The PROGRESSIVE project and the recently established CEN/CENELEC STAIR-AHA Platform jointly organised the conference “A new approach to AHA standards engaging end-users”, on 31 January 2019. Held in Brussels at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB), it brought together more than 60 experts on active and healthy ageing (AHA) from 16 European countries (and Australia) to reflect on how to best approach ageing-related challenges in standardisation. Stakeholders once again stressed the importance of involving end-users, including older persons’ representatives, in standardisation initiatives.
Eleven high-level experts on active and healthy ageing and on standardisation facilitated the discussion among the audience on three topics:
- age-friendly communities as enablers of active and healthy ageing;
- inclusiveness in standardisation, taking accessibility and usability as a use case;
- age-friendly smart homes as a tool for independent life.
The core of the meeting was the plenary debate on the STAIR-AHA statement. The statement, which was validated by attendees at the end of the meeting, is grounded in the findings, discussions and conclusions of two earlier meetings, i.e. the first STAIR-AHA platform meeting “A New Approach to AHA Standards Engaging End-users” (held on 31 October 2018), and a workshop “Making ICT Standards Fit for Active and Healthy Ageing in Europe” (held on 19 October 2017).
This statement calls on standardisers, policy-makers and socio-economic actors to:
- ensure the compliance of the standards developed with a set of ethical principles;
- raise awareness of the benefits of the inclusion of older people in standards development;
- improve the engagement of older people’s representatives in the standardisation processes;
- make the standardisation process accessible in accordance with Design for All principles.
(See below for full text of the statement.)
The STAIR-AHA platform and PROGRESSIVE will inform the three European Standardisation Bodies, i.e. CEN, CENELEC and ETSI, as well as the National Standardisation Bodies engaged in this platform, of this statement, with the aim of promoting the relevant actions.
Full report of the meeting (including links to presentations).
The PROGRESSIVE project is encouraging a new way of thinking about standards for ICT related products and services that can support active and healthy ageing. This ‘new way’ takes account of older people’s views and experiences, and looks at how standards can be developed. It can also be used to improve accessibility, usability and security of those products and services in a context of ageing societies. PROGRESSIVE comprises a multi-stakeholder consortium of 10 partners, including research institutions, national standardisation bodies, the European network of older people organisations, and industry associations involved in health and social care.
PROGRESSIVE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement no. 727802.
About the STAIR-AHA
The STAIR-AHA is a STAIR-Platform (STAndardisation, Innovation and Research) for Active and Healthy Ageing. It aims to develop recommendations for future action at the European standardisation level by bringing together standardisers, researchers, innovators and end users in order to discuss and identify standardisation needs and opportunities for a specific area of concern (in this case: active and healthy ageing). The platform is not intended to develop standard-like documents but recommendations for future action.
Contact for more information
PROGRESSIVE project principal investigator
De Montfort University – United Kingdom
STAIR-AHA platform secretariat
UNE Asociación Española de Normalización – Spain
ANNEX: The STAIR-AHA platform statement  recommends that:
- International, European and national standardisation bodies wishing to be relevant for ageing societies in their approaches to standardisation should base their work on the following (non-exhaustive) list of key ethical tenets:
- Accessibility and Usability
- Autonomy and Empowerment
- Beneficence and Non-Maleficence
- Care, Protection and Support
- Equality, Equity, Justice
- Inclusion, Non-Discrimination, Social Impact
- Privacy, Safety, Security
- International, European and national standardisation processes should be revised to ensure that they enable the participation of older people’s representatives, as a relevant group of stakeholders, to initiatives that concern them most.
- International, European and national standards organisations should be encouraged to reach out to underrepresented groups of citizens and solicit their opinions on relevant questions. Creative user co-production methodologies should be implemented, as a tool to engage all end-users in the standardisation process. Specifically, STAIR-AHA recommends to promote the use of the “Guidelines for User Co-production in Standards” developed by the PROGRESSIVE project.
- The existence of forums of discussion for the dissemination, awareness and discussion of issues related to active and healthy ageing standardisation, engaging experts from a broad spectrum of stakeholders’ groups such as the CEN-CENELEC STAIR-AHA platform, should be promoted.
- The awareness of end-users of the benefit of standards and the relevant role they have in the definition of quality products and services, as well as how they can contribute to standards development, should be increased. The awareness of the mutual benefits of the inclusion of older people’s needs in standards, products and services for both older people and standards organisations should be raised.
- The promotion of the participation of older people’s representatives in standardisation should be encouraged at the national level of standardisation bodies, because – at that level – it enables debate that is closer to the language of the stakeholders.
- The design and use of technology that supports services for older people should be made transparent to end-users, since the accessibility and usability of environments – both built and digital – are key issues in ensuring the participation of a wide range of citizens.
- Standardisers, policy-makers and socio-economic actors involved in standardisation may find various reports and deliverables produced by the PROGRESSIVE project to be useful in supporting the future work to be done on including older people in the process of standardisation design and implementation. These include guidelines on standards covering age-friendliness; smart homes for older adults; and interoperability frameworks.
 The full text of the statement is available at https://progressivestandards.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/STAIR-AHA-Statement.pdf.
 “Guidelines for user co-production in standards” are available at https://progressivestandards.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/PROGRESSIVE-guide-on-user-co-production_20180606.pdf