BSI’s Royal Charter - History, bye-laws


BSI's Royal Charter and Bye-Laws

BSI is a private company incorporated by Royal Charter. The charter was first awarded (to the British Engineering Standards Association) in 1929, and amended several times subsequently.

The Royal Charter is essentially an enabling document that sets out the purpose of BSI and defines in broad terms its range of activities, including its functions as a standards body, as well as its ability to offer training, testing and certification services. It does not, to any great extent, impose specific duties or responsibilities on the company.

The Royal Charter is supplemented by the Bye-laws which detail some aspects of how BSI has to be run. They cover matters such as membership, the conduct of General Meetings, and the composition of the Board.   

A history of Royal Charters

Royal Charters have a history which dates back to the 13th century and are granted by the British sovereign on the advice of the UK Privy Council.

Their original purpose was to create public or private corporations (including towns and cities), and to define their privileges and purpose.

Today, though they are still occasionally granted to cities, new Charters are normally reserved for bodies that work in the public interest. These organisations include professional institutions and charities which can demonstrate pre-eminence, stability, and permanence in their particular field. The BBC has a Royal Charter, similar to many long-established universities in the UK.