International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers (ICoCA)

About the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers (ICOC)

Building on the Montreux Document (2008), the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers (ICOC) see of November 2010 sets out a body of principles derived from human rights and international humanitarian law to govern the operations of private security services providers in terms of their own management and as regards their responsibilities towards those who might be impacted by their activities.  It was developed in a multi stakeholder process to clarify the standards required of private security companies operating in complex environments as well as to improve oversight and accountability of these companies. Apart from human rights principles. The Code includes specific commitments on the management and governance of companies, including how they vet personnel and sub-contractors, manage weapons, procedures governing the use of force and grievance procedures. All SCEG members are required to read and agree to abide by the principles in the Code.

The ICOC also acts as a founding instrument for a broader initiative to create better governance, compliance and accountability. In particular, provision was made under Article 7a for the establishment of objective and measurable standards based on the Code with the objective of realising common and internationally recognised operational and business practice standards. This was given effect by the negotiation of the American national standard known as PSC1 “Management System for Quality of Private Security Company Operations-Requirements with Guidance” finalised in 2012 (see

The International Code of Conduct For Private Security Providers (ICOC) Association

The establishment of the International Code of Conduct Association in September 2013 laid the foundations for the second requirement of the Code. SCEG members played a constructive and influential role in the development of the Articles of Association and SCEG holds observer status within the Association.

The Association promotes, governs and oversees the implementation of the Code, and promotes more generally the responsible provision of security services, to include respect for human rights and national and international law.  As a multi-stakeholder initiative the Association is governed jointly by its three main stakeholder groups: governments, private security companies and civil society organisations, each of which has equal representation on a 12-member Board of Directors. The UK Government serves on the Board.

The core functions of the Association are threefold: certification, monitoring and handling complaints.  Private security companies can apply for ICoCA Certification once they have obtained third-party certification to one or more of the following standards: PSC.1, ISO 18788 and ISO 2800, issued by an independent accredited Certification Body, presently MSS Global, Intertek and LRQA. (

Certification is not a prerequisite to joining the Association. All member companies that have yet to achieve Certification are considered Transitional Members, pay the same dues as ICoCA Certified Members and enjoy the same rights and privileges in the governance of the Association.

“ICoCA Certification demonstrates a commitment by companies to the provision of responsible security that respects human rights and humanitarian law. Accredited certification for PSC.1, ISO 18788 and ISO 28007 – established international standards for the industry – is a recognised pathway to achieving ICoCA Certification”.

– Jamie Williamson Executive Director of the International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA)

The Association’s monitoring function is designed to assist companies to implement the Code of Conduct and ensure compliance with its key provisions. The Secretariat engages with Member Companies on a confidential basis to address any relevant issues. Where appropriate, best practices are shared with other Member Companies in order to improve performance throughout the sector. The Complaints function has been developed to support Member Companies address claims alleging violations of the Code by establishing fair and accessible grievance procedures that offer effective remedies.

The Association also offers guidance to clients and prospective clients of PSCs on how they can ensure responsible private security by including adherence to the Code of Conduct in their procurement policies.

For more information, see:

Last updated August 2021