British Standards are the standards produced by BSI Group which is incorporated under a Royal Charter (and which is formally designated as the National Standards Body (NSB) for the UK). The BSI Group produces British Standards under the authority of the Charter, which lays down as one of the BSI's objectives to:
(2) Set up standards of quality for goods and services, and prepare and promote the general adoption of British Standards and schedules in connection therewith and from time to time to revise, alter and amend such standards and schedules as experience and circumstances require
—BSI Royal Charter, Faller and Graham
Formally, as per the 2002 Memorandum of Understanding between the BSI and the United Kingdom Government, British Standards are defined as:
"British Standards" means formal consensus standards as set out in BS 0-1 paragraph 3.2 and based upon the principles of standardisation recognised inter alia in European standardisation policy.
—MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED KINGDOM GOVERNMENT AND THE BRITISH STANDARDS INSTITUTION IN RESPECT OF ITS ACTIVITIES AS THE UNITED KINGDOM'S NATIONAL STANDARDS BODY, United Kingdom Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills
Products and services which BSI certifies as having met the requirements of specific standards within designated schemes are awarded the Kitemark.
British Standards are one of the formal exceptions made to the Restrictive Trade Practices Act. §18(5) of the Act specifies that agreements to comply with British Standards should be disregarded when deciding whether an agreement is a restriction upon trade.
How British Standards are made
The BSI Group as a whole does not produce British Standards, as standards work within the BSI is decentralized. The governing Board of BSI establishes a Standards Board. The Standards Board does little apart from setting up Sector Boards (a Sector in BSI parlance being a field of standardization such as ICT, Quality, Agriculture, Manufacturing, or Fire). Each Sector Board in turn constitutes several Technical Committees. It is the Technical Committees that, formally, approve a British Standard, which is then presented to the Secretary of the supervisory Sector Board for endorsement of the fact that the Technical Committee has indeed completed a task for which it was constituted.
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