IFIP: International Federation for Information Processing
IFIP: International Federation for Information Processing
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General information and requirements, Bidding procedure, Sample contract, Useful check-lists, Committees and Terms of reference

1. Congress Organization

All matters concerned with the organization of a Congress are the direct responsibility of a Congress Organizing Committee (COC). All matters concerned with the technical program of the Congress are the responsibility of a Program Committee (PC). The COC and PC Chairs are appointed by the IFIP President with General Assembly (GA) endorsement. They are directly responsible to the IFIP President and report to him and to GA. Each committee has a budget and together these two budgets form the total Congress budget, which is under the direct supervision of the COC chair. The President of IFIP is ex-officio head of the IFIP Congress. The IFIP GA has the overall responsibility to oversee progress and provide guidance for the Congress preparations.

Most members of the COC are nationals of the country where the Congress is to be held. The PC chair should be from another country in order to preserve the internationalism of the Congress.
The borderline between COC and PC responsibilities may vary from Congress to Congress. The President is there to help resolve any difference.

It is recommended that national member societies of IFIP appoint a National Committee for each IFIP Congress, the mission of which is to assist the COC and the PC on matters concerned with the participation of their country in the Congress.

2. Congress Committee (CC) and site selection

Site selection for IFIP Congresses is a decision made by the GA on the evaluations of the Congress Committee (CC). The CC makes its evaluations on the basis of bids received from member organizations wishing to act as host for a Congress. The CC report to the GA should draw attention to the strengths and weaknesses of the bids and to any essential points on which uncertainty exists. The report is not required, however, to make a recommendation in favor of one or another of the contending bids. There may be policy questions involved in the decision between contenders, which are best left to the GA.

The bids should contain at least the essential factual information and the CC should satisfy itself that the information supplied is complete.

3. Procedures and Recommendations

Scheduling of selection

The bidding societies should submit their bids by January 31, 4 calendar years in advance of the Congress. This timing will allow the CC to seek guidance from the Council at the first Council meeting in that same year on any question of principle which might arise and will leave a further six months during which the committee would be able to review the proposals. Members of CC are expected to pay a visit to the society and the proposed congress site at the expense of the bidding societies.

Membership of CC

The President appoints the CC chair and members following consultations in the Executive Board. GA endorses these appointments.

Invitation to bid

Procedures for bidding and deadlines for the submission of bids are announced to all GA representative and IFIP Full Member Societies.

Form of bid

Submissions should be presented in the form of a report package. Important points should be supported by attached documents, such as brochures describing congress halls, letters of support by official national bodies, etc.

Congress facilities

Congress facilities should include:

6 to 8 lecture halls (5 at about 500 seats and 1 with say 3,000)
6 meeting rooms (2 with 50 seats capacity)
Offices for IFIP and IFIP Congress officers and secretaries
1 large registration hall

All of these facilities should be in the same building. For the exhibition, the COC should provide guidelines for space requirements.

The report package should include plans of both congress and exhibition space layouts.

Ideally, congress and exhibition facilities should be on only one site, with parking and luncheon facilities. If this is not possible, there should be good transport connections between them. There should also be good connections with the principal hotel areas. A map showing the locations and connections between them with a distance scale should be attached to the report.

A congress bid should state whether congresses of the IFIP size (c.a. 1,500 – 3,000 participants) have been held on the same site or whether any are projected. If so, a brief description would be useful.

Accommodation for participants

The number and prices of hotel rooms available by categories -- from luxury to moderate, single and double -- as well as rooms in student halls or residences, pensions and private houses, together with the distances from each of them to the congress site should be given.

The hotels, pensions, or university accommodation from which it is reasonably easy to reach the congress site -- quarter of an hour walk or half an hour bus or metro -- are the most practicable ones for congress accommodation. Congress bids should specify the accommodation conforming to these restrictions.

Possibilities of housing participants at larger distances including neighboring towns should be mentioned.

Major hotels and districts should be shown on the map submitted with the report.

Information should be given as to whether rooms in hotels can be reserved by block bookings in sufficient number.


Is there an active computing community in the area of the congress site, which can provide specialist advice and help? This question is very important if the proposed town is not the headquarters of the sponsoring organization and if many of the congress organizers will have to be found in this area.

Places of interest for technical visits -- laboratories, plants, computing centers, be listed, as should a proposed site's attractions for the tourist: surroundings, historical buildings, beach, climate, etc. Good international air connections are desirable. A well-served international airport is important, as are frequent direct flights to the main capitals, etc. Living costs such as typical rates for a hotel room -- per category --, for a meal, should be stated. Possibilities for cheaper travel from the site should also be listed.

Local sponsoring professional organization

A short description of the representative nature of this organization - number of members, patrons, etc. --, of its experience in running similar meetings, and of the size and qualification of its permanent staff should be given.

What part, if any, of the congress organization would be subcontracted to commercial firms --such as professional congress organizers or travel agencies? It is recommended that the local society ensures that most of the local organization and work is carried out gratuitously by volunteers.

Local support and Financial Aid

The bid should include answers to the following questions:

Are local authorities --- town, county, state,.... eager to be the host of the IFIP Congress? (supporting letters from municipal, state, and other authorities would add credibility to claims of local support).

Will certain facilities, such as lecture rooms, be provided free or at reduced cost and, if they are provided free, are strings attached?

May the host society count on grants for subsidizing the congress - from federal and state government ? Are local authorities -- town, county, state,.... municipal authorities, private firms-- eager to be the host of the IFIP Congress?

Will financial advances be possible? On what terms?

What is the nature of the financial guarantees - protection against possible losses ?

Will any official entertainment be provided free? Details should be given

To what extent can it be anticipated that expenses of committee members be borne by local organizations ?

In case an IFIP loan is required, the exact conditions - time of repayment, etc. - under which the loan is sought should be set out.

Preliminary budgetary information

Information should be given as far as possible on the following items of cost and income:

Cost items

Exhibit rents
Meeting room rents
Staff rates: scientific secretaries, clerks, etc.
Printing costs: folders, programs, etc.

Income items

Proposed registration fee per participant. It should be less than the limit set by GA, if any.
Exhibition fee (per square meter)

IFIP surplus

IFIP's share of the surplus is calculated on the basis of 40 EUR per registered participant.

However, irrespective of the financial outcome IFIP must be guaranteed a minimum of 25,000 EUR. The actual guaranteed amount agreed for a specific Congress will correspond to the submitted bid and will be written in the contract, along with any proposal for surplus sharing, between the organizing society and IFIP.

4. Congress Contract


Agreement between ………………………………..[IFIP Full Member Society] and the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) in respect of the ……th IFIP World Computer Congress

The ………………………………………………. [society] (hereinafter called "……...") and the International Federation for Information Processing (hereinafter called "IFIP")

AGREE to the following terms and conditions related to the organization of the …..th IFIP World Computer Congress and its related conferences (hereinafter called "Congress") to be held in …………………[town], ……………………. [country], in …………………………….. [date].

  1. This agreement defines the relationship and responsibilities in respect of the Congress for which ……..(society) has submitted a bid, considered and accepted by a vote of the IFIP General Assembly.
  2. The IFIP President appoints the Chairs of the Congress Organizing Committee (COC) and the International Program Committee (IPC). The COC and IPC Chairs shall appoint the members of their respective committees in consultation with the IFIP President.
  3. The COC, as a committee established by ……………………[society], shall be responsible for the overall organization and management of the Congress. The COC, under the supervision of……………………[society], shall be responsible for the Congress finances. COC jointly with ……………………. [society] shall accept all legal responsibility that may arise in relation to the Congress.
  4. The COC shall produce detailed Project and Marketing plans for the Congress. The COC shall provide Quarterly Progress Reports that highlight actual progress relative to planned activity.
  5. The COC shall prepare a Congress Budget, which will take into account all planned income and expenditure associated with Congress. This budget should embrace the activities of both the COC and PC since these both form a part of the total Congress budget. The COC shall produce quarterly financial reports and forecasts.
  6. Within three months following the Congress, COC shall render the provisional accounts and shall remit to IFIP an amount of either EUR 40 for each registered paying participant and the agreed part of the surplus or EUR 25,000 - whichever sum is the greater. The audited Congress accounts will be rendered to IFIP within 180 days. Any loan provided to ……………………[Society] by IFIP will be returned within one month after the Congress. Should the amounts payable to IFIP not be remitted in full within the specified period, then IFIP reserves the right to charge interest on the outstanding sums at a rate of ten percentage points (10%) over the current bank rate (Lombard rate) then prevailing in Austria.
  7. IFIP is the sole copyright owner of the proceedings of the Congress and the conferences which form a part of the Congress. Royalties from sales of the proceedings shall go to IFIP as the sole copyright owner. The detailed publications arrangements and publications contract shall be covered by a separate agreement in conformity with IFIP's publications regulations and guidelines.
  8. At all times, the COC shall comply with IFIP’s regulations. In addition, the Congress should conform to the relevant guidelines of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU)
  9. This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the Republic of Austria.
  10. Signed in 2 original copies by:

__________________________ Date _________________________ Date

           (Society) President                                     IFIP President

__________________________ Date _________________________ Date

            COC Chair                                               IFIP Secretary



Do not underestimate the work involved in organizing an IFIP World Congress due to the nature of the program and how it is constructed, the unique requirements of the event, the involvement of TCs, and the peculiarities of IFIP generally.

The accompanying General Assembly (GA) and associated meetings may or may not be organized by the Congress Organizing Committee (COC), but the expenses of the GA and associated meetings are NOT a charge against the Congress. They are paid by the host society.

GA is hosted immediately after the Congress.

Careful thought needs to be given to the allocation of free registrations. Normally invited speakers, Program Committee (PC) chairs, and COC (including subcommittee) members are free.

Accounts should be audited by an authorized chartered accountant.

An exhibition held in conjunction with the Congress must be treated as a responsibility for the COC only.

In addition to the financial budgets, another critical budget is a Human Resource budget for each subcommittee- vital for organizing volunteer resources.

It is recommended that procedure manuals are prepared for each of the major activities - both as a training aid and as a method of checking completeness of procedures.

Critical path schedule must be prepared at the outset.

Use with caution experience of previous Congresses-things change.


The Congress budget has to support the Program Committee (PC) budget - the PC is NOT a charge against IFIP.

Think carefully how many "social" events are included in the registration fee. Generally, the fee should be kept as low as possible and attendance at social events is a discretionary decision.

Bid expenses for the Congress should be borne by the host society and not be charged against the Congress.

Make sure adequate insurance is taken out, including loss caused by force majeure.

Sponsorship can be very important in funding the Congress.

Exhibition income is another important source for financing the Congress.

Budgets should be presented to every GA from the time a site is chosen so that the GA is fully aware of the progressive situation. In the two years immediately preceding the Congress, progressive forecasts should be presented to Council as well.

Budgets should be presented in the domestic currency as well as the stipulated currency of IFIP (EUR).

In presenting financial statements the original budget should always be presented unchanged, with each revised presentation incorporating the latest forecast, so the reader can always compare the original expectations with the latest expectations.

A breakeven number of participants should always be shown.

A cash flow schedule needs to be prepared at the outset as expenditures in the early years will have to be supported by either IFIP or the host society.

The contract between IFIP and the host society and the Congress budget must include the IFIP sponsorship fee equal to a fixed amount per paying participant. A guaranteed minimum (depending on the bid but in all cases not less than 25,000 EUR) should be agreed. In addition, the contract must specify how any surplus from the Congress is to be shared between the two. A loss is the responsibility of the host society.

It is normal practice to have an early-bird registration fee at a discount. Make provision for day and student registrations.


Proceedings should be published by the IFIP publisher in cooperation with the PC.

Editor should be "mother-tongue" English.

The proceedings for Congress participants should be included in the Congress budget.


The product (Congress) comprises the content (technical/social program) and the packaging (venue/local arrangements).

It is difficult (and unwise) to market one or the other separately- both must be marketed together. Therefore, it is essential to finalize the program as soon as possible, as many potential delegates wait to see the program before deciding.

Not everybody is connected to or uses the Web. Hard copy marketing material is necessary.

The GA representative is not necessarily the best liaison contact in his country for the Congress. Choose carefully, as an active local liaison person (or committee) is invaluable.

Create a world-wide media list for distribution of press releases etc.

Remember that a big part of the attendees will be from the host country or immediate region and the program needs to take that into account.

Effective publicity and promotion is essential for success and use should be made of every medium - journals, member newsletters, professional magazines, trade journals, direct mail, all forms of electronic media, and personal contacts.

Involve official airline/travel representatives in the COC.

Promote Congress at conferences world-wide.

Keep media, especially local, constantly "fed" with suitable material. Most important during the twelve months leading up to Congress.

Overseas embassies and trade commissions can prove to be a valuable means of distributing publicity material.

A well designed (fits into the pocket) easy to use Congress handbook during the Congress is a must.

A list of printed materials includes:

First Announcement (with preliminary registration form);
Call for Papers (with instructions to authors and preliminary registration form)
Program (with registration form, social events, travel and hotel information)
Final Program/Congress Handbook (at Congress)


Every possible action needs to be taken to obviate "no shows" by speakers - registration and payment before acceptance of papers.

English is the official language of IFIP and is therefore the official language of the Congress. If the COC decides to provide any simultaneous translation, this cost must be borne by the host society. It cannot be charged against the Congress.

The opening and closing sessions should be organized jointly by the COC and the PC.

The organization of papers into sessions, the number of papers, and the timings of the sessions are the responsibility of the PC and should be worked out in conjunction with the COC.

Local Arrangements

Whenever possible shuttle buses should be provided if Congress venue is distant from accommodation.

A Post Office facility needs to be provided as part of the Congress facilities.

Currency exchange facilities at the Congress site.

Remember most people attending, even locals, may be visiting the site for the first time and clear signage (and plenty of it) is very important.

The first point of contact for many people will be the airport. Have a Congress desk readily visible at the airport.

At Opening and Closing ceremonies allocate reserved seating for VIP guests, including Executive Board and Honorary Members - AND make sure they are advised of or directed to such on the day.

Provide separate registration facilities for those that have prepaid from those that have to pay or who have queries about money.

Make sure technicians are on hand at all times during presentations so that equipment failures can be rectified immediately.

Registration packets should be standard, with individual specific material in a separate envelope.

A simple easy to use Congress message system for delegates.

Organizational Structure

The COC should consist of at least the following sub-Committees: Finance, Printing and Mailing, Local Arrangements, Attendance and Registration, Exhibition, Publicity and Information, Social and Special Events.

Subcommittees of COC must have clear and comprehensive terms of reference from day one. Sample sets of terms of reference are attached.

Patrons (senior political, business, community, professional leaders) are useful for "opening doors".

6. Terms of Reference

COC Chair and Vice-Chairs: 

Coordinating activities of subcommittees or activities which are not under the responsibility of any subcommittee;

Preparing an overall timetable of activities and a critical path, taking into account timetables prepared by subcommittees relevant to their activities;

Liaising with the Advisory Committee and Patron Committee to ensure optimum benefit is gained through those committees;

Soliciting sources of financial or other support for the Congress.

Liaising with the chairs of subcommittees in respect of administrative and secretarial matters;

Preparing the agenda for meetings of the COC and ensuring necessary reports are received and distributed to all members;

Distributing to subcommittees actions and decisions emanating from COC meetings;

Ensuring all actions and decisions are implemented by relevant chairs;

Arranging the taking and distribution of Minutes of COC meetings;

Preparing and keeping up to date a budget in respect of its activities, notifying the Finance Subcommittee of changes to its budget, and ensuring expenditure is within budgeted approvals.

The Finance Subcommittee:

In consultation with other subcommittees, preparing an overall Congress budget for all conference activities;

Updating the forecasts and preparing financial statements;

Opening and controlling any accounts necessary for the handling of receipts and payments associated with the Congress;

Arranging for the accounts to be audited annually;

Drafting a timetable of activities relevant to the subcommittee’s activities and indicating liaison requirements with other subcommittees.

The Printing and Mailing Subcommittee:

Liaising with the PC, the Editors and the Publisher for the production of the Proceedings;

Arranging the printing of all Congress materials;

Ensuring the mailing and e-mail lists are complete and up to date;

Initiating the collection of names and addresses for adding to the mailing list;

Arranging the distribution of material to potential attendees;

Drafting a timetable of activities relevant to the subcommittee’s activities and indicating liaison requirements with other subcommittees;

Preparing and keeping up to date a budget in respect of its activities, notifying the Finance Subcommittee of changes to its budget, and ensuring expenditure is within budgeted approvals.

The Local Arrangements Subcommittee:

  1. Liaising with professional organizers or directly organizing lecture and conference facilities including audio facilities, visual aids and question procedures;
  2. Liaising, through the COC Chair, with the PC to ensure all conference facilities meet program requirements;
  3. Liaising, through the COC Chair, with the PC to ensure the highest quality visual and oral presentation of papers;
  4. Contacting all participants in sessions, speakers, discussants etc. and advising them of the time and place and rules of procedure regarding their participation, and requesting advice of visual aids required or any other special arrangements necessary;
  5. Arranging ancillary services, including the following:

Morning and afternoon teas, lunches,
Coffee bars, bars
VIP lounges/ press lounges
International lounges
Internet, telephone & fax services
Post Office
International newspapers
Informal meeting locations
Rental cars

Arranging the venue, lecture facilities and associated visual aids for all sessions;

Drafting a timetable of activities relevant to the subcommittee’s activities and indicating liaison requirements with other subcommittees;

Preparing and keeping up to date a budget in respect of its activities, notifying the Finance Subcommittee of changes to its budget, and ensuring expenditure is within budgeted approvals.

The Attendance and Registration Subcommittee :

Designing the information content and layout of the registration form;

Making all necessary arrangements for the registration of delegates, including advance and on-site registrations;

Liaising with the official carriers to ensure that all travel and accommodation arrangements are satisfactory, including departure arrangements;

Setting up, in conjunction with the conference consultant and the official airline, a system to record and print on request, details of delegates so as to be able to ensure all fees are paid and mailing labels are available as required;

Arranging staffing of on-site registration facilities;

Ensuring every assistance is given to overcome visa difficulties;

Assembling and distributing the Congress kit;

Arranging issue of invitations, tickets, etc. for all functions;

Drafting a timetable of activities relevant to the subcommittee’s activities and indicating liaison requirements with other subcommittees;

Preparing and keeping up to date a budget in respect of its activities, notifying the Finance Subcommittee of changes to its budget, and ensuring expenditure is within budgeted approvals.

The Exhibition Subcommittee:

The planning and controlling , in conjunction with the Exhibition Organizer,

The exhibition of equipment and services conducted in conjunction with the Congress;

Ensuring maximum participation of suppliers, manufacturers and service companies;

Drafting a timetable of activities relevant to the subcommittee’s activities and indicating liaison requirements with other subcommittees;

Preparing and keeping up to date a budget in respect of its activities, notifying the Finance Subcommittee of changes to its budget, and ensuring expenditure is within budgeted approvals.

The Publicity and Information Subcommittee:

Planning and arranging all necessary publicity to advertise the Congress, including press, TV and radio, overseas and national conferences, tourist authorities, official carriers, industry groups and other relevant bodies and publications;

Arranging, in conjunction with relevant subcommittees, the content, form and presentation of all Congress printed material, excluding the Proceedings, but including the program, conference brochures, registration forms, publicity handouts, posters and other material;

Ensuring a regular flow of publicity, local and overseas to encourage maximum attendance;

Arranging press rooms and facilities at the Congress;

Arranging information centers at the Congress in relation to Congress activities, travel, accommodation, banking, shopping, tours, health services, recreation etc.;

Arranging design, production and marketing, at the Congress and in other ways, of souvenirs, postcards and similar material;

Arranging the staffing of information centers at the Congress;

The distribution of publicity material to the press, media, and associated societies and associations, both local and overseas;

The preparation and release, through the Chairperson, of press releases;

Handling and selling of advertising space in all publications;

The preparation of a Congress News sheet both prior to and during the Congress;

Drafting a timetable of activities relevant to the subcommittee’s activities and indicating liaison requirements with other subcommittees;

Preparing and keeping up to date a budget in respect of its activities, notifying the Finance Subcommittee of changes to its budget, and ensuring expenditure is within budgeted approvals.

The Social and Special Events Subcommittee:

Recommending a suitable program of social activities;

Arranging and hosting of all official lunches, dinners and social functions;

Arranging a suitable program to cater for accompanying persons during the Congress;

Making all social arrangements in connection with Keynote speakers;

Planning and organizing appropriate activities to be held during Congress week

Drafting a timetable of activities relevant to the subcommittee’s activities and indicating liaison requirements with other subcommittees

Preparing and keeping up to date a budget in respect of its activities, notifying the Finance Subcommittee of changes to its budget, and ensuring expenditure is within budgeted approvals.

Prepared by A. Goldsworthy, W. Grafendorfer and P. Nedkov

IFIP Headquarters is located in Laxenburg, Austria. (Image: Blauer Hof, Laxenburg)
IFIP Headquarters is located in Laxenburg, Austria. (Image: Blauer Hof, Laxenburg)