CEN, the European Committee for Standardization, was founded in 1961 by the national standards bodies in the European Economic Community and EFTA countries. CEN is one of three European standards organizations recognized by the EU. Its members are national standard bodies in EU and EFTA countries, now 28.
CEN/ISSS, the Information Society Standardization System, is responsible for standards work in ICT applications. It provides consensus platforms for ICT applications. CEN/ISSS operate a variety of different types of consensus groups: Workshops, Focus Groups and Technical Committes. The common theme is that any company or organization interested in a specific activity can participate and agree consensus on ICT application standards, specifications, and guidance material. The end result may be formal European Standards (ENs) or CEN Workshop Agreements (CWAs) - consensus documents which can contain specifications and/or informative material, produced on a rapid basis (1-2 years).
A CEN/ISSS Workshop is a flexible platform open to any company or organization, for rapid elaboration of consensus documents at European level.
The Workshop Business Plan defines scope, objectives and timescale. The results are published in documents called CEN Workshop Agreements (CWAs). CWAs are valid for a period of three years from publication date; they are available on the CEN web site and from National Standards Body. The CWAs which were produced in the framework of the eEurope 2005 initiative are freely available on the web; for the others you might be required to pay a fee for downloading.
The Workshop works mainly electronically, through exange of information and document on an ad hoc electronic list. Few meetings are scheduled during the Workshop duration.
The Workshop is led by a Workshop Chair, vice-Chairs (optional) and a Secretary (a CEN member) who are elected by Workshop members at the Workshop kick-off meeting.
At the end of this process the CWA might be left as is or, on initiative of the industry or other organization, it might begin the process of formalization in CEN or at international level. It can be updated after the 3 year period.
CWA are available in English unless a national standard organization or an industry, on its own initiative, translate it.