26 October 2022

How it works: the accreditation and protocols department

From July 8 to 17, 2023, the World Para Athletics Championships – PARIS’23 will be in full swing. To best organize this event, an organizing committee was set up in April 2022. But then, what are the different poles of this organization? What are its basic missions? During the whole month of October, we tell you everything! So come and discover the many facets that make up the Organizing Committee of the World Paralympic Athletics Championships (COMAP).

For this last week of service presentation, we met Isabelle Cochet, in charge of the accreditation and protocols department.

Hello Isabelle, to begin with, can you explain the role of the accreditation and protocols department within COMAP?

Isabelle Cochet : “We are in charge of producing the accreditations based on the lists of authorized persons at the event. These are provided by the marketing department for VIPs and the communication department for the media. The service to the population for the various staffs, athletes as well as the service of operations for the various people having to intervene on the event. Finally, we are also in touch with the volunteer program department for the many volunteers who will help us with the smooth running of the event.

The protocol, as for him, concerns more the ceremonies of medals and rewards by preparing these and by making sure that everything functions for the best (medals, flags, anthems). It is also to supervise the organization for the opening and closing ceremonies, which will be managed by an agency specialized in this field.”

How many people are in the department?

I.C : “For all the missions, I am accompanied by Tom, with whom we work in pair. But we are also accompanied by a service provider called Sportity, which provides us with a database to manage the various needs for accommodation, catering and accreditation. For the ceremonies, we will also be accompanied by an agency which is still to be defined.”

What are the missions of the department?

I.C : “On a day-to-day basis, the objective is to manage the entire accreditation system and to ensure that everyone who needs access to the event is in possession of their accreditation on the day of the event. For the management of the protocols, it is a question of organizing to know how the various ceremonies will take place. We are also in charge of making prototypes of medals, finding out which gifts will be given and also thinking about a mascot.”

How does the team work?

I.C : “Tom and I have really been working together since we joined the organization. Together, we have identified the different tasks that we will have to accomplish during the year and we divide them according to our preferences, the time available, our mutual skills, etc.”

What are the specificities or particularities of the service?

I.C : “The first thing that comes to mind is the requirement to speak English. We are in contact with many athletes, members of the World Para Athletics organization and many others who will come to the event. Everyone has to speak a little English, but on the protocols, to explain to people how the ceremony is going to take place, you have to be autonomous and be the direct contact behind the podium.”

What qualities and skills are required?

I.C : “The basis is to want to. That’s what makes all your work over the year so strong. Be smiling and energetic. Have a good sense of contact because there are many people who will have to go through us to get their accreditations. Know how to manage your stress. And also, the sense of detail to not make mistakes on the different actions to be implemented.”

THE worst flaw for working in this department?

I.C : “Not being a team player. You have to surround yourself with a lot of people for the smooth running of a ceremony. For that, you have to know how to work as a team.”

THE situation to avoid on the day of the event?

I.C : “The most dramatic thing would be not to have received the medals before the competition. After that, it would also be a pity if the weather conditions marred the opening and closing ceremonies, but that is not our responsibility.”