Roles & responsibilities

Information about the responsibilities of IEC Technical Committee and Subcommittee Officers, Convenors, Project Team Leaders and experts

In this section information is given on the appointment of TC/SC officers and their responsibilities. In each case specific reference is made to their responsibilities prior to, during and after plenary committee meetings.

The WG/MT convenors and PT leaders reporting lines are shown in the TC/SC organigramme. Experts have a very important role to play in the standards development and further information is given in the relevant section.

Further information on the role and responsibilities is given in the
ISO/IEC Directives Part 1.



Roles and responsibilities

The Chair of a committee or subcommittee shall act in a purely international capacity and is divested from a national position. A Chair cannot serve concurrently as the delegate of a national body on the committee.

Key responsabilities

  • Responsible for the overall management of the committee, including SCs and WG/PT/MTs
  • Advise SMB on important matters relating to the committee
  • Guide Secretary of the committee in carrying out duties
  • Conduct meetings with the aim of reaching consensus
  • Ensure timeliness and promptness in the standards development process
  • Attend relevant coordination meetings between groups such as TCs, advisory groups, special advisory groups, etc
  • Monitor the status of committee projects
  • Promote IEC interests
  • Consult with Secretary of the committee in the decision-making process
  • Ensure adherence to the ISO/IEC Directives and relevant SMB decisions throughout the preparation of standards

There are occasions when an action or decision is required from the Chair. New Work Item Proposals are submitted to the Chair and Secretary prior to circulation so that comments and recommendations can be given relating to such subjects as committee resource allocation, market relevance and possible overlap with existing work. Upon receipt of comments or the result of voting, the Chair (in cooperation with the Secretariat and the Project Leader) will decide the future course of action for the project. This decision will be stated in the document.

Appointment & procedure

Chairs of technical committees shall be nominated by the secretariat of the technical committee and appointed by the SMB for a maximum period of six years. Extensions, for a maximum of three years, require a 2/3 majority vote of SMB members.

Chairs of subcommittees shall be nominated by the secretariat of the subcommittee and appointed by the technical committee for a maximum period of six years. Extensions, for a maximum of three years, require a 2/3 majority vote of the P-members of the technical committee.

It is recommended to appoint a Chair from a country other than that of the secretariat.

Twelve months before the end of the term of office of a TC/SC Chair, IEC CO requests the TC/SC secretariat to indicate whether it wishes to nominate another candidate as Chair or extend the term of office of the current Chair. For the appointment of Chairs and extension of their term of office, the following procedure is applied:

  • All National Committees are informed of the vacancy and invited to submit nominations to the secretariat within a period of 3 months
  • When multiple candidates are nominated by P-members, the P-members of the TC/SC are asked by means of a questionnaire to express their preference for one of the candidates. The questionnaire is an open ballot with all candidates presented, including a CV and motivation statement. The secretariat is not bound by the results of the questionnaire, but if a nominee other that the one receiving the most support is nominated, the secretariat must report the questionnaire results as well as the rationale for their nomination
  • The nomination is submitted to the SMB (for a TC Chair) or P-members of the TC (for a SC Chair), for approval within six weeks
  • Any objections to the extension submitted by the SMB members or by the P members of the TC during the voting period shall be distributed immediately to the other members
  • If the nomination is not supported by either a 2/3 majority of the SMB members (in the case of a TC) or by a 2/3 majority of TC P members (in the case of a SC), the procedure shall be repeated

Meeting responsibilities

Before the meeting

It is important to understand the nature and limitations of the various types of document that are used in the work of the IEC. A full description can be found in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1 and IEC Supplement. The work programme is an essential tool for setting goals as it lists the projects currently in development in the committee, together with the various stages and target dates.

Meeting agenda

The Chair and Secretary should carefully discuss the draft agenda together, evaluating items to be discussed, time allocated for each subject, the necessity to hold a meeting and justify travel expenses.

The agenda is prepared by the Secretary and sent to IEC-CO for circulation at least four months prior to the meeting. The same applies for all the documents intended to be discussed during the meeting. All TC/SC plenary meeting draft agenda should clearly state the starting and estimated finishing times of all meetings.

During the meeting

Conduct meetings with a view to reaching agreement on committee drafts. Ensure that all points of view expressed are adequately summed up so that they are understood by all present.

After the meeting

Ensure that all decisions are clearly formulated and made available in written form by the Secretary.

Secretary / Assistant Secretary

The Secretary / Assistant Secretary is responsible for the project management of the committee or subcommittee.

Key responsibilities

Working documents:

  • Preparation and distribution of committee drafts and management of comments received
  • Preparation of enquiry drafts and text for the circulation of final draft international standards or publication of international standards
  • Ensure the equivalence of the English and French texts, if necessary, with the assistance of national bodies that can responsible for the relevant language versions

Project management

  • Assist in establishing priorities and target dates for projects
  • Notify the names, etc. of all working group and maintenance team Convenors and Project Team Leaders to the office of the CEO
  • Proactively propose the publication of alternative deliverables or cancellation of projects that are running significant delays and/or which appear to lack sufficient support.


The Secretary / Assistant Secretary is appointed by the National Committee in charge of the TC/SC secretariat, which holds the responsibility for providing technical and administrative services to a technical committee or subcommittee, as expressed in the Basic Agreement.

Meeting responsibilities

The agenda for plenary meetings (view model document) is prepared by the Secretary in consultation with the Chair and distributed by the IEC CO at least four months before the meeting. The agenda is supported by the following, as necessary:

  • Documents to be discussed requiring a decision from the TC/SC concerning the next stage of the project
  • Activity reports from the TC/SC Chair, Secretary, WG Convenors, PT/MT Leaders and liaison representatives, if any
  • Items allocated to the discussion such as the work programme and the strategic business plan
  • Review of all the TC/SCs liaisons
  • Any issues encountered in the smooth operation of the TC/SC

All other basic documents, for example new work item proposals, shall be distributed by the same deadline.

Other working documents to be circulated, such as compilations of comments, should reach the IEC CO at least six weeks before the meeting.

Approximately four weeks before a meeting, the IEC CO will create and circulate an electronic meeting folder comprising the agenda and all documents mentioned in the agenda. After the circulation of the electronic meeting folder, late documents may be tabled as meeting documents. Meeting documents will only be introduced into the agenda after the Chair has obtained the unanimous approval of the P-member delegations present at the meeting.

Working Group, Maintenance Team, and Project Team

Project Team Leader

For each new project, a Project Team Leader is appointed by the technical committee or subcommittee, taking into consideration the nomination made by the originator of the new work item proposal. It shall be ascertained that the Project Leader will have access to appropriate resources for carrying out the work.

The Project Leader should be prepared to act as consultant, when required, regarding technical matters arising at the proposal stage through to the publication stage. The Project Leader shall act in a purely international capacity, divested from a national perspective.


A Convenor or acting Convenor is appointed by a committee to lead a working group. The Convenor schedules the first meeting of the working group to be held within three months. This information is communicated immediately to committee P-members as well as A- and D-liaison organizations, with an invitation to appoint experts within six weeks.


Experts in relevant technical fields for TCs/SCs are individuals appointed by their National Committees, via the Expert Management System, and designated to one or more working group, maintenance team or project team. They have access, granted by their National Committees, to working documents on the IEC website.


Key responsibilities

Experts participate in the drafting of working documents in accordance with the ISO/IEC Directives and IEC Supplement. Work on the drafts is prepared in working groups (WG), project teams (PT) or maintenance teams (MT) that deal with the specific task or tasks allocated to each group.

Experts advise on technical issues in the field of the committee in for which they have been appointed. However, Experts act in a personal capacity although it is recommended that they keep in close contact with the organization that has appointed them (National Committee or other international organization in liaison).

Experts may access IEC applications using a unique login provided by their National Committee. A full list is available at Tools and applications

More information