Adoption of a new work item in a CEN Technical Committee

This page sets out advice on the procedure to be followed by a CEN Technical Committee (TC) that wishes to adopt a new work item within its work programme.


This procedure applies to:

  • work items to become European Standards (EN), Technical Specifications (CEN/TS) and Technical Reports (CEN/TR);
  • work items to become amendments to ENs;
  • work items to become revisions of ENs (e.g. as a result of the review of an EN);
  • work items to convert a CEN/TS into an EN (e.g. as a result of the review of the CEN/TS);
  • work items to replace an existing CEN/TS by a new edition of the CEN/TS;
  • work items to replace an existing CEN/TR by a new edition of the CEN/TR.

It does not apply to proposals for new work outside the scope of an existing TC or to new fields of activity. For more information, see the process 'Proposal for new activity field'.

A distinction is made between 'pre-adoption', which is the stage before which the work item is adopted and becomes part of the active work programme, and 'adoption' at which point the timeframe for the development of the CEN deliverable (EN, CEN/TS or CEN/TR) commences and the resources of the CEN System should be committed to the work.

If the TC wishes to change the status of the project from 'pre-adoption' to 'adopted', a first draft should be available for the work item. The first draft need not be fully developed but the TC should be confident that a mature draft will be achievable within the normal timeframe determined for the deliverable.

When a first draft is not available, the TC is invited to undertake a 'Feasibility Study' to confirm that the development of a first draft from a 'blank sheet of paper' is possible within the normal timeframe for the deliverable.


Clause 11.1.1 of the CEN/CENELEC Internal Regulations – Part 2 states that:
"CEN/CENELEC deal with precise and limited subjects for which standardization is clearly and urgently needed, which can be pursued with intensive work and which are approved for inclusion in their programme of work."

Hence, when adopting a new work item, the CEN/TC must always bear in mind that, once it has been agreed to produce a standard (or other deliverable) on a given subject, the TC remains accountable for the timely delivery of the standard in question.

An early check on the viability of an intended new work item, either through the availability of a first draft or through the completion of a feasibility study, is considered essential in facilitating the achievement of the timeframes for the development of the CEN deliverables. The aim of this procedure is to allow the TCs flexibility in supporting these objectives in a manner consistent with the delegation of authority for preparing drafts to the working level.



The CEN/CENELEC Internal Regulations - Part 2 confirms that proposals may originate from:

  • the CEN Members;
  • the CEN technical bodies;
  • the EC or EFTA Secretariat;
  • international organizations;
  • European trade, professional, technical or scientific organizations.

3.2 The proposal for a new work item

The proposal is documented by completing the New Work Item proposal form that is to be submitted to the TC secretariat.

If the New Work Item proposal is intended to be adopted in the active work programme of the TC, the proposal should preferably be accompanied by a first draft.

For WIs candidate as CEN homegrown standards and standards under Vienna Agreement (VA) with CEN lead  - i.e. WIs following the track ‘Enquiry + Formal Vote’ –  the TC Secretary shall use the new IT tool in the Projex Online Working Area to make an accurate planning of the target dates for the dispatch of the relevant drafts – 1st Working Draft, Enquiry and Formal Vote drafts. This planning shall be part of the relevant proposal submitted to the TC.

The TC Secretariat shall systematically use the NWI ballot template available in the CIB (Committee Internal Balloting) for taking a TC decision on the New Work Item proposal.

The TC decides on one of the two actions below via a delegated decision:

  • assignment of the proposed work item to the Preliminary stage (i.e. pre-adoption);
  • adoption of the proposed work item.

NOTE: When a work item is put at the Preliminary stage, it receives a work item number. This work item number is maintained once the item is transferred to the active work programme of the TC.

3.3  Pre-adoption and the preliminary stage

Pre-adoption enables the TC to define its future programme through a Preliminary stage.  Items may be moved from the preliminary stage to the active work programme when either:

  • a first draft is available;
  • the TC agrees that a first draft can be developed within the timescale for the deliverable (e.g. on the acceptance by the TC of the report of a Feasibility Study).

The value of the 'Preliminary stage' is as a tool through which the TC can ensure that its active work programme is limited to a size that reflects the environment in which it operates. This environment is determined by a number of factors e.g. the resources available to the TC and its WGs; the need for research in support of one or more proposed items; the urgency with which items in its programme are required to meet market needs, etc. Hence, it is possible for a TC to put a proposed item at the Preliminary stage, even if a first draft is immediately available, if it does not believe that it has the resources needed to progress the item within the appropriate timeframe.

The 'Preliminary stage' is a field within Projex that ensures the visibility of both the intended and active work programme of the committee.

The resources of the CEN System (i.e. those of the CEN Members and CCMC) may only be used to progress items which are adopted and for which the timeframe has started. This however does not prevent the TC or WGs from working on items that are at the Preliminary stage, or developing a first draft or developing a Feasibility Study.
It is recommended to the TC to review those items at 'Preliminary stage' at least annually to determine whether all of the items are still of potential relevance to the market. Those that are not should be deleted.

Preliminary work items have to be activated within 3 years of their creation to avoid being automatically deleted from the work programme.

3.4 The feasibility study

The Feasibility Study is intended as a tool through which the TC can determine, in the absence of a first draft, whether it is possible to deliver a first draft from a 'blank sheet of paper' within the timeframe required by a CEN deliverable.  Its use is not obligatory but is strongly recommended in case the BT asks for evidence that a thorough evaluation of the work was undertaken.  The Study may be especially valuable where the proposal is for a package of work items.

The Feasibility Study is not relevant if the proposal is for:

  • the revision of an EN;
  • the amendment of an EN;
  • an item under the Vienna Agreement with ISO lead;

3.4.1 Agreement to the Feasibility Study
The agreement to conduct a Feasibility Study is recorded in a TC decision (either in a meeting or by correspondence).  The decision states the date by which the TC expects the report of the Study to be available.  It is vital that the decision to undertake the Study is made in an unambiguous and transparent way in order to ensure that all interested parties are able to contribute to the Study and take part in its evaluation. TCs are encouraged to use electronic means to achieve broad participation.

The TC nominates one person to be responsible for the Feasibility Study. This person could be the proposer of the item, a TC member, the TC Secretary or the TC Chairperson. However, there should be no requirement for this individual to act as Project Leader for the work item (if eventually adopted) or WG Convenor.

3.4.2  The report from the Feasibility Study
The TC is free to determine the content of the report arising from the Feasibility Study. In scope, its content is similar to that of the 'NWI proposal' Form, but the fullest detail should be provided. Below is a list of elements that could be covered:

  • market relevance: Does the proposal correspond to real market needs? Are there special dangers, problems or difficulties that are intended to be solved? What is the degree of urgency of the development of the deliverable(s)?
  • type of deliverable (EN, CEN/TS or CEN/TR)
  • impact on the TC Business Plan
  • structure required (e.g. new or existing Working Group)
  • resources needed (e.g. Project Leader, WG Convenor, meetings schedule)
  • support to EU/EFTA policy (e.g. New Approach Directives and/or mandates)
  • relationship to other items (e.g. does completion of the deliverable depend upon the publication of other standards?)
  • relationship to other TCs
  • likelihood of consensus
  • dependency on research or round-robin testing
  • commitment to the timeframe for the deliverable
  • international relations (e.g. to ISO)
  • relationship to existing national publications
  • possible support for Keymark or other certification schemes.

Some sectors within CEN (e.g. Machinery) have established sectoral requirements to be considered in the adoption of new work items. These should be reflected in the Feasibility Study and the report.

3.4.3  Evaluation of the Feasibility Study
The report from the Study is discussed at a TC meeting or circulated to the TC members for reaction.  If, through a TC resolution, the TC accepts the Study and, above all, commits itself to the development of the deliverable within the related timeframe, the proposal for the new work item(s) may be submitted to the adoption procedure.

In cases where the report from the Study is rejected, the TC may decide to revise the Study, maintain the proposals on the Register or delete them.

3.5 The adoption of work items

When preparing the NWI proposal through the IT tool in the Projex Online Working Area for CEN homegrown WIs, WIs from CEN-CLC/JTCs with CEN lead and WI under Vienna Agreement (VA) with CEN lead, in light of the principles of the Flexible standards development process, due attention should be paid by the TC to the planning of the three target dates in the section ‘Project Management’ of the NWI form: 

  • 1st WD (stage code 20.60) - The target date for providing CCMC with a first working draft shall be indicated. This date corresponds to the half of the time planned to dispatch the Enquiry draft.
  • ENQ (stage code 30.99) - The target date for providing CCMC with the draft for Enquiry shall be indicated. 
  • FV (stage code 45.99) - The target date for providing CCMC with the final draft for Formal Vote shall be indicated.

NOTE: For WIs of CEN-CLC/JTCs, TBOs are requested to include in the NWIP (in addition to the above targets dates) the corresponding duration, expressed in number of weeks, of stage (a) and (e) (see Appendix D of the Flexible standards development process). The indication of the duration of the single stages in weeks will help CCMC to encode correctly the data in the database and ensure that TC has no time penalties in case work is delayed because of reasons not depending on TC work (e.g. CLC/BT approval of the NWIP fails and more time is needed for a green light).

These planning dates are defined by the Technical Body officers - TC Chair and TC Secretary - in cooperation with WG Convenor taking into account TC/WG needs and resources.

Operational criteria for the determination of the duration of these stages are to be carefully applied as in the Flexible standards development process (see Par. 4).

While WIs from CEN-CLC/JTCs are to be approved by CEN and CENELEC Technical Boards, CEN/TC WIs are adopted by the TC through a delegated decision. The decision shall confirm the planning dates,
record that the adoption of the item was based on the availability of a first draft or on the commitment of the TC to deliver a first draft within the target dates set for the deliverable.  If it is the second case, the decision shall also record whether it was based on the outcome of a Feasibility Study (together with the reference of the TC decision adopting the report from the Study).  In all cases, the decision commits the TC to developing the deliverable within the target date.


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