Quick & Dirty Standardization

http://www.bsigroup.com/Documents/standards/guide-to-standards/BSI-Guide-to-standards-1-5-standards-types-BSI-UK-EN.pdf (2009)

It can take time to develop consensus standards and for the agreement to go through public review. For some users of standards, particularly those in fast-changing technology sectors, it may be more important to agree on a technical solution and publish it quickly before going through the checks and balances needed to become a British Standard. Therefore, BSI, CEN/CENELEC and ISO/IEC have developped a range of publications that are not formal standards, but allow publication earlier than if full consensus were to be achied. These publications are:

  • Published document (PD)
  • Private subscribed standard (PSS)
  • PAS
  • International publicly availabe specification (ISO/PAS)
  • European or international workshop adreements (CWA/IWA/ITA)


The PAS initially was marketed as “Product Approval Specification”. Later it was renamed to “Publicly Available Specification”. That probably made that pseudo standard more marketable. Originally, the PAS was meant to cope quickly with technoloy progress. However, it also became a tool to create pseudo standards for controversial processes where employers didn’t like the need to find a consensus e.g. with employee organizations. Examples: BS PAS 1010:2010 (Code of practice for managing workplace psychosocial risks and stress, Britain) and DIN SPEC 91020 (Occupational health management, Germany). As for “Published Documents” (PD), the PD 2511:2010 adressing Human Aspects of Business Continuity is a fine example for questionable contributions to the CSR show business.
By the way: In all cases you have to pay lots of money for obtaining these papers. That doesn’t really foster a good public discussion of these “public” documents.