Services 

Services account for between 60 and 70% of the economic activity in the 28 Member States of the European Union. For this reason, the creation of a single market for services has become a top priority for Europe. Standardization is increasingly being used to support the development of the single market for services. The creation and use of European standards can contribute to fostering cross-border trade as well as enhancing safety and performance and ensuring the protection of consumers and the environment.

Standards can set benchmarks against which businesses can measure the quality and performance of their own services or the services they are purchasing, thus improving transparency, competitiveness and increasing efficiency.

Service standards are a useful tool to promote best practices, to spread knowledge throughout the market and to define a common terminology relevant to different services’ sectors. They are increasingly being used in the area of professional qualification and also in areas such as healthcare services.

Some standards are also developed to ensure a certain level of the quality in the provision of services setting out a common and repeatable basis for doing things. They help providers organize their business, clarify the roles and responsibilities of the service provider and demonstrate to their customers that their services meet appropriate levels of safety and quality.

News and events

Technical bodies and activities

CEN currently active Technical Committees, which work is related to the services' field:

Sector Forum

A Sector Forum is a platform aiming at facilitating the exchange of information between the different stakeholders, coordinating and identifying standardization needs and overlap in a specific field of standardization work.
 
The CEN/CA Strategic Advisory Group on Services  (SAGS) acts as an advisory body to the CEN Administrative Board (CEN/CA) on policy and strategic matters in relation to European services standardization. 
 
The Strategic Advisory Group on Services in currently working on a strategy to address European standardization in the field of services. The strategy is expected to be finalised by the end of 2016.
 
 

Workshop(s)

  • WS 75 - Terminology Policy to suport generic applications of Management Systems with focus on small Organizations and in a Multilingual Environment (PROMISLingua)
  • WS 78 - Competences for dog training professionals
  • WS 81 - Postal supply chain security (SAFEPOST)

European legislation and mandates

The role of standardization in the creation of an Internal Market for services has been recognized by the Directive on Services (2006/123). The Directive encourages the development of European standards to facilitate compatibility between services, information to the recipient and quality of service provision. This is confirmed in the more recent Commission Communication on Upgrading the Single Market (COM (2015)550) published in 2015.
 
The new EU Regulation on European standardization (Regulation 1025/2012) also recognises the role of CEN in developing services standards and their contribution to the growth and competitiveness of Europe.
 
In relation to specific service sectors, CEN develops standards in support of the Postal Services Directive (97/67/EC and its amendments).

Mandates
 
CEN is currently working on the following Mandates from the European Commission:
  • M/517 on Horizontal Service Standards

M/517 on Horizontal Service Standards

CEN accepted Mandate M/517 ‘Mandate for the programming and development of horizontal service standards’ in March 2013. The Mandate foresees two phases:

  • Phase 1 consists on the identification a preliminary work programme including six or seven proposals for horizontal service standards in support of the Single Market for services, and their prioritization.
  • Phase 2 consists on the development of European horizontal service stands on the identified priority areas.

CEN finalized the work on Phase 1 of M/517 in November 2014 and sent the final report to the Commission in March 2015. The final report of Phase 1 proposed the following six topics for the development of horizontal service standards during the second phase of the Mandate:

  • Service terminology;
  • Information to the client (before, during or after service provision);
  • Service procurement;
  • Agreement- service contracts (B2B/B2C);
  • Service review – performance measurement;
  • Service review- customer satisfaction measurement.

The European  Commission accepted the final report in May 2015 and indicated to CEN that they would support the development of European horizontal service standards on the following topics:

  • Performance measurement;
  • Service contracts, and;
  • Service procurement.

CEN created in February 2016 a new Technical Committee, CEN/TC 447 'Services - Procurement, contracts and performance assessment', to develop the standards under Phase 2 of the Mandate. The Committee will work as a priority on the three topics supported by the European Commission.

Useful links and documents