COPRO sets up impartial advisory boards for the general technical management of certification in the different domains in which they are organised. To this end, COPRO will send a letter to all known interested organisations that are representative of the groups listed below in the relevant domain. They are asked to delegate their representatives to sit on the relevant advisory board.
An advisory board advises the certification body on the scientific and technical operating principles based on the applicable standards, regulations and agreements.
The general technical issues that are part of the management of certification are handled by an advisory board.
The following in particular belong to the competence of an advisory board:
- The handling of all general technical topics submitted to it,
- Developing reference documents in the context of certification,
- Developing regulations in the context of certification,
- Determining which transitional period is applicable when applying amended reference documents and regulations,
- Submitting those documents to the management body for ratification.
For documents that are not ratified by the management body, the reason for refusal must be communicated to the advisory board. The latter reviews these reasons, discusses and adapts the document if necessary. The document can then be made applicable.
The impartiality of each advisory board is guaranteed by being composed of representatives of the following four groups and having the following voting percentages respectively:
- Public institutions: 30%,
- Users: 30%,
- Producers: 30%,
- Experts: research, normative, certifying and inspection organisations: 10%.
This principled composition only applies to products whose users and producers do not belong to the same group.
Otherwise, the distribution is:
- Public institutions: 40%,
- Users/producers: 40%,
- Experts: research, normative, certifying and inspection organisations: 20%.
The membership of an advisory board is nominative, as is that of the alternate.
Only registered representatives (= actual members and/or their alternates) and any experts invited by the advisory board may participate.
Membership terminates in the following way:
- The submission to COPRO of a resignation by the representative or by the legal person for whom he or she works,
- By de facto dismissal as a result of death or permanent unavailability of the representative or due to the bankruptcy or cessation of activity of the legal person for whom he or she works,
- By exclusion by COPRO for a well-founded reason, however, giving the person concerned the opportunity to justify himself in writing and possibly also orally, after being invited to do so by COPRO in a registered letter containing the justifications for such.
Each advisory board is chaired by the chairman or, if absent, by the vice-chairman, both elected for a period of three years by vote taken among the members of the advisory board. If both are absent, the secretariat will chair the advisory board.
The members of an advisory board exercise an unpaid mandate and do not incur any personal obligations arising from the business commitments of COPRO.
COPRO is entitled to set the maximum number of representatives per group.
An advisory board may be assisted by experts, who are not entitled to vote.
For COPRO, at least the product or sector manager participates in the meetings of the advisory board.
All participants are registered either through the attendance list or through electronic presence in the digital meeting application. By his/her presence, the representative agrees to this procedure.
COPRO foresees the possibility that representatives of the advisory board can participate in a meeting not only physically, but also digitally.
An advisory board meets after being convened by the chair, by at least two members of the advisory board, by the secretariat, or meets on the date set by the advisory board itself. For advisory boards that do not meet frequently, all members must be assessed at least once every 2 years to see whether a meeting is desired.
An advisory board can only validly deliberate if at least three groups are represented.
The decisions of the advisory board are taken by consensus. If this is not possible, the decisions are taken by a simple majority of votes. In the event of a tie, the chair decides.
The voting by default proceeds as follows:
- Each group casts only 1 vote, with a value of 40, 30, 20 or 10%, depending on the case.
- In the event of a tie in 1 group, the group will abstain (if, for example, the producers abstain, the other groups will vote relative to 70% instead of 100%).
Invitations to the meetings, possibly together with the agenda, are sent to the members of the advisory board at least ten calendar days before the date of the meeting, unless urgent or unless the date is set in a previous meeting.
All documents that must be submitted to the advisory board for approval form a permanent item on the agenda of the meetings.
COPRO acts as the secretariat for the advisory boards.
The minutes of this meeting will be sent to all members of the group within twenty working days after the date of the meeting. If no comments are made on the minutes within 10 working days, the minutes are considered approved.
The members of the advisory board can also be consulted by circular letter (e-mail). If approval is required, this is done in the same way as in a meeting, on the understanding that members who do not respond are deemed to agree to the proposal submitted. The circular letter is drawn up to this effect. The minutes of the consultation will be sent to all members within twenty working days after the conclusion of this consultation. The CEO reports to the management body on the activities of the advisory boards.
When all members agree, the digital meeting can be recorded (image and sound). In this case, the members are notified before the start of the recording. The image and sound recording will be stored by COPRO for a maximum of 3 months and only be used by the minutes secretary to prepare the minutes. All members of the advisory board undertake never to distribute this image or sound recording internally or externally.
This procedure will be referred to in the agenda for the meeting.