Standing Committee and Related Events in Edinburgh

The 90th meeting of the Standing Committee (SC) took place in Edinburgh (United Kingdom) on 11 September 2023. It was followed by the first edition of the Conventions’ Technical Programme on 12 September 2023 in the morning (see section at the end) and a round visit of the Edinburgh Assay Office in the afternoon. A meeting of the Working Group on European Union was held on 13 September in the morning (see under “Reports from the Working Groups”). The series of events was successfully hosted by the Edinburgh Assay Office with the support of the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh.

The SC meeting was chaired by Scott Walter (Edinburgh Assay Office), who was assisted by the SC Deputy Chairman, Thomas Brodmann (Swiss Assay Office), and the Chairman of the Standing Technical Group (STG), Peters Brangulis (Assay Office of Latvia). It was attended by 56 officials representing 19 out of 21 Contracting States (Austria and Serbia did not attend), 2 Applicant States (Italy and Ukraine), 1 Observer (Spain / KRISOS) and 1 Technical Programme Participants, TPP (Bosnia-Herzegovina).

A minute of silence was observed by all delegates following the recent passing of Aleksandra Górkiewicz-Malina, Head of the Polish Regional Assay Office in Krakow and SC Member.


Operation of the Convention & Accession

The SC reviewed the operation of the Convention, in particular the appointment of the new Finnish Assay Office and the sub-delegation of chemical analysis for silver by the Norwegian and Swedish Assay Offices. It also noted the outcome of the survey on the independence of assay offices, which is carried out every 5 years on average. The survey’s outcome will be reviewed by the STG before being endorsing by the SC at its next meeting.

The SC noted that the number of articles marked with the Common Control Mark (CCM) increased by 9% to 7,334,796 in 2022. 31.1% of these articles were offsite marked.

The SC reviewed the membership application by Italy (see below), Sri Lanka (not attending) and Ukraine (see below). It also noted a positive development in Spain (Non-Member) where the ‘Asociación Española de Joyeros, Plateros y Relojeros’ (AEJPR) has invited the Spanish Government to join the Convention. The SC reviewed an informal database, prepared by the Secretariat, in order to help monitoring relations with Non-Members. It also agreed on focusing its efforts on selected Non-Members, which either implement compulsory hallmarking and/or have shown an interest in acceding to the Convention. The SC congratulated the Mongolian Agency for Standard and Metrology (MASM) for its 100th anniversary.


Italy’s accession almost complete

Italy reported that it had almost completed the ratification process. The ratification successfully passed the Chamber of Deputies (14 March 2023) and the Senate (9 May 2023). Law No. 55 of 15 May 2023 on the "Accession of the Italian Republic to the Convention on the control and marking of articles of precious metals, with annexes, made in Vienna on 15 November 1972" was published in the Official Journal no. 122 of 26 May 2023. The last step, consisting of a notification by the Italian Embassy in Stockholm to the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, acting as the Convention’s Depositary, was imminent. Once this has been done, the Depositary will officially notify all Contracting States of Italy’s accession, which shall become effective 3 months later.


Ukraine receives support

The Ukrainian Delegation was able to attend in person the SC meeting, thanks to financial and logistical support from the Assay Office of Latvia, the Polish Regional Assay Office of Warsaw and UK Assay Offices.

The Ukrainian Assay Offices continue to operate despite the war and participated in this year “Round Robin”, the Convention’s interlaboratory proficiency testing scheme on precious metals, where they achieved remarkable results.

During the meeting, the Ukrainian State Central Assay Office, the Assay Office of Latvia and the Conventions’ Secretariat signed a new trilateral Memorandum of Understanding, which allows the democratically-elected Government of Ukraine to continue its accession process to the Convention thanks to a donation by Latvia of EURO 7,000 for the period 2023-24. The Secretariat will administer the donation in close co-operation with the Assay Office of Latvia and the Ukrainian Assay Office.

Subject to confirmation, the SC also decided to waive until further notice the annual fee that Ukraine, as Applicant State, must pay.


Reports from the Working Groups

The three Working Groups, operating under the SC, are:

  • Working Group on Vision and Strategy (WGVS);
  • Working Group on Model Law (WGML); and
  • Working Group for engagement with the European Union (WGEU).

The WGVS finalised its paper on the revised vision and strategies for the Convention – including concrete proposals for their implementation. The SC reviewed the paper during the meeting and agreed on a 3-month written consultation following which, and if the outcome is positive, the WGVS will be given a new mandate to lead the implementation of the revised vision and strategies.

The WGML submitted its first draft of the guidelines on model law to Members for comments until 5 December 2023.

The WGEU prepared a draft mandate, which was approved by the SC. It reconvened in Edinburgh on 13 September 2023 and continued its mapping exercise on EC-related initiatives in the field of precious metals control. It also discussed questions by Norway on the principle of equivalence within the EU/EEA as well as the application of the Mutual Recognition Regulation (MRR) to precious metals operators and ways to strengthen mutual recognition within the EU based on Convention’s tools.


Technical discussions

The STG Chairman, Peters Brangulis (Assay Office of Latvia), reported on the 34th STG meeting held in Geneva (Switzerland) on 19 June 2023.

The SC reviewed the results of this year’s Round Robin, RR 54 (gold), RR 55 (silver) and RR 56  (palladium) and endorsed the STG’s recommended alloy composition for the 2024 RRs, i.e. RR 57 (gold) and RR 58 (silver). It reviewed the Treasurer’s report on the technical programme for the period 2020-2023 and – subject to the agreement of both Ireland and Slovenia – endorsed the new 4-year budget plan (2024-27), which introduces a progressive increase of RR fees.

Subject to changes by the Netherlands, the SC adopted in principle ‘Guidelines on Integrated Control and Marking Processes’ (Off-Site Control and Marking), which have been discussed in the SC since 2008. It also agreed on a consultation of Members by written procedure on new ‘Guidelines on Risk Management’ and new ‘CCM Guidelines’: the latter include a CCM authenticity verification procedure, which has been prepared by the STG Deputy Co-Chair, Katarzyna Nadara (Polish Regional Assay Office in Warsaw). All guidelines have been prepared by the STG and taken several years to be drafted.



The SC re-elected Scott Walter (Edinburgh Assay Office) as SC Chairman for the period 2020-21 (1 January 2024 – 31 December 2025). It elected Thomas Brodmann (Swiss Assay Office) as SC First Deputy Chairman and Peters Brangulis (Assay Office of Latvia) as SC Second Deputy Chairman for the same period.

The SC also re-elected all Members of the STG, i.e.:

  • Ana Alves (Portuguese Assay Office)
  • Peters Brangulis (Assay Office of Latvia)
  • Thomas Brodmann (Swiss Assay Office)
  • Ashley Carson (Sheffield Assay Office)
  • Sipke van der Meulen (EWN)
  • Katarzyna Nadara (Polish Regional Assay Office in Warsaw)
  • Scott Walter (Edinburgh Assay Office)



The SC bid farewell to Ole Petersen (Danish Assay Office) for whom it was the last meeting. Mr  Petersen was a very active Member of the SC and currently the longest serving (first attendance in 1994).


Next SC meeting in spring 2024

The SC agreed to reconvene face-to-face in Geneva (Switzerland) on 14 March 2024. This meeting will be hybrid on a trial basis and allow for the remote participation by either video- or audioconference.

The SC discussed a last-minute proposal by Slovenia to alternate face-to-face and virtual meetings in an effort to further reduce the Convention’s carbon print. The proposal will be further discussed at the next meeting.


Technical Programme

The SC meeting was followed by the first Technical Programme organised by the Convention since it merged with the International Association of Assay Offices (IAAO) in 2020. The Technical Programme was previously run by the IAAO.

The 1st edition of the Convention’s Technical Programme was held on 12 September 2023 in the morning and consisted of the following presentations, followed by ‘questions & answers’:

  • George Dalgleish (Historian, The Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh):‘The History of Scottish Silversmithing’
  • Neil Meader (Metal Focus): ‘Key Trends in the Main Jewellery Markets’
  • Jason Love (Head of Chemistry Edinburgh University University): ‘Mining the scrapheap - recycling gold from electronic waste and its use in jewellery design’
  • Owain Houghton (PhD student sponsored by The Goldsmiths Company London at Cambridge University): ‘Bulk Metallic Glasses based on Precious Metals’
  • Katazyna Nadara (Polish Regional Assay Office in Warsaw): ‘Proficiency Testing Round Robin’
  • Rachael Paul (Head Geologist Scotgold Resources): ‘Scotland’s First Commercial Gold Mine – Cononish’

All presentations will be posted on the Convention’s restricted Members’ Area (“Portal”).