by the GNBS and submitted to the NSC for approval as a Guyana Standard. Once approved, the standard is published and available for sale at the GNBS.

To make a Guyana Standard mandatory, a request can be made by any stakeholder and a justification must accompany such a request. The National Standards Council reviews the request and once the Council is satisfied, the request is forwarded to the Minister of Business with recommendations for it to be made mandatory. All mandatory standards are Gazetted.Standards Development

In order to ensure consistency and reliability in the production and delivery of quality products and services, standards must be developed and implemented. Let us all be observant and develop the culture of using standards, to improve our local products and services.

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