Membership of the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) is only available to guide dog organisations. There is one class of membership available which entitles the organisation to have voting rights within the Federation.
Guide Dog organisations may apply for membership if they are a legal entity and have trained at least 10 qualified guide dog teams. Training means everything after the puppy walking stage. I.e all basic and advanced training of the dog and matching with the client.
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The organisation must be a legal entity and the organisation must have trained 10 (or more) working guide dog and user teams. Training means everything after the puppy walking stage. I.e. all basic and advanced training of the dog and matching with the client.
- The new applicant organisation must undergo a satisfactory assessment by an Assessor selected by the AC. Upon submitting a completed application form, the organisation will pay an enrolment fee of £500 towards the costs of administration of the application.
- There will be a further fee of £500 to cover the initial assessment, once the application has been accepted.
- All applications for membership have to be reviewed at an AC meeting and the AC’s recommendations must be then ratified by the Board.
- When an organisation, which has already become an Applicant Organisation, has produced 10 guide dog units, an application for Membership should be submitted to the IGDF.
An organisation applying for membership will be required to pay a membership enrolment fee of £500 upon receipt of an invoice, for registration purposes. Invoices will be sent on receipt of application. Once it is established that the organisation meets the criteria of membership, they will be invoiced £500 for their initial assessment. Should the organisation need a second assessment, they would be required to pay a further £500 to cover costs. No further fees will be required until the organisation has become a member. Once the organisation is granted membership they will not have to pay their annual fees until the January of the next year.
Thereafter the following annual fees will apply:
- Membership fee – £200.
- Contribution to the accreditation assessment fee – £100.
- Team fees – £25 per team (charged as per number of guide dog teams produced as detailed in the annual report members are required to submit each year).
Annual fees will be invoiced in January of each year.
To continue membership a full accreditation assessment must be conducted every 5 years by an IGDF assessor. During this assessment the organisation is responsible for the costs relating to the assessor’s stay, including; accommodation, meals, and transportation (excluding flight). These costs are to be paid locally, at the time of the assessment, by the organisation being assessed.
These are the standards to which member organisations should operate and comply. Organisations applying for membership should refer to them prior to submitting an initial application for membership of the Federation. Checklists have also been prepared, which Assessors will use when carrying out assessments, and which may also assist member organisations in monitoring progress towards achieving the IGDF’s minimum standards.
Conditions of membership
A member organisation is required to:
- Forward the annual subscription to the IGDF Office by a given deadline.
- Complete and send an Annual Report Form to the IGDF Office by a given deadline.
- Upon request, provide all information required in the pre-assessment package which will be sent to an organisation prior to its assessment.
- Settle invoices promptly.
- Notify the IGDF Office promptly of any change to the main or secondary contact persons for the organisation or of any changes to its address, website, email, fax or telephone numbers.
The category of Applicant Organisation has been introduced for organisations working towards IGDF membership. Applicants enjoy certain privileges within the IGDF community, but are not permitted to imply membership.
The Applicant Organisation should:
- Be registered as a legal entity.
- Be developing a guide dog service.
- Have graduated at least 1 guide dog team which has worked for a minimum of one month in the country the organisation is based. A ‘team’ is a trained partnership of a person who is blind or visually impaired and a guide dog of safe and effective standard. This ‘team’ can be trained by your organisation or have been trained and provided to your organisation by an IGDF Member Organisation and/or by a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI) qualified by an IGDF member organisation (“a qualified GDMI”).
- Demonstrate evidence of providing ongoing support to your clients starting from the time the first guide dog team graduates, which includes:
- Support by a qualified GDMI in relation to safety & performance. The GDMI can be external to your organization but evidence of providing onsite and/or remote support must be provided in form of a contract/agreement between the Applicant Organisation and the GDMI and written reports on support given by the GDMI.
- Support and professional health and well-being advise from a qualified veterinarian
- Demonstrate evidence of providing ongoing support to your unqualified trainers and instructors starting from the time the first guide dog enters your own training program, which includes:
- Support by a qualified GDMI in relation to assessment of dogs’ suitability for guide work, training methods and final performance standard of the dogs to current IGDF standards. The GDMI can be external to your organisation but evidence of providing onsite and/or remote support must be provided in form of a contract/agreement between the Applicant Organisation and the GDMI and written reports on support given by the GDMI.
- Support and professional health and well-being advice from a qualified veterinarian
- Have a 3-year business plan and a financial plan for continuing sustainability.
- Be actively working towards meeting the IGDF Standards.
Applicant Organisation Fees
An Applicant Organisation will be required to pay an annual fee of £100 within 30 days from the date of the invoice. The first £100 invoice covers the one-off application cost and the remainder of the calendar year in which AO status is granted. Applicant Organisation status is confirmed upon receipt of payment.
Thereafter, an annual registration fee of £100 will be charged and invoiced in January of each year. This must be paid within 30 days from the date of the invoice. This fee may be altered at the Board’s discretion. Failure to pay will result in the loss of Applicant Organisation status.
An Applicant Organisation may incur costs in the case of assistance provided in the form of an onsite visit, where internal travel, accommodation and food for the visiting professional appointed by the IGDF will be payable by the Applicant Organisation. These costs would be on a case by case basis and agreed before any arrangements are made.
The Board of the IGDF have established a formal structure to assist new guide dog organisations who have aspirations of working towards becoming an Applicant Organisation and eventual accreditation and IGDF membership.
The IGDF’s structure will allow for development help, in certain circumstances, to be provided to new guide dog organisations.
The IGDF offers affiliate organisation status for those groups who are active in services related to guide dog provision but who are not training guide dogs.
Affiliates enjoy certain privileges within the IGDF community, but are not permitted to imply full membership. However, it does imply compliance with the applicable IGDF standards as an Affiliate Organisation.
Affiliate Organisation Criteria
The Affiliate organisation must:
- Be in the business of, or serve functions relating to, the provision of guide dog services but not actually be training guide dogs or delivering client services;
- Be registered as a legal entity;
- Be compliant with the relevant sections of the IGDF Standards;
- Have a credible business plan;
- Demonstrate financial sustainability;
- Breeding centres must be supplying 50%, of its output to IGDF member organisations. Surplus dogs may be supplied to other guide or assistance dog organisations. There may not however, be any commercial activity to non-guide dog or service dog organisations;
- National Federations can only apply or retain affiliation when 50% of the guide dog organisations belonging to the National Federation are members of the IGDF
Affiliate Organisation Fees
When Affiliate Organisation Status is first granted, an initial payment will be required of £1,000 within 30 days from the date of the first invoice. Thereafter, an annual fee of £500 will be charged and invoiced in January of each year. This must be paid within 30 days from the date of the invoice. Fees may be altered at the discretion of the IGDF Board.
Forms and Further Information
New applications: The assessment is carried out by a selected IGDF Assessor. When an organisation applies for membership, an IGDF Assessor is sent to carry out an assessment of the organisation and they submit a report to the Accreditation Committee (AC). Reports are reviewed at AC meetings and the AC passes its recommendation on membership to the Board for its final decision. Any organisation being assessed is asked to provide accommodation and meals for the Assessor for the duration of the assessment (i.e. accommodation within the grounds of the organisation is perfectly acceptable).
Members’ 5 yearly review: Every five years, once granted membership, an organisation will receive a 5 year review assessment, carried out by an IGDF Assessor.
In addition, a newsletter, the Visionary, containing contributions from member organisations around the world, is circulated approximately every three months. This global publication is free of charge to member organisations.
Any revisions to the IGDF standards are automatically communicated to all members.
Conference / Workshop / Seminars
Member, Applicant, Enquiring and Affiliate organisations are invited to send delegates to IGDF seminars, conferences and workshops.