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

CEN/BT WG 220 FinTech published a mapping of standards landscape
CEN /BT WG 220 ‘Fintech’ released a report (Standardization mapping for Fintech) that considers the standards landscape relevant to the financial technology (FinTech) industry, namely technology-enabled financial services and related industries. This mapping report indicates a number of gaps where formal, private or industry standards could be developed to support specific FinTech initiatives.
In the upcoming months, CEN will further explore with FinTech industry stakeholders to determine where such standards would make a positive impact. Cross-sector issues for FinTech such as identity management and data protection, given the regulatory environment, were also identified as being potential areas where standards might provide assurance to customers and clients. It was equally considered that there was a gap for a standard set of definitions and terminologies for FinTech.
CEN developed a ‘Strategic Plan on services standardization’

The ‘CEN Strategic Advisory Board on Services (CEN/SAGS)’ has recently published a ‘Strategic Plan’ providing a strong and clear framework to further engage with service stakeholders in view of better understanding their needs.

This initiative has been developed in support of CEN-CENELEC Ambitions 2020 and in recognition of the untapped potential for economic growth of the services market in Europe.

The ‘Strategic Plan’ took into account the specific challenges for services businesses (mostly SMEs), the main trends, the new business models and the changes in buyers’ patterns that are affecting how services are being delivered and consumed.

An action plan, consisting of 10 actions, was drawn up by CEN and its members in order to implement this strategic plan. 


Upcoming events

  • None at the moment

Technical bodies and activities

CEN currently active Technical Committees, which work is related to the services' field:
  • CEN/TC 319 - Maintenance
  • CEN/TC 320 - Transport – Logistics and services
  • CEN/TC 329 - Tourism services
  • CEN/TC 331 - Postal services
  • CEN/TC 348 - Facility management
  • CEN/TC 381 - Management Consultancy Services
  • CEN/TC 403 - Aesthetic Surgery  and aesthetic non-surgical medical Services
  • CEN/TC 409 - Beauty salon services
  • CEN/TC 419 - Forensic science services
  • CEN/TC 427 - Services of Medical Doctors with additional qualification in Homeopathy
  • CEN/TC 431 - Service chain for Social Care Alarms
  • CEN/TC 432 - Competency for Customs representatives
  • CEN/TC 435 - Tattooing services
  • CEN/TC 439 - Private security services
  • CEN/TC 445 - Data information interchange in the Insurance Industry
  • CEN/TC 447- Horizontal standards for the provision of services
  • CEN/TC 448- Funeral services
  • CEN/TC 449- Quality of care for elderly people in ordinary or residential care facilities
  • CEN/TC 450- Patient involvement in person-centred care
  • CEN/TC 452- Assistance Dog & Guide Dog Teams Standards and Instructors Competences
  • CEN/CENELEC TC 4 - Project Committee - Services for fire safety and security systems

Besides the TCs dealing with the healthcare services sector, a CEN Focus Group on Healthcare Services (HSFG) was created in 2016.

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.


  • WS 78 - Competences for dog training professionals
  • WS 81 - Postal supply chain security (SAFEPOST)
  • WS 94 - Competences of hotel general manager

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).

CEN is currently working on the following Mandates from the European Commission:
  • M/516 on facilities and equipment for interpretation services

    The standardization work under M/516 was accepted by CEN in May 2013. The M/516 work programme consisting of four work items is currently under development, ISO/TC 37/SC 5 ‘Translation, interpreting and related technology’ has the lead for the preparation of the work programme.


  • 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