The membership accreditation process

This information sets out how bodies with oversight of Access to Public Information in a specific jurisdiction may request to become a member of the International Conference of Information Commissioners (ICIC) and how their application will be processed under the governance mechanisms of the International Conference, as documented in the Charter.
The prime objective of this information is to assist interested parties in understanding how their application will be reviewed and what is the decision process. It also provides guidance to the Secretariat of the ICIC to allow it to work diligently on applications it receives.
The process derives directly from the ICIC Charter adopted in Johannesburg in March 2019  and should therefore be read in conjunction with the text of the Charter.

In accordance with Article 3 of the ICIC Charter, “Information Commissioners may apply for membership with the Secretariat in compliance with the membership registration process”. The definition of ‘information commissioners’ is of importance here as it will partly decide on the eligibility of the participant in becoming a member of the International Conference.

Before applying for membership, we recommend that interested parties familiarise themselves with Sections 4 – 13 of ICIC Charter on roles and responsibilities of members to ensure that they agree with these.

Bodies meeting the criteria can apply to join the ICIC online.


The online accreditation page requests the organisation to provide the following information:
  • Identify the name of the authority and the jurisdiction in which it is located, and indicates its status as a public authority;

  • Indicate that the authority can demonstrate that it is responsible for protecting, promoting and ensuring the respect of access to public information legislation within its respective jurisdictions and that it has autonomous or independent decision-making authority to carry out its mandate, including the legal base for its creation, its functions and powers, its roles and responsibilities;

  • Endorse the ICIC Charter;

  • Designate a point of contact.
By applying for membership, the applicant also agrees to have information about its organisation published on the ICIC website and commits to populate the case law directory with national or regional cases of significant importance.

Only accredited members and observers are eligible to attend the closed session of the ICIC.
If a body is interested in attending the closed session of the International Conference, we recommend that it applies at a minimum of six weeks in advance of the annual event. This is to accommodate the time required for processing the application and for the Executive Committee to issue its decision, as well as to account for the registration deadline specified by the annual conference host.

The process

Starting an application

To apply, an oversight body needs to complete the written application available on the ICIC website to show how they meet the above eligibility criteria.
The application is done online via the ICIC website.
The application form includes four sections. Most fields are mandatory and the application cannot be submitted until all mandatory fields have been completed.
The application will request information on the legal framework and the independence of the authority and ask for the authority’s confirmation that they will abide by the values, goals and missions of the International Conference (‘eligibility criteria’).
Once it is satisfied that all fields have been duly completed, the applicant can submit its application. The application will be sent automatically to the Secretariat, which will confirm its safe receipt.

Review an application – overview

Upon its receipt, the application will be reviewed by the ICIC Secretariat and then passed on to the Executive Committee for review of the recommendation and decision.

Assessment process

Initial review by the Secretariat
a.    As a first step, the Secretariat will check the application against the eligibility criteria and that the applicant has completed the application correctly.

If the information appears to be incorrect or inconsistent, the Secretariat will contact the applicant to request further clarification.

b.    Once it is satisfied that the application contains all the necessary information, the Secretariat will complete an initial “review and recommendation form” within seven days of receipt of the application.

The “review and recommendation form” is formed of two parts: a review of the application and a recommendation as to the applicant’s eligibility to become an ICIC member.

Review by the Executive Committee

c.    All applications are reviewed and decided upon by the Executive Committee.
d.    The Executive Committee examines applications once a month. The process will usually be carried out on the third week of the month.

Applications received by the Secretariat in any given month will be grouped and sent together to the Executive Committee on the last day of that month.

Applications must be received by the Secretariat at least seven days before the end of the month to be examined by the Executive Committee the next month. This is to allow the Secretariat to conduct its initial review and complete the relevant “review and recommendation form”.  

e.    Members of the Executive Committee have fourteen days from the date of the Secretariat’s correspondence to provide comments on the Secretariat’s initial recommendation. Comments are sent to the Executive Committee and the Secretariat.

f.    Following this consultation period,

  • If no comments and no reservations have been received from members of the Executive Committee within the 14 day period, the Chair will adopt the initial recommendation and inform the Executive Committee of its decision. The Chair will also request that the Secretariat informs the applicant of the Executive Committee’s decision and that information about the new ICIC member is added on the website.

  • If comments are received from members of the Executive Committee but without reservations, the Chair will request the Secretariat to revise its initial recommendation and resubmit it for adoption by the Executive Committee within three days.

    Members of the Executive Committee then have a further three days to express any further comments.

    In absence of comments, the revised recommendation will be considered as adopted.

  • If reservations are expressed by members of the Executive Committee, the Chair may request further information to be provided by the applicant, should substantial information be deemed to be missing which prevents the Executive Committee from forming a view on the eligibility of the applicant. Alternatively, the Chair may convene an extraordinary meeting to discuss the application and the Secretariat’s initial recommendation.

    • In case further information is required from the applicant, the Secretariat will send a notification to the applicant specifying the nature of the request and allow them fourteen days for response.

      Upon request by the applicant, that period can be extended to a longer deadline to be agreed between the Secretariat and the applicant. The Secretariat will inform the Executive Committee of the longer deadline.

      In absence of response by the applicant within the agreed response time, the application will be considered as expired and a new application will need to be submitted by the applicant.

      If additional information is provided to the Secretariat within the agreed time period, the ‘review and recommendation form’ will be revised by the Secretariat in light of that new information and resubmitted for review by the Executive Committee.

      Members of the Executive Committee then have seven days to express any further comments. In absence of comments, the revised recommendation will be considered as adopted.

    • Alternatively, the Chair can convene an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee to allow opposing views and reservations to be expressed.

      During that meeting, the Chair will seek to reach a decision by consensus. In absence of consensus, the chair can put the decision to a simple majority vote of the members present at the meeting. If the vote ends with a tie, the Chair has the deciding vote.

      The meeting will be recorded by the Secretariat. The minutes of the meeting will be used to review the recommendation and serve as record for the decision by the Executive Committee.
Urgency procedure

g.    Where the Secretariat considers that there is a need to move quickly with an application, it may request, by way of derogation of the above described procedure, that the Executive Committee immediately reviews the application. The Secretariat will confer with the Executive Committee on an appropriate period of consultation.

h.    The procedure described in (f) above applies once the consultation period has ended.


Assessment outcome

The Executive Committee can issue four possible recommendations:
  • Successful or Accredited
    If the applicant successfully demonstrates that its organisation meets all the criteria, it will be awarded accredited status. The new member must abide by all the provisions enshrined in the Charter to become and remain accredited.

  • Accreditation with observations
    The Secretariat may make a recommendation that the body is awarded accredited status but make observations for the body to consider. The new member will be encouraged to respond to these.

  • Deferred accreditation with set conditions
    The Secretariat may make a recommendation that certain conditions are met before the body becomes accredited. The conditions and possible deadline will be specified in the Executive Committee’s decision. The body must make a resubmission which meets these requirements to have their application further reviewed. Alternatively, the application may be considered as expired and the Secretariat can refuse the accreditation.

  • Unsuccessful
    If an applicant does not meet the conditions set out in the application form, or if the resubmission still does not meet all the criteria, the application will be considered unsuccessful. The recommendation will however encourage the organisation to reapply should they feel they can meet the criteria.


Upon reaching its decision, the Executive Committee/Chair will request the Secretariat to issue a decision letter to the applicant within two days of that decision.
If the application is successful, the Chair will instruct the Secretariat to inform the ICIC membership and to add a news entry on the ICIC website.
If the applicant is dissatisfied with the decision made by the Executive Committee, they can apply directly to the Chair within 14 days of the date on the decision letter to have their application reviewed.
Their appeal should provide a statement as to why they believe the decision by the Executive Committee should be rescinded or reviewed.
Upon receiving the appeal letter and statement, the Chair will convene an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee to examine the grounds for appeal.

Based on the information received, the Executive Committee will issue a decision within seven days of receipt. This decision is considered final.

The decision is sent to parties involved and is subsequently published on the ICIC website.