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Standardization in the Services sector has been developing rapidly in recent years. At both European and international level, there is a tendency to develop standards for Services and the sector includes the development of standards in subjects other than those of the Engineering Science. Service standards are a useful tool for promoting good practice, disseminating knowledge and defining common terminology.
Standardization of Services can affect the market and the society in general, as it encourages healthy competition, protects consumer rights and contributes to the economic development and technological advancement of a country. In recent years, the contribution of the service sector standards has been particularly important in relation to the public services offered to the citizen of each country, thus contributing also to the sustainable development of the public sector.
Applying standards in the Services sector benefits both consumers and businesses. Consumer confidence in the services offered to them is increasing, while businesses gain significant competitive advantages, such as better quality, lower costs, time savings, prestige, customer retention.
Tourism, Shipping, Finance, Human Resource Management, Sustainable Development, Excellence, Transport, Innovation are some of the main fields of the Services sector. Bearing this in mind the Mirror Standardization Committee CYS / MC 12 "Services" has been established at the national level, with the aim of systematically monitoring the work performed at the European and International Technical Services Standardization Committees. Seven subcommittees have been created under the umbrella of the CYS / MC 12. Each subcommittee deals with one of the following specific thematic fields: Business Support Services, Cultural Heritage Preservation, Human Resources Management, Tourist & Postal Services, Terminology & Language Resources, Education and Training.
At European and international level, a number of Technical Committees have been set up with the mission of developing standards for Services. At CEN, there are 20 such Technical Committees active and the Service sector is divided in 8 main sectors. Also, the CEN / CA Strategic Advisory Group on Services (SAGS), which is an advisory body to the CEN Board of Directors on policy and strategy issues related to European Services Standardization, operates at the same time.
The European Commission has recently requested from CEN with its directive (M / 517), among others, the development of horizontal standards in the field of Services, i.e. standards that can be used by any type and size of organization and company. To this end, CEN / TC 447: Services - procurement, contracts and performance assessment have been set up and three standards are in the draft stage.
ISO has also set up Committees to deal with the increasingly important sector of Sustainable Development. As a result, and in order to meet the new requirements from both the industry and the consumers, it has recommended ISO / TC 312: Excellence in Service, ISO / TC 322: Sustainable Finance, ISO / TC 228 / WG 13: Sustainable Tourism, ISO / TC 228 WG 14: Accessible Tourism.
In addition, in the Services sector, the International Technical Committee ISO / COPOLCO, Committee on Consumer Policy, operates, which develops standards for the sector and also promotes the rights and interests of consumers during the standards development process.
The ISO Technical Council (ISO / TMB) has developed the popular ISO 26000 standard entitled "Guidance on Social Responsibility", which provides guidelines for the proper implementation of corporate social responsibility by companies and organizations wishing to operate in a way that is responsible to their staff, their partners, the environment and society in general.