How Is Final Approval Obtained?
The IEEE SA Standards Board approves or disapproves standards based on the recommendation of its Standards Review Committee (RevCom). This committee makes sure working groups follow all procedures and guiding principles in drafting and balloting a standard. As with PARs, completed draft standards come before the Board four times a year or during the continuous approval process. After approval, the standard is edited by an IEEE SA editor, given a final review by the members of the working group, and published.
A standard is valid for ten years from its approval date. During this time, a working group can develop and ballot revisions or extensions to the standard, which are appended as amendments. After ten years, a standard is revised or withdrawn.
Revisions require PAR approval and follow the normal balloting process (75% return and 75% approval) and approval by the Standards Board. Out-of-date standards can be withdrawn by going through a balloting process that requires a 50% return and a 75% approval rate.
Approval of an IEEE standard is achieved by submitting the document and supporting material to RevCom, which issues a recommendation that is ratified or denied by the IEEE SA Standards Board. Important things to remember at this stage are to supply all the necessary documentation, such as rebuttals to unresolved negative ballots. The Working Group should also examine the PAR to ensure that the final document produced is still within the scope defined by the PAR and that the draft title is within the scope of the PAR. RevCom will check over all the documentation and make sure that the IEEE SA procedures were followed. RevCom will not determine anything concerning the technical nature of the document. That is the role of the balloting group.
RevCom examines whether or not the principles of consensus, due process, openness, and balance were followed throughout development of the standard. RevCom will carefully examine the resolution of negative votes to ensure that this has been done.
All packages submitted to RevCom must be received by a certain deadline, which is set for each meeting. However, RevCom does offer an early consideration cycle for submissions that arrive early and that appear to be complete submissions. Therefore, the Working Group Chair should make sure the materials are carefully and clearly organized so the draft can possibly be included in the early consideration program.
Finally, keep in mind that RevCom and NesCom merely make recommendations to the IEEE SA Standards Board for approval or disapproval of a project via a consent agenda. Projects can be pulled off this consent agenda for further discussion or a recommended change of action. Final approval of all documents and PARs ultimately rests with the IEEE SA Standards Board. And remember, all IEEE SA Standards Board and committee meetings are open for you to attend.
The final imperative principle behind standardization is that of the right of appeal. In the IEEE Standards program there are two types of appeals: procedural and technical. Appeals can be made by anyone at any point in the process, but prior to standards approval they will automatically be given, via the Standards Committee, to the Working Group to be addressed. Once the standard is approved, if there is still a concern an appeal can be addressed to the IEEE SA Standards Board. Appeals are handled by the IEEE SA Standards Board after processes within the Standards Committee are exhausted.
Appeals must be filed within a certain time limit as specified by the IEEE SA Standards Board Operations Manual, and there is a timetable for responses as well. The IEEE SA Standards Board usually handles appeals by setting up a special appeals committee, which will determine whether or not there’s a need for a hearing on the issue and make a recommendation based on its consensus judgment. The appeals committee is made up of Board members who were not actively involved in the standard’s development.