Further to social partners, only International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) holding participatory status with the Council of Europe (see the dedicated webpage of the Conference of INGO's of the Council of Europe) are entitled to lodge collective complaints.

First request for entitlement

INGOs holding participatory status with the Council of Europe must submit an application letter duly signed by the person entitled to represent the INGO, stating his or her title and functions, by post to the following address:
Department of the European Social Charter
Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex
E-mail: social.charter@coe.int

including the following information: headquarters of the INGO; telephone; fax; e-mail; web site; the date the INGO was granted participatory status with the Council of Europe, and indicating that the INGO fulfils the conditions stated in paragraph 20 of the Explanatory Report to the Additional Protocol providing for a system of collective complaints.

To this end, the INGO may refer to the following documents:

  • Constitution/Statute of the INGO;
  • rules of procedure;
  • composition of its Administrative Council;
  • composition of its Executive Board, if any;
  • latest activity report;
  • its participation in meetings of INGO bodies of the Council of Europe (meetings and dates);
  • any other relevant document.

Upon receipt, applications by INGOs are submitted for approval to the Governmental Committee of the European Social Charter and the European Code of Social Security at its twice-yearly meetings, which draws up the list of INGOs entitled to lodge collective complaints for a four-year period. Each INGO is duly informed of the Governmental Committee’s decision.

Renewal of entitlement

INGOs wishing to renew their entitlement should forward their request duly signed by the person entitled to represent the INGO, stating his or her title and functions, to the above-mentioned postal and e-mail addresses.

Conditions to be fulfilled for entitlement of INGOs

The Governmental Committee draws up the above-mentioned list, on the basis of the following principles:
  • INGOs which hold participatory status with the Council of Europe and consider themselves particularly competent in any of the matters governed by the Charter are invited to express their wish to be included on a special list of INGOs entitled to submit complaints;
  • each application must be supported by detailed and accurate documentation aiming to show in particular that the INGO has access to authoritative sources of information and is able to carry out the necessary verifications, to obtain appropriate legal opinions, etc., in order to draw up reliable and complete complaint files;
  • all  applications  are  transmitted  to  the  Governmental Committee, accompanied by an opinion of the Secretary General which reflects the degree of interest and participation shown by the INGO in its normal dealings with the Council of Europe;
  • an application is considered accepted by the Governmental Committee unless it is rejected in a ballot by a simple majority of votes cast;
  • inclusion on the special list is valid for a period of four years, after which it lapses unless the organisation applies for renewal in the six-month period preceding the expiry date. The procedure described above applies to renewal applications.