What is a general word or phrase that could encompass the class of documents called standards (i.e. ISO, ANSI, BS, etc.), legislation, laws, handbooks, style guides, manuals, etc.? Basically, all prescriptive written things that tell people what to do.
I think regulations is a general term: (from TFD)
- a rule, principle, or condition that governs procedure or behaviour
- (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a governmental or ministerial order having the force of law
How about regulations and guidelines?
The 'regulations' component covers those codified provisions (both legislative and otherwise) which must be obeyed, and the 'guidelines' element covers those which are merely recommended, advisory or informational.
Protocols A set of rules describing correct conduct and procedures in formal situations.
I'd go with "governance".
It's widely used in Information Technology settings, as an example.
I would use "standard operating procedures"