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Standards and public sector

As well as specifying standards for government purchases, the public sector can benefit substantively from the use of standards, namely :

▸A basis for regulation : Standards are recognized solutions to implement the health and safety requirements for regulated products. Legislators, for example, gain the acceptance of stakeholders for regulations because they were involved in the development of the standards used as the basis for regulation. Standards are kept up-to-date through five-year review programs ; hence regulations using them as a basis can remain up-to-date as well depending on the mode of referencing (dated or undated) ;

▸Efficient regulation through participatory processes : When regulations are based on standards, these can be used to provide guidance on essential requirements. This has the advantage that market forces can be utilized in keeping compliance costs to a minimum. Conformity-assessment service providers complying with standards such as ISO/IEC 17021 and ISO/IEC 17025 can be designated by the country to provide such services. If more than one service provider is designated, market forces will keep costs at reasonable levels, and the country need not provide such services ; and

▸Contribution to socio-economic development : Regulations based on standards give the country access to the latest state-of-the-art requirements for products agreed by a broad stakeholder group. In addition, local compa-nies can gain easier access to foreign markets where the regulations are also based on the same standards ; this means that such companies do not need to develop products that have to comply with a different set of standards.