Become a consumer representative

Are you committed to the principles of consumer involvement? Do you have the time to assist us (on a voluntary basis) in ensuring that the standards development process takes into account consumer and public interests? BSI Consumer & Public Interest Network (CPIN) is looking for enthusiastic people, from all sorts of backgrounds, to join the CPI Network. We currently need people with knowledge in the following topic areas: Children’s interests, Healthcare, ICT and Sustainability. The other broad areas that we cover are Services, Accessibility, Construction, Manufacturing and Risk.

What are ‘standards’?

Standards are published documents that help to make products and services safe, effective and efficient – all of which are important to consumers. Standards are written, not by BSI, but by a group of interested stakeholders. The formal process includes the involvement of all relevant bodies, including consumer and public interest representatives, followed by public consultation. Standards take the form of guides, codes of practice, methods of test, terminologies, and specifications, which are reviewed regularly to take account of advances in thinking, technology, practice and need. They are voluntary, but can usefully underpin legislation. 

How consumers play their part in standards

Consumers are important to BSI (which is the National Standards Body) and to the UK Government. Both actively support consumer and public interest involvement in the standards making process to ensure their views are properly taken into account.  This function is performed by CPI Representatives, working with CPI Coordinators (CPICs). The Network is supported by a small team in the CPI Network at BSI headquarters in Chiswick, London.

The two main ways in which the public can get involved are as:

  • CPI Representatives: Volunteers who contribute to the standards development process in a variety of ways: by attending meetings; working on projects; doing background research; or giving expert advice. They provide their time free, but have travel and subsistence expenses paid.
  • CPI Coordinators: They work with BSI staff on prioritizing CPI input and coordinating Reps’ activity in their topic area. CPICs also often perform the Rep role themselves. They are volunteers who receive expenses and a small honorarium (presently $4,700 p.a.) in recognition of their increased responsibilities. Specific vacancies for CPICs are advertised on the website.

The CPI Network also includes background experts and affiliated CPI Organizations. We are always happy to add new ones that are relevant to our work. Organizations can simply appoint a key contact or can nominate a person to be a CPI Representative.