In an era where the global standards market is gaining more and more international importance and recognition, CEN has introduced the CEN Workshop (WS) structure and process. This open process aims at bridging the gap between industrial consortia that produce de facto standards with the limited participation of interested parties, and the formal European standardization process which produces standards through consensus under the authority of CEN member bodies. CEN WSs are flexible structure that benefits from the openness and consensus that are key values of CEN.
The CEN Workshop offers a new mechanism and approach to standardization - a place where clients can bring their standardization and specification requirements and are given the opportunity to find a solution in an environment 'tailor-made' for their needs. The Workshop concept provides a unique opportunity for any party faced with a challenge to find others in a similar situation, and to develop a result by consensus, validated in an open arena.
The procedures for setting up and operating Workshops are deliberately kept to a minimum and all the decision-making powers rest with the interested parties themselves - the members of the Workshop. These include all market players (industry, service providers, administrations, users and consumers) and can come from any part of the globe. They are responsible for the funding and direction of the Workshop and for the approval of the deliverables.
The main activity of a CEN Workshop is the development and publication of the CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA).
Workshops can be introduced anywhere in the CEN environment, but the pressing needs of the Information Society meant that they were introduced first in the ICT area. The concept has since been successively applied to the non-ICT areas of CEN's activities.
Special consideration whether or not to create a Workshop is given:
where the proposed Secretariat of the WS and CCMC have identified a Technical body at European or International level (ISO, IEC, CEN and/or CLC) dealing with a topic similar to the proposed WS;
where the proposed Secretariat of the WS and CCMC have identified management system's aspects to be dealt with in the future WS;
where the proposed Secretariat of the WS and CCMC have identified Conformity Assessment's aspects to be dealt with in the proposed Workshop
The full text of the CEN Workshop Guidelines is available as a BOSS (Business Operations Support System) document.