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What it means to be ABPCO accredited

When planning a conference you will want to find an organiser that fits your requirements and won’t disappoint. ABPCO is here to help.

Our entry criteria ensure that only those with professional experience are awarded membership. Investing in PCO services, for all or part of your event’s management, cannot only ensure the smooth running of your conference but may also save (or even make) you money in the long run. Effective marketing can boost your delegate attendance and securing the right sponsorship can make or break the event, so an initial investment to bring in the professionals should pay dividends.

How do ABPCO accredit members?

The ABPCO quality marque is an industry recognised standard that those working in the professional conference organising industry trust. It is based on professional experience, peer assessment and references from both sides of the supply chain. In order to achieve the ‘PCO member’ designation the member has confirmed that they have had 5 years or more professional experience (and a minimum of 2 years as a proprietor, partner, director or senior manager), and that they are upholding the industry standards and the ABPCO code of conduct. ABPCO members are professionals, and have demonstrated that they have the skills, processes and experience in place to enable them to sign up to this code. On membership renewal they reconfirm their adherence to the code of practice and receive a dated membership logo.

‘Associate member’ designation shows the member has a minimum of 2 years’ experience in the organisation of all services required for the preparation and running of conferences, seminars and/or other meetings. Our members have all confirmed that they have had experience in the following aspects, required to be a successful PCO;

Administration Experience

  • Provision of administrative secretariat
  • Handling registrations
  • Preparation and implementation of a marketing plan
  • Planning and administration of a general working programme
  • Planning and organisation of social events
  • Design management
  • Preparation, printing and distribution of documents
  • Hiring of/responsibility for sets, signs, furniture, audio-visual
  • Organisation of interpretation and translation
  • Recruitment and briefing of conference staff
  • Reservation and management of hotel accommodation
  • Organisation of coach and individual transfers
  • Organisation of delegates’ travel arrangements
  • Overall on-site management

Financial Experience

  • Preparation of budget and control of expenditure
  • Revenue generation (sponsorship, exhibition, satellite meetings)
  • Preparation of contracts with clients, venues and other suppliers
  • VAT and insurance issues
  • Reconciliation of final accounts

Exhibition Experience

  • Organisation of exhibitions (floor plans, liaison with contractors etc.)
  • Exhibition sales and marketing

Technical Experience

  • Organisation of technical/scientific programme content
  • Processing of abstracts
  • Provision of speaker registration, briefings, slide preview
  • Arrangements for the press and media
  • Publication of proceedings

ABPCO encourages the highest professional standards in association conference and event organisation. In order to maintain the integrity of ABPCO accreditation, membership applications are scrutinized by a peer review panel and references are taken up from a client and a supplier contact. Individuals or organisations considering making a complaint against an ABPCO member should use this guide, which explains how to make a complaint and the procedures in place for investigating complaints.

Complaints Policy ABPCO Code of Practice


Excellence Awards

The PCO awards

The ABPCO Excellence Awards recognise and celebrate industry best practice in association and not for profit conferences/events.  Members have an opportunity to showcase a conference/event, which demonstrates pioneering practices, outstanding event organisation and which has resulted in purposeful and impactful events for their organisation.  

The Partner Awards

Our Partner recognition awards are nominated by our members and demonstrate collaboration with the Partner on a conference/event and highlight the impact that a Partner has made on the successful delivery of their conference; this could include the introduction of new innovations, products, services or sustainability concepts.

The Chairmen's Awards

All of the agreed finalists can be evaluated for this award, plus any separate nominations from the Executive.  This award recognises the proactive approach many of our members are taking in relation to the ABPCO values; Excellence, Learning and Belonging and the Purpose 'Proud to enable and promote excellence in association conferences and events'.


Raise standards of professionalism by offering engaging learning opportunities


Constantly develop and enhance the benefits we offer to our members

Previous Excellence Awards

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