The ISB consults stakeholders to identify the priority areas for standards development to ensure that the right standards are available at the right time. The objectives of ISB data standards are:
- to satisfy, with a single common set of standards, the needs of front line operational organisations and of central monitoring agencies
- to develop standards that can be used for modular real-time data exchange as well as timed data collections
The focus is on areas where there is evidence of a sponsor committed to supporting the development, and an organisation intending to implement the standards being developed. Sponsors, for example, support the design of the standard by being the customer taking the lead in defining the requirement.
During the development of the standards, a wide range of potential users of the same data are sought and consulted in order to produce standards that are applicable across the sectors. To avoid duplication ISB recognises the standards of other approval bodies, such as eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).
The ISB has developed a robust data framework made up of foundation entities covering all master data (ie people, organisations, locations and qualifications and the relationships between them) in relation to the strategic areas for the sectors.
The ISB is not responsible for standards relating to information that is not, nor is ever likely to be, exchanged between organisations or between different systems. Nor is it responsible for standards relating to management, process and systems development, other than in relation to information management.
The ISB works with the devolved nations to align the development of standards in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, recognising the policy and organisational constraints that exist across the UK countries. The aim is to ensure that standards are common across the UK where doing so will support free movement of learners and staff and will achieve benefits from common supplier systems able to work across the entire UK market.