CEN policy on Technical Committee restructuring

This page explains how to operate with Subcommittees


The CEN Optimization process identified a three-layer model as an ideal for the organization of the CEN technical structures:

  • The CEN Technical Board (CEN/BT) (responsible for the development and adoption of technical policy and the management of the overall CEN technical programme)
  • The CEN Technical Committees (CEN/TCs) (responsible for the planning and management of individual programmes of work within the overall CEN technical programme)
  • The Working Groups (WGs) under CEN Technical Committees (responsible for the drafting of standards within the individual programmes of work)

The three-layer model does not recognize a continued need for the Subcommittees (SCs) and confirms the principle of the CEN/CENELEC Internal Regulations - Part 2, 3.3.1 that a CEN Technical Committee should function through Working Groups alone.

BT/WG 103 was therefore set up by the CEN Technical Board to consider possible improvements to the technical structures, and, in particular, the role of Subcommittees within the context of the three-layer model.
The main target of CEN's work is the development of ENs and Technical Committees must have the right size and structure to play their appropriate role in this work.

Through its resolution BT 53/1999 "TC Restructuring - Way to proceed", the Technical Board decided on how to proceed.


2.1 Treatment and operation for new Subcommittees and new work items

The creation of new Subcommittees is not allowed.
Furthermore, new work items should not be allocated to the work programme of a Subcommittee. If allocation of a new Work Item is considered necessary, the reasons shall be documented and justified.

2.2 Treatment and operations of existing Subcommittees

Existing Subcommittees should be treated in different ways, according to specific circumstances.
The decision on how to proceed should be taken by the parent Technical Committee (with the assistance of CEN/TCMG or CEN Technical Board, if so desired), as soon as the Technical Committee wishes so but on the condition that the migration to the new structure is achieved (when the last work item in the Subcommittee work programme reaches Stage 45.99 (receipt of text for vote));

Ways to proceed:

  • The Subcommittee should be transposed into a new Technical Committee, if there are several Working Groups under the Subcommittee, the Subcommittee work programme is extensive and clearly separated from the work of the parent Technical Committee, and the Subcommittee carries out management-oriented work.
    NOTE: A precondition for the transposition into a Technical Committee is the fulfilment of all relevant duties, e.g. the development of a Technical Committee Business Plan and its adoption by the CEN Technical Board.
  • The Subcommittee should be transposed into a Working Group, if no Working Group under the Subcommittee exist, and the work of the Subcommittee is technically-oriented.
  • The Subcommittee should be disbanded, if

• the Subcommittee does no technical work, 
• the number of Working Groups under the Subcommittee is small, 
• its work programme is not extensive.

In this case, the Working Groups of the Subcommittee will become Working Groups of the Technical Committee. Responsibility for the complete programme of work will therefore be transferred to the Technical Committee.

  • If none of these possibilities applies, the Subcommittee should stay as it is until finalization of its work programme, and then be disbanded.

In this case, the Working Groups of the Subcommittees will be disbanded too, with the responsibility for maintenance of the relevant standards transferred to the Technical Committee.

  • As long as a Subcommittee stays, it shall

• concentrate on technical management; 
• constitute Working Groups to do technical elaboration of standards without re-opening technical debates of Working Groups;
• refrain from technical detailed discussions on draft standards and from undertaking "Subcommittee enquiries" on drafts; 
• decide the progressing (to CEN Enquiry, to Formal Vote) of drafts by simple majority voting.


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