DIN's technical work is divided between over 70 standards committees, governing everything from A for acoustics, through I for information technology and M for mechanical engineering, to W for welding. What happens however when a standardization topic must be addressed that does not lie within the scope of an existing standards committee? Although this rarely happens, rules and procedures are in place for new standards committees to be formed should the scenario arise.
All rules governing the formation and disbanding of standards committees, together with the organization of their activities and election of their officers, are set out in the DIN Guidelines for Standards Committees. A new standards committee can be formed when any of the following apply:
a) An application for standardization has been made for which no existing standardization committee declares itself responsible.
b) Several standards committees are to be merged to form a new standards committee.
c) A part of the scope of a standards committee is to be separated off and made the subject of a new standards committee.
New standards committees may also be prepared by co-ordinating bodies (as was the case with the Services standards committee) or originate from them (such as the Standards committee for organizational processes, which arose from KoSMaS, the co-ordinating body for management system standardization).
Provided funding is assured for the planned work programme of the standards committee and the stakeholders are willing to participate, the proposal for formation of a new standards committee can be submitted by DIN's Executive Board to its Presidial Board. The proposal must include the name, area of activity and work programme of the future standards committee. It is also advisable for the potential stakeholders to be contacted in advance and recruited to the possible new standards committee.
Should the Presidial Board agree to the proposal, the Chairman of the Executive Board appoints a temporary director and invites the stakeholders to an inaugural meeting. In accordance with the official DIN classification, the stakeholders include the private sector, the public sector, consumer protection agencies, trade unions, the occupational safety and health lobby, the scientific and research community, the environmental protection lobby, other non-governmental organizations, users (such as test institutes and assessors), and regulatory institutions. At the inaugural meeting, it must first be established whether all stakeholders have actually been invited. The interest in formation of the new standards committee is also established and set out formally in a resolution for inauguration of the committee. The Chairperson of the standards committee and his or her deputy/deputies and the advisory committee are then elected. The advisory committee has the task of adopting the name and the area of activity, formulating the work programme, approving the funding plan, forming the working committees, and appointing temporary convenors as heads of these working committees.
Following a successful inaugural meeting, the DIN President declares the standards committee formed. Formation of the committee and all changes made to the submitted proposal must be published in the "DIN-Mitteilungen" bulletin.
Operative business is conducted in the working committees. Their core task is that of developing German, European and international standards and standardization documents (prestandards and technical reports). Where the scope of a standards committee is broad, its working committees may be grouped in sections.
DIN currently has over 3,100 working committees. New committees can be formed when the existing committees do not cover new standardization topics, the stakeholders in a topic differ fundamentally from those of the existing committees and are not organized within them, a willingness to participate actively exists, and funding is assured for the work of the secretariat. Here too, the need for the new topic and the interest in participation must be established beforehand.
As with the standards committees, a formal resolution for formation of a working committee is set out in the inaugural meeting determining whether all stakeholders in the topic have been invited and whether a willingness to participate exists. The convenor and deputies are then elected, the name and area of activity of the committee set out, and the work programme formulated.
Dr Andrea Fluthwedel