ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34N0779rev1

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TITLE: Overview of Fast Track Process from Subcommittee Perspective
SOURCE: SC34 Secretariat
STATUS: Overview of procedures
ACTION: For information
DATE: 2006-10-12
DISTRIBUTION: SC34 and Liaisons
REFER TO: N0725 - 2006-04-12 - ISO/IEC JTC 1 Directives, 5th Edition, Version 2.0
N0649 - 2005-06-14 - ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 - Rules for the structure and drafting of International Standards
N0754resRev - 2006-06-13 - ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 Resolutions of May/June 2006 Meeting - Seoul, Korea
N0764 - 2006-06-14 - Clarification of questions of long-term maintenance of Fast Track and PAS submissions

Dr. James David Mason
(ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 Chairman)
Y-12 National Security Complex
Bldg. 9113, M.S. 8208
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-8208 U.S.A.
Telephone: +1 865 574-6973
Facsimile: +1 865 574-1896
Network: [email protected]

Mr. G. Ken Holman
(ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 Secretariat - Standards Council of Canada)
Crane Softwrights Ltd.
Box 266,
Telephone: +1 613 489-0999
Facsimile: +1 613 489-0995
Network: [email protected]

Overview of Fast Track Process from Subcommittee Perspective

A number of questions have come to the SC34 Secretariat Office from both inside and outside of the subcommittee regarding clarifications of the JTC 1 Fast Track procedures from the perspective of the subcommittee and working groups. Unfortunately, erroneous information has been circulated leading to incorrect conclusions regarding process and procedures.

This document attempts to clarify the significant steps involved in the process, though of course the JTC1 Directives document N0725 is the definitive source of all related information, in particular chapter 13 "Preparation and Adoption of International Standards - Fast-Track Processing". References below such as "(Section 13.1)" refer to sections of this Directives document. There are a few references such as "(Part 2 Section 6)" refer to the ISO/IEC Directives Part 2 document N0649 regarding the structure of standards.

Based on feedback and questions received to the information prepared in this document, it is expected this document will be revised, probably more than once. For the most up-to-date version of this document, please refer to the N0779 entry in the repository. The original version dated 2007-08-09 was replaced with this version dated 2006-10-12, based on feedback received to date.

Fast track submission

(Section 13.1) Only JTC 1 P-members and JTC 1 Category A liaison members (not SC 34 P-members or Category A liaison members) can submit an existing standard, without modification, directly to JTC1 for vote as a Draft International Standard. In the process status matrix of ISO states, you can see this at stage 40.

Before submission, the submitter may request a specific SC comment on the submission, and is encouraged to make a recommendation concerning the assignment of their submission to a particular SC. The submitter also names an individual agreed to serve as project editor.

Note that (Section 13.9) the document is not required to be in ISO/IEC format, but can be published in the format of the submitting organization. Distinctions of normative and informative content and annexes (Part 2 Sections 6.3, 6.3.8, and 6.4.1) indicate that informative annexes contain "additional information intended to assist the understanding or use of the document" but my understanding is this is limited to exemplars and not tutorial information. (Section 13.14) Subsequent revisions shall be in ISO/IEC Directives Part 2 format.

(Section 13.2) ITTF determines, in consultation with JTC 1 Secretariat, that JTC 1 is the appropriate place for the standard and there is no "evident contradiction" (this is not defined formally) with other ISO/IEC standards. No time constraints are indicated for this consultation part of the process. ITTF then distributes the proposed standard for DIS voting to national bodies of JTC 1 (not of the SC).

Balloting, voting and resolution

(Sections 13.3 and 9.5) Section 13.3 specifies the vote as "combined" and section 9.5 defines that a "combined vote" includes the P-members of JTC1, all ISO member bodies and IEC national committees.

(Sections 13.3, 13.4 and 9.6) JTC 1 sends a copy of the DIS to the SC Secretariat and indicates the assignment to the SC, and the number, title and ballot period dates. The total ballot period is at least 6 months, starting with a 30-day review period. During the review period, a JTC 1 national body may identify to the JTC 1 Secretariat any perceived contradiction with other JTC 1, ISO or IEC standards, at which point the matter is resolved by ITTF and JTC1 (no time limit given). Only at the end of the period of time needed for resolving issues does the 5-month ballot begin, thus possibly extending the total time to more than six months. At the end, the table of replies and comments is sent by ITTF directly to the SC Secretariat. To pass, at least two-thirds of the respondents voting (not "all P-members") shall have approved and not more than one-quarter of the votes cast are negative (per section 9.6).

(Sections 13.5, 13.6 and 13.12) The ITTF and the SC Secretariat have a total of two months to forward the table of replies and comments to SC national bodies. The Secretariat makes plans for the handling of ballot results by forming a ballot resolution group consisting of a convener to run a ballot resolution meeting (for which there needs to be a date and location, and implicitly, support for the costs of running the meeting) and a DIS project editor (the one appointed in section 13.1) to prepare the final DIS text. The ballot resolution meeting does not have to be convened if there are no negative ballots with comments that need to be resolved. At least two and one-half months must elapse between distribution of the comments and the date of the ballot resolution meeting. The ballot resolution meeting is not allowed to address comments received after the voting period.

(Sections 13.7, 13.8 and 13.9) Any SC national body may appoint representatives to the ballot resolution meeting, while those having voted negative have a duty to delegate a representative. Decisions are hopefully reached by consensus, but may be done by the standard voting procedure (two-thirds/one-quarter as above). If the vote fails, the procedure is terminated. It appears that this vote in the meeting is amongst national bodies present at the meeting, which may compel national bodies without comments to still be present at the comment resolution meeting. The convener is responsible for preparing a full report, which is distributed by the SC Secretariat.

Note that in fact "yes" votes can be changed to "no" votes, but that is not in the spirit of ballot resolution and all should be done to avoid this but it is an option. At the end of the ballot resolution meeting, the criteria of the combined voting procedure must be met for the document to progress note that this is critical in the case where the original Fast Track ballot has failed.

The editor incorporates the comments and produces the DIS final text and the process is complete. There is no need to ballot all members regarding the changes made that were balloted in the ballot resolution meeting. The status at the end of the ballot resolution meeting holds. To have disagreed with the work of the meeting, the national body would have been present at the meeting to register its vote.

Note there is a special case in the event there is no ballot resolution meeting required due to unanimous approval, with or without comments. According to the JTC 1 Secretariat (see N0754resRev Resolution 10 background), the SC Secretariat forwards the DIS final text as edited by the designated editor to SC national bodies for a 30-day default ballot so that national bodies can allege that the editor did not do their job addressing the comments that accompanied the approval votes. As a default ballot, a national body is not obliged to respond if it agrees the editor did their job addressing any comments.


(Section 13.13, supported by N0764) If the proposed standard is accepted and published, its maintenance will be handled by JTC 1, typically by a working group of the SC. Note that only at the point of maintaining the standard is a working group of the SC is involved in the process. The only two SC parties involved up to this point are the SC Secretariat and the Ballot Resolution Meeting Convener. The working group has no role in the fast track process.

(Section 13.14) The working group must prepare subsequent revisions of the standard in ISO/IEC Directives Part 2 format.

Summary of time frame

  • Submission: epoch

  • Assessment by JTC 1 and ITTF: no time limit

  • Review period by JTC 1 National Bodies: 30 days

  • Resolution period for alleged contradictions by JTC 1 and ITTF: no time limit

  • Ballot period by JTC 1 National Bodies: 5 months

  • Collection and distribution of comments: at most 2 months

  • Convening the ballot resolution meeting: at least 2.5 months after distribution

  • DIS preparation with feedback from ballot resolution: at most 1 month

  • Default ballot by SC National Bodies in the absence of a ballot resolution meeting: 30 days

  • Publication: end of the process and delivery to working group for maintenance

Minimum time duration: 9.5 months not including open-ended periods

Maximum time duration: 12.5 months not including open-ended periods

Post script

Note that a letter ballot due October 30, 2006 being circulated by JTC 1 as JTC1-N8239 proposes changing the fast track process. These changes will likely be addressed at the November 2006 JTC1 plenary meeting in South Africa.