Governance and legal framework


The 2016 International Council of ISS, which was held in Melbourne April 2016, modified its statutes to better accompany its 2014-2018 Strategy, the new statutes revisit ISS  general structure, roles and responsibilities of its organs as well as some internal functional processes (ISS Statutes & By-Laws).

Three organs with different interconnected mandates assume oversight responsibilities and take decisions as needed in the interest of ISS. Those organs are, the International Council (IC) the Governing Board (GB) and the Secretary General (SG). Two consultative groups complement the statutory organs and they are the Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) and the Casework Coordinators (CC).

International Council

The International Council is the General Assembly of ISS and represents the highest decision making body of the network. It meets once every two years and is composed of the President and Directors of ISS Members. The IC could also include a representative from ISS Members a.i. and honorary members as observers. The IC determines ISS Policy and Objectives.

Governing Board

The Governing Board (GB) is composed of eleven members as well as the Secretary General;

  • The International President (independent)
  • The International Treasurer (independent)
  • Six members (who are elected among ISS Members' Boards)
  • Two independent members (external)
  • The Chair of the Professional Advisory Committee (PAC)
  • The Secretary General

The GB manages and governs the ISS network in between IC meetings. The GB is led by a Chair who is elected among the GB members. The GB meets two times a year. Among other responsibilities, it considers solutions to challenges facing the ISS organization and examines and approves the budget of the General Secretariat.

List of Governing Board members

Ms Susan Jacobs  Member, Chair of the Governing Board, ISS USA
Vacant  Independent Member, International President
Mr Kenneth Chung Independent Member, International Treasurer
Ms Marise Dunlop-Stewart-Haefner Independent member
Ms Baitzar Gazerian Member, ISS Greece
Mr Alfred Grixti Member, ISS Malta
Mr Kenneth Kwok Member, ISS Hong Kong
Mr Howard Nadler  Member, ISS Canada
Ms Ursula Roelke Chair of the Professional Advisory Committee
Ms Cherrie Short  Independent member CBE
Mr Jean Ayoub Secretary General (non-voting member)

Secretary General

The Secretary General is the Chief Executive Officer of the ISS and is accountable to the Governing Board and the International Council. He/she coordinates the programs of the General Secretariat and its activities.
In order to fulfill his/her duties, the Secretary General is supported by the staff and volunteers of the GS.

The Secretary General establishes the structure of the Secretariat, within the provisions of the approved budget.

Consultative Committees

The Professional Advisory Committee

The PAC is composed of ISS Members’ directors. The PAC has many responsibilities among which, to bring forward the collective expertise in the social work area and share good practice for the benefit of the ISS network. Via its chair and representative on the Governing Board, it advises the latter on technical matters arising and participates in the debate at this level. The PAC works closely with the General Secretariat and meets at least once a year. The PAC proposes activities at the international level such as projects and training seminars and participates as needed to International forums. The PAC works with the General Secretariat to build the network’s members’ and overall capacity and to develop its potential as well as its global presence.

The Casework Coordinators' Group

The Casework Coordinators’ group is composed of casework managers within the ISS Members or Members a.i. in direct contact with the ISS network. Coordinators are senior and experienced social workers who manage casework teams on a national level. Among many responsibilities, coordinators oversee and ensure best quality and timely casework management. Coordinators, in collaboration with the General Secretariat undertake training activities in the benefit of ISS professional staff.


Legal framework for ISS actions

ISS legal basis

International Conventions

International instruments

International instruments



Regional instruments

Regional instruments