On 31 October 2014, the International Organization for Standardization (“ISO”) published the first international standard for outsourcing, ISO: 375000: Guidance on Outsourcing (the “Standard”). The Standard seeks to provide a comprehensive guide to the outsourcing process, regardless of the size of the transaction, the industry sector or the activities to be outsourced. The Standard provides guidance on the phases of an outsourcing project, the processes that organisations need to implement and the governance that is required for an outsourcing transaction to be successful.
The Standard is the final product of a process instigated by a request from the national standards authorities of the Netherlands and Switzerland in 2010. In 2011, an ISO Technical Committee was formed and received input from the standards bodies of 13 countries. The Technical Committee also received input from buyers, service providers, outsourcing advisors and academics over the four years of the Standard’s development. A draft standard was published in 2013 and a final version was agreed in October 2014.
ISO standards are not legally binding but are important statements of industry specific best practice, which suppliers and customers alike are likely to make reference to, both in their general business conduct and in their contractual arrangements with customers and suppliers.