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About ABPCO

About ABPCO header internal

The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers, (ABPCO) is the UK’s leading Professional body for Association Conference & Not-for-profit Event Organisation. We are a growing association, and welcome new members.

For thirty years we have focused on excellence and have helped to facilitate conversations, knowledge sharing and collaboration between ABPCO members, and these conversations lead to innovations, learning, new opportunities, lasting working relationships and professionalisation. Most importantly they give ABPCO members a sense of belonging and a go-to place within the events professionals’ community.

ABPCO is one of very few UK conference and event industry associations to select Full and Associate Members based on peer assessment. This means that clients and suppliers can expect ABPCO Members to deliver business and ethical standards in the management of national and international association & corporate conferences, seminars, meetings, exhibitions & other events.

 

Collaboration and Campaigns

As part of our Mission we see our role as collaborating on industry-changing campaigns, by facilitating the sharing of best practice across our membership base and working together as an industry to disseminate what we learn for the wider good. We can do so much more together than we could by ourselves.

The development of Conference Cloud followed an open forum debate at the ABPCO Summer Summit in Belfast in 2011, where PCO members raised concerns over the negative impact of high cost Wi-Fi access for delegates. The aim of the initiative was to garner support via an online petition while also working with conference venues to develop a free delegate Wi-Fi service.

Conference Cloud logo

The campaign secured the support of 200 venues across the UK, and engendered real change industry. ABPCO are proud to have been behind such a significant initiative which undoubtedly moved our meetings industry forward in terms of how we address delegate requirements. The campaign won Gold at the 11th MIMA award presentation in the ‘Best use of Budget’ category.

In 2015 ABPCO joined forces with M&IT magazine to launch its campaign for the living wage in live events. ABPCO members spend around £60mn per year on venues and suppliers, so have real influence in the industry.

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The hotel and hospitality sectors are rated among the worst offenders for failing to pay frontline staff the living wage. The Centre for Research in Social Policy found that 90% of workers in the hospitality sector are paid under the living wage and, whilst it is not enforceable, people are now starting to question whether this is morally right. The campaign urged all event buyers to put the living wage at the top of the agenda when selecting a venue, and policy makers to address low pay in the sector.

Joint chair Caroline Windsor and Nicole Leida said: “ABPCO has decided to support this campaign because we believe it will ensure the debate pursues the argument for a living wage for the events industry at a much higher level.

"We can’t demand our members or our suppliers to join us but we can try to persuade them of the validity of the argument as part of the M&IT campaign. We will be taking the debate to all stakeholders in our industry to try to get their support and recognising those who adopt the living wage as a policy."

The Business Visit and Events Partnership (BVEP)

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ABPCO are active members of the BVEP, which is an umbrella organisation representing leading trade and professional organisations, government agencies and other significant influencers in the business visits and events sector.

The BVEP exists to:

  • garner the cohesive opinion of these stakeholders and to collectively influence and develop policies, practices and strategies that support and generate growth in the sector and,
  • raise sector awareness through clear communications of the social and economic benefits of the business visits and events sector.

The Partnership seeks to provide a cohesive point of view for the entire business visits and events sector. The BVEP works with prominent sector leaders including its partners, government departments and agencies to influence and develop policies and practices favourable to the growth of business events, and trade and creative enterprise through business visits and events.

It has the support of the leading trade and professional organisations and government agencies with a shared interest in the economic benefit and growth of conferences, meetings, exhibitions, trade fairs, incentive travel, corporate hospitality, ceremonies, as well as other business, sporting, cultural and festival events.  

To find out more please see https://www.businessvisitsandeventspartnership.com/

The Event Assistant Partnership

The Event Assistant Apprenticeship has been designed by professionals in the industry for the industry – so it’s relevant and will ensure that apprentices get the right training and experience to kick off a rewarding career in this incredible industry; and that employers can take on apprentices with ease – tailoring the training and job to meet the needs of their company as well as receiving Government funding to help pay for the training and other costs. To find out more, go to www.getintoevents.org.uk

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ABPCO Supporting Eventwell

Eventwell.org is a charitable social enterprise dedicated to the events industry and unlike other larger charitable organisations we do not rely on major donors or sponsors. We believe that as a vital resource for the industry we should remain open and accessible and not be steered, therefore, we rely solely on the revenue we generate from our website, new event series and generous donations that are made to fund the essential educational service we provide for all professionals in events. www.eventwell.org

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Our 30 Year History

ABPCO has been a commanding voice for Professional Conference Organisers for more than thirty years.

ABPCO has been a commanding voice for Professional Conference Organisers for more than thirty years. In that time we have seen a steady growth in membership, and have led on industry initiatives and campaigns. We have always been keen to collaborate, and work hard to fulfil the mission of our members to showcase excellence in association conferences and events. Take a look at the key industry figures who have taken the role of Chair, and our video animation that highlights key markers along the way.

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ABPCO Executive

The Executive Committee is comprised of the Chair and up to five others drawn from the full members, together with one member drawn where possible from each additional member category. Members of the Executive Committee are registered with Companies House as Directors of the company. The Executive committee are responsible, in conjunction with the Association Director, for the general running of the Association, handling membership applications, business development strategy, finance, information services, and the preparation of policy for discussion by members. The Association Director, ABPCO chairs and members of the Executive Committee will also represent the interests of the Association to all appropriate Government agencies, industry bodies, and the media. Executive Committee members are elected to serve for a three-year period. At the conclusion of this three-year term, members will have the opportunity either to elect replacements or to renew the appointment of the retiring member(s) for a further period of one year.

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Anne Doherty

Happening Conferences & Events Ltd

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Barbara Calderwood

MCI Group

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David Parker

Royal College of Physicians “Circulus”

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Jo Powel

Macmillan Cancer Support

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Kate Sargent

Bioscientifica Ltd

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Michael Smith

RenewableUK

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Rob Eveleigh

Brightelm

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Shelley Spencer

Scottish Event Campus

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Martin Linfield

Hiscox Event Insurance

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Adam Baggs

Soaring Worldwide

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Dr Sandro Carnicelli

University of the West of Scotland

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Heather Lishman

ABPCO

Strategic Aims

ABPCO's strategic aims are to:

  • Position ABPCO as the leading body representing the interests of Professional Conference and Event Organisers and increase its profile and recognition thereby raising the volume and value of business being won by its members.
  • To constantly develop and enhance the benefits it provides to ABPCO members, who offer conference and event management services to clients, by creating opportunities for networking and by encouraging its members to achieve the highest possible standards of excellence
  • To raise standards of professionalism across the meetings industry through the provision of education, training and personal development opportunities
  • To ensure the UK meetings industry is able to compete on the world-stage through collaboration with other UK associations and national bodies (e.g. MPI, BVEP, Institute of Event Management, People 1st).

ABPCO Mission Statement

ABPCO's mission is to develop and enhance the professional status of conference and event organisers and increase the recognition given to its members and to ABPCO as the leading representatives of the profession in the British Isles.

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