October 20, 1993
TO THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS
SUBJECT: Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Standards
b. Standard means a prescribed set of rules, conditions, or requirements concerned with the definition of terms; classification of components; delineation of procedures, specification of dimensions, materials, performance, design, or operations; measurement of quality and quantity in describing materials, products, systems, services, or practices; or descriptions of fit and measurement of size.
c. Voluntary Standards are established generally by private sector bodies, both domestic and international, and are available for use by any person or organization, private or governmental. The term includes what are commonly referred to as "industry standards" as well as "consensus standards", but does not include professional standards of personal conduct, institutional codes of ethics, private standards of individual firms, or standards mandated by law, such as those contained in the United States Pharmacopeia and the National Formulary, as referenced in 21 U.S.C 351.
d. Government Standards include individual agency standards and specifications as well as Federal and Military standards and specifications.
e. Voluntary standards bodies are private sector domestic or international organizations -- such as nonprofit organizations, industry associations, professional and technical societies, institutes, or groups, and recognized test laboratories -- that plan, develop, establish, or coordinate voluntary standards.
f. Standards-developing groups are committees, boards, or any other principal subdivisions of voluntary standards bodies, established by such bodies for the purpose of developing, revising, or reviewing standards, and which are bound by the procedures of those bodies.
g. Adoption means the use of the latest edition of a voluntary standard in whole, in part, or by reference for procurement purposes and the inclusion of the latest edition of a voluntary standard in whole, in part, or by reference in regulation(s).
h. Secretary means the Secretary of Commerce or that Secretary's designee.
b. Participate in voluntary standards bodies when such participation is in the public interest and is compatible with agencies' missions, authorities, priorities, and budget resources; and
c. Coordinate agency participation in voluntary standards bodies so that (1) the most effective use is made of agency resources and representatives; and (2) the views expressed by such representatives are in the public interest and, as a minimum, do not conflict with the interests and established views of the agencies.
b. Participation in Voluntary Standards Bodies
(b) Administrative support; e.g., travel costs, hosting of meetings, and secretarial functions;
(c) Technical support; e.g., cooperative testing for standards evaluation and participation of agency personnel in the activities of standards-developing groups; and
(d) Joint planning with voluntary standards bodies to facilitate a coordinated effort in identifying and developing needed standards.
b. The heads of agencies concerned with standards will:
(b) Ensuring, when two or more agencies participate in a given voluntary standards body or standards-developing group, that they coordinate their views on matters of paramount importance so as to present, whenever feasible, a single, unified position and, where not feasible, a mutual recognition of differences;
(c) Cooperating with the Secretary in carrying out his responsibilities under this Circular;
(d) Consulting with the Secretary, as necessary, in the development and issuance of internal agency procedures and guidance implementing this Circular, including the development and harmonized implementation of an agency-wide directory identifying agency employees participating in standards developing groups; and
(e) Submitting, in response to the request of the Secretary, reports on the status of agency interaction with voluntary standards bodies.
b. Identification of any voluntary standards that have been adopted for the purpose of promoting environmentally sound and energy efficient materials, products, systems, services or practices.
c. An evaluation of the effectiveness of the policy promulgated in this Circular and recommendations for change.
Leon E. Panetta Director