The International Association of Professional Congress Organisers, better known as IAPCO, is committed to quality and education to set the tone for good and reliable congress management. Membership is not granted lightly; it is preceded by an extensive process of audits and reviews. Nicolette van Erven, founder and former owner of Congress by design and council member of IAPCO talks about the added value of membership for PCOs and clients.
“An IAPCO accreditation is an internationally recognised quality mark that represent the quality of a PCO member”, Nicolette van Erven explains from her role as chairperson of the Quality Committee at IAPCO. “To become a member, a PCO applicant must first submit all kinds of documents that show who you are, what you have done and what your organisation and operations look like. References are also requested. This gives IAPCO an impression of how the company is run, whether it is financially healthy and whether there is room for education and development, because those are important conditions for IAPCO.”
Congress visit as audit
Those who make it through the first round will then undergo an IAPCO audit, anywhere in the world. “We don't only pay a visit to the office of the candidate member, we also attend a congress to assess how the set-up and organisation is realised in practice”, Van Erven outlines. “We look at the whole picture, from strategic advice and meeting design to financial management and communication. We also talk to the client’s participants and exhibitors to hear how they experienced the congress and cooperation with the PCO.”