Q&As

What are ISO and BSI standards and which standards should be included in outsourcing agreements?

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Published on LexisPSL on 25/04/2016

The following Commercial Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What are ISO and BSI standards and which standards should be included in outsourcing agreements?
  • What are ISO standards?
  • Other standards bodies
  • Coordination between standards organisations
  • Naming convention
  • Are they legally binding?
  • Which standards should a supplier be obliged to comply with in an outsourcing agreement?

What are ISO and BSI standards and which standards should be included in outsourcing agreements?

What are ISO standards?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) develops and publishes international standards. A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose regardless of where they are supplied or produced. There are standards for a diverse range of subjects including the general provision of services, risk management, reputational protection and the manufacture of specific goods such as road vehicles, food products and industrial materials. In total there are over 19,000 standards.

ISO international standards aim to ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. For business, they are strategic tools that aim to reduce costs by minimising waste and errors, and increasing productivity. They are designed to help companies to access new markets, level the playing field for developing countries and facilitate free and fair global trade.

In commercial agreements, it is reasonably common for customers to require their suppliers to provide their goods or services (or both) in accordance with certain ISO standards.

Other standards bodies

The British Standards Institution (BSI) is the national standards body for the United Kingdom and a member of ISO. BSI has a memorandum of understanding with the UK government, which establishes

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