Operating Procedures
as adopted by the Panel on August 19, 1994
"The World Bank Inspection Panel"



I. Subject Matter of Requests
II. Preparation of a Request
A. Who Can File a Request
B. Contents of a Request
C. Form of a Request
D. Delivery of Request
E. Advice on Preparation
III. Procedures on Receipt of a Request
A. Register
Contents of Notice
B. Request Additional Information C. Outside Scope Records D. Need for Review E. Revised Request IV. Management's Response Clarification V. Panel Recommendation A. Basis B. Required Criteria Criteria for Satisfactory Response Preliminary Review Initial Study C. Contents D. Submission VI. Board Decision and Public Release Notification Public Information VII. An Investigation A. Initial Procedures B. Methods of Investigation Consent Required C. Participation of Requester D. Participation of Third Parties VIII. Panel Report Contents Submission IX. Management's Recommendations X. Board Decision and Public Release XI. General Business Days Copies Consultations Access to Bank Staff and Information Legal Advice Confidentiality Information to Requester and Public Annexes Annex 1: The Resolution Annex 2: Guidance and Model Request Form


The Inspection Panel (the "Panel") is an independent forum established by the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development ("IBRD") and the International Development Association ("IDA") by IBRD Resolution No. 93-10 and the identical IDA Resolution No. 93-6 both adopted by the Executive Directors of the respective institutions on September 22, 1993 (collectively the "Resolution"). The text of the Resolution is in Annex 1. References in these procedures to the "Bank" includes the IBRD and IDA.

The Panel's authority is dictated by the Resolution: within that framework, these Operating Procedures are adopted by the Panel to provide detail to the operational provisions. The text is based on the Resolution and takes into account suggestions from outside sources. In view of the unprecedented nature of the new inspection function the current procedures are provisional: the Panel will review them within 12 months, and in light of experience and comments received, will revise them if necessary; and will recommend to the Bank's Executive Directors ("Executive Directors") amendments to the Resolution that would allow a more effective role for the Panel.


The Panel consists of three Inspectors. At the outset, one Inspector, the Chairperson, will work on a full-time basis: the other two will work part-time. This arrangement is provisional. The Panel's workload will be dictated by the number and nature of requests received. If necessary, the Panel will recommend alternative arrangements to the Executive Directors.


The role of the Panel is to carry out independent investigations. Its function, which will be triggered when it receives a request for inspection, is to inquire and recommend: it will make a preliminary review of a request for inspection and the response of Management, independently assess the information and then recommend to the Board of Executive Directors whether or not the matters complained of should be investigated. If the Board decides that a request shall be investigated, the Panel will collect information and provide its findings, independent assessment and conclusions to the Board. On the basis of the Panel's findings and Management's recommendations, the Executive Directors will consider the actions, if any, to be taken by the Bank.


During the preliminary review period--up to the time the Panel makes a recommendation to the Board on whether or not the matter should be investigated--the Panel will accept statements or evidence from (a) the Requester, i.e. either the affected people and/or their duly appointed representative, or an Executive Director; (b) Management; and, (c) any other individual or entity invited by the Panel to present information or comments.

During an investigation, any person who is either a party to the investigation or who provides the designated Inspector(s) with satisfactory evidence that he/she has an interest, apart from any interest in common with the public, will be entitled to submit information or evidence relevant to the investigation.


The Panel has approved separate Administrative Procedures which are available from the Office of The Inspection Panel.

*Please note that all headings are for ease of reference only. They do not form part of these procedures and do not constitute an interpretation thereof.



1. The Panel is authorized to accept requests for inspection ("Request(s)") which claim that an actual or threatened material adverse effect on the affected party's rights or interests arises directly out of an action or omission of the Bank as a result of a failure by the Bank to follow its own operational policies and procedures during the design, appraisal and/or implementation of a Bank-financed project. Before submitting a Request steps must have already been taken (or efforts made) to bring the matter to the attention of Management with a result unsatisfactory to the Requester.


2. The Panel is not authorized to deal with the following:

(a) complaints with respect to actions which are the responsibility of other parties, such as the borrower, or potential borrower, and which do not involve any action or omission on the part of the Bank;

(b) complaints against procurement decisions by Bank borrowers from suppliers of goods and services financed or expected to be financed by the Bank under a loan/credit agreement, or from losing tenderers for the supply of any such goods and services, which will continue to be addressed by Bank staff under existing procedures;

(c) Requests filed after the Closing Date of the loan/credit financing the project with respect to which the Request is filed or when 95% or more of the loan/credit proceeds have been disbursed; or

(d) Requests related to a particular matter or matters over which the Panel has already made its recommendation after having received a prior Request, unless justified by new evidence or circumstances not known at the time of the prior Request.


3. The Panel's operational proceedings begin when a Request is received. This section of the procedures is primarily designed to give further guidance to potential Requesters on what facts and explanations they should provide.

A. Who Can File a Request

4. The Panel has authority to receive Requests which complain of a violation of the Bank's policies and procedures from the following people or entities:

(a) any group of two or more people in the country where the Bank financed project is located who believe that as a result of the Bank's violation their rights or interests have been, or are likely to be adversely affected in a direct and material way. They may be an organization, association, society or other grouping of individuals; or

(b) a duly appointed local representative acting on explicit instructions as the agent of adversely affected people; or

(c) in exceptional cases, referred to in paragraph 11 below, a foreign representative acting as agent of adversely affected people; or

(d) an Executive Director of the Bank in special cases of serious alleged violations of the Bank's policies and procedures.

B. Contents of a Request

5. In accordance with the Resolution, Requests should contain the following information:

(a) a description of the project, stating all the relevant facts including the harm suffered by or threatened to the affected party;

(b) an explanation of how Bank policies, procedures or contractual documents were seriously violated;

(c) a description of how the act or omission on the part of the Bank has led or may lead to a violation of the specific provision;

(d) a description of how the party was, or is likely to be, materially and adversely affected by the Bank's act or omission and what rights or interests of the claimant were directly affected;

(e) a description of the steps taken by the affected party to resolve the violations with Bank staff, and explanation of why the Bank's response was inadequate;

(f) in Requests relating to matters previously submitted to the Panel, a statement specifying what new evidence or changed circumstances justify the Panel revisiting the issue; and

(g) if some of the information cannot be provided, an explanation should be included.

C. Form of Request


6. All Requests must be submitted in writing, dated and signed by the Requester and contain his/her name and contact address.


7. No specific form is necessary: a letter will suffice. A Requester may wish to refer to the guidance and use the model form specifying required information. (Attached as Annex 2)

< a name="sixteen">Language

8. The working language of the Panel is English. Requests submitted directly by affected people themselves may be in their local language if they are unable to obtain a translation. If requests are not in English, the time needed to translate and ensure an accurate and agreed translation may delay acceptance and consideration by the Panel.


9. If the Requester is a directly affected person or entity representing affected people, written signed proof that the representative has authority to act on their behalf must be attached.

10. If the Request is submitted by a non-affected representative, he/she must provide evidence of representational authority and the names and contact address of the party must be provided. Proof of representational authority, which shall consist of the original signed copy of the affected party's explicit instructions and authorization, must be attached.

11. In addition, in the case of non-local representation, the Panel will require clear evidence that there is no adequate or appropriate representation in the country where the project is located.


12. The following documents should be attached:

(a) all correspondence with Bank staff;

(b) notes of meetings with Bank staff;

(c) a map or diagram, if relevant, showing the location of the affected party or area affected by the project; and

(d) any other evidence supporting the complaint.

13. If all the information listed cannot be provided an explanation should be included.

D. Delivery of Request

14. Requests must be sent by registered or certified mail or delivered by hand in a sealed envelope against receipt to the Office of The Inspection Panel at 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20433, U.S.A. or to the Bank's resident representative in the country where the project is located. In the latter case, the resident representative shall, after issuing a receipt to the Requester, forward the Request to the Panel through the next pouch.

E. Advice on Preparation

15. People or entities seeking advice on how to prepare and submit a Request may contact the Office of The Inspection Panel, which will provide information or may meet and discuss the requirements with potential requesters.


16. When the Panel receives a Request the Chairperson, on the basis of the information contained in the Request, shall either promptly register the Request, or ask for additional information, or find the Request outside the Panel's mandate.

A. Register

17. If the Request, appears to contain sufficient required information the Chairperson shall register the Request in the Panel Register; promptly notify the Requester, the Executive Directors and the Bank President ("President") of the registration; and transmit to the President a copy of the Request with the accompanying documentation, if any.

Contents of Notice

18. The notice of registration shall:

(a) record that the Request is registered and indicate the date of the registration and dispatch of that notice;

(b) the notice will include the name of the project, the country where the project is located, the name of the Requester unless anonymity is requested, and a brief description of the Request;

(c) notify the Requester that all communications in connection with the Request will be sent to the address stated in the Request, unless another address is indicated to the Panel Secretariat; and

(d) request Management to provide the Panel, within 21 days after receipt of the notice and Request, with written evidence that it has complied, or intends to comply with the Bank's relevant policies and procedures. The notice shall specify the due date of the response.

B. Request Additional Information

19. If the Chairperson finds the contents of the Request or documentation on representation insufficient, he/she may ask the Requester to supply further information.

20. Upon receipt of a Request, the Chairperson shall send a written acknowledgement to the Requester, and will specify what additional information is required.

21. The Chairperson may refuse to register a Request until all necessary information and documentation is filed.

C. Outside Scope

22. If the Chairperson finds, that the matter is without doubt manifestly outside the Panel's mandate, he/she will notify the Requesters, of his/her refusal to register the Request and of the reasons therefor; this will include but not be limited to the following types of communications:

(a) Requests which are clearly outside the Panel's mandate including those listed above at paragraph 2;

(b) Requests which do not show the steps taken or effort made to resolve the matter with Management;

(c) Requests from an individual or from a non-authorized representative of an affected party;

(d) any correspondence, including but not limited to letters, memoranda, opinions, submissions or requests on any matter within the Panel's mandate which are not requests for an inspection; and

(e) Requests that are manifestly frivolous, absurd or anonymous.

23. The number of such Requests and communications received shall be noted in the Register on a quarterly basis and the yearly total included in the Annual Report.

D. Need for Review

24. In cases where additional information is required, or where it is not clear whether a Request is manifestly outside the Panel's mandate, the Chairperson shall designate a Panel member to review the Request.

E. Revised Request

25. If the Requester receives significant new evidence or information at any time after the initial Request was submitted, he/she may consider whether or not it is serious enough to justify the submission of a revised Request.

26. If a revised Request is submitted, the time periods for Management's response and the Panel recommendation will begin again from the time such Request is registered.


27. Within 21 days after being notified of a Request, Management shall provide the Panel with evidence that it has complied, or intends to comply with the Bank's relevant policies and procedures. After the Panel receives Management's response, it shall promptly enter the date of receipt in the Panel Register.

28. If there is no response from Management within 21 days, the Panel shall notify the President and the Executive Directors and send a copy to the Requester.


29. In order to make an informed recommendation, the Panel may request clarification from Management; in the light of Management's response, request more information from the Requester; and provide relevant portions of Management's response for comment. A time limit for receipt of the information requested shall be specified; and

(a) whether or not such clarification or information is received within the time limit, make its recommendation to the Executive Directors within 21 days after receipt of Management's response; or

(b) in the event it is not possible for the Requester to provide the information quickly, the Panel may advise the Requester to submit an amended Request; the Executive Directors and Bank management will be notified that the process will begin again when the amended Request is received.


30. Within 21 days after receiving Management's response, the Panel shall make a recommendation to the Executive Directors as to whether the matter should be investigated.

A. Basis

31. The Panel shall prepare its recommendation to the Board on the basis of the information contained in:

(a) the Request;

(b) Management's response;

(c) any further information the Panel may have requested and received from the Requester and/or Management and/or third parties; and

(d) any findings of the Panel during this stage.

B. Required Criteria

32. If, on the basis of the information contained in the Request, it has not already been established that the Request meets the following three conditions required by the Resolution, the Chairperson, in consultation with the other Panel members may, if necessary, designate a Panel member to conduct a preliminary review to determine whether the Request:

(a) was filed by an eligible party;

(b) is not time-barred; and

(c) relates to a matter falling within the Panel's mandate.

Criteria for Satisfactory Response

33. The Panel may proceed to recommend that there should not be an investigation, if, on the basis of the information contained in the Request and Management's response, the Panel is satisfied that Management has done the following:

(a) dealt appropriately with the subject matter of the Request; and

(b) demonstrated clearly that it has followed the required policies and procedures; or

(c) admitted that it has failed to follow the required policies and procedures but has provided a statement of specific remedial actions and a timetable for implementing them, which will, in the judgment of the Panel, adequately correct the failure and any adverse effects such failure has already caused.

Preliminary Review

34. If, on the basis of the information contained in Management's response and any clarifications provided, the Panel is satisfied that Management has failed to demonstrate that it has followed, or is taking adequate steps to follow the Bank's policies and procedures, the Panel will conduct a preliminary review in order to determine whether conditions required by provisions of the Resolution exist.

35. Although it may not investigate Management's actions in depth at this stage, it will determine whether Management's failure to comply with the Bank's policies and procedures meets the following three conditions:

(a) whether such failure has had, or threatens to have, a material adverse effect;

(b) whether, the alleged violation of the Bank's policies and procedures are, in the judgment of the Panel, of a serious character; and

(c) whether remedial actions proposed by Management do not appear adequate to meet the concerns of the Requester as to the application of the Bank's policies and procedures.

Initial Study

36. If the Chairperson considers, after the preliminary review and consultation with the other Panel members, that more factual data not already provided by the Requester, Management or any other source is required to make an informed recommendation to the Executive Directors, he/she may designate a Panel member to undertake a preliminary study. The study may include, but need not be limited to, a desk study and/or a visit to the project site.

C. Contents

37. On the basis of the review, the Panel shall make its recommendation to the Board as to whether the matter should be investigated. Every recommendation shall include a clear explanation setting forth reasons for the recommendation and be accompanied by:

(a) the text of the Request and, where applicable, any other relevant information provided by the Requester; (b) the text of Management's response and, where applicable, any clarifications provided; (c) the text of any advice received from the Bank's Legal Department; (d) any other relevant documents or information received; and (e) statements of the majority and minority views in the absence of a consensus by the Panel.
D. Submission

38. The recommendation shall be circulated by the Executive Secretary of the Panel to the Executive Directors for decision. The Panel will notify the Requester that a recommendation has been sent to the Executive Directors.


39. The Board decides whether or not to accept or reject the Panel's recommendation; and, if the Requester is a non-local representative, whether exceptional circumstances exist and suitable local representation is not available.


40. The Panel shall promptly inform the Requester of the Board's decision on whether or not to investigate the Request and, shall send the Requester a copy of the Panel's recommendation.

Public Information

41. After the Executive Directors have considered a Request the Bank shall make such Request publicly available together with the Panel's recommendation on whether to proceed with the inspection and the decision of the Executive Directors in this respect.


A. Initial Procedures

42. When a decision to investigate a Request is made by the Board, or the Board itself requests an investigation, the Chairperson shall promptly:

(a) designate one or more of the Panel's members (Inspector(s)) to take primary responsibility for the investigation;

(b) arrange for all Panel members to consult, taking into account the nature of the particular Request, on:

(i) the methods of investigation that at the outset appear the most appropriate; (ii) an initial schedule for the conduct of the investigation; (iii) when the Inspector(s) shall report his/her (their) findings to the Panel, including any interim findings; and (iv) any additional procedures for the conduct of the investigation.
43. The designated Inspector(s) shall, as needed, arrange for a meeting with the Requester and schedule discussions with directly affected people.

44. The name of the Inspector(s) and an initial work plan shall be made public as soon as possible.

B. Methods of Investigation

45. The Panel may, taking into account the nature of the particular Request, use a variety of investigatory methods, including but not limited to:

(a) meetings with the Requester, affected people, Bank staff, government officials and project authorities of the country where the project is located, representatives of local and international non-governmental organizations; (b) holding public hearings in the project area; (c) visiting project sites; (d) requesting written or oral submissions on specific issues from the Requester, affected people, independent experts, government or project officials, Bank staff, or local or international non-governmental organizations; (e) hiring independent consultants to research specific issues relating to a Request; (f) researching Bank files; and (g) any other reasonable methods the Inspector(s) consider appropriate to the specific investigation.
Consent Required

46. In accordance with the Resolution, physical inspection in the country where the project is located will be carried out with prior consent. The Chairperson shall request the Executive Director representing such country to provide written consent.

C. Participation of Requester

47. During the course of the investigation, in addition to any information requested by the Inspector(s), the Requester (and affected people if the Requester is a non-affected Representative or an Executive Director) or Bank staff may provide the Inspector(s) either directly or through the Executive Secretary with supplemental information that they believe is relevant to evaluating the Request.

48. The Inspector(s) may notify the Requester of any new material facts provided by Bank staff or by the Executive Director for, or authorities in the country where the project is located.

49. To facilitate understanding of specific points, the Panel may discuss its preliminary findings of fact with the Requester.

D. Participation of Third Parties

50. During the course of the investigation, in addition to any information requested by the Inspector(s), any member of the public may provide the Inspector(s), either directly or through the Executive Secretary, with supplemental information that they believe is relevant to evaluating the Request.

51. Information should not exceed ten pages and include a one-page summary. Supporting documentation may be listed and attached. The Inspector(s) may request more details if necessary.


52. The report of the Panel (the "Report") shall include the following:

(a) a summary discussion of the relevant facts and of the steps taken to conduct the investigation; (b) a conclusion showing the Panel's findings on whether the Bank has complied with relevant Bank policies and procedures; (c) a list of supporting documents which will be available on request from the Office of The Inspection Panel; and (d) statements of the majority and minority views in the absence of a consensus by the Panel.

53. Upon completion of the Report, the Panel shall submit the Report to:

(a) the Executive Directors: accompanied by notification that the Report is being submitted to the President on the same date; and (b) the President: accompanied by a notice against receipt that within 6 weeks of receipt of the Report, Management must submit to the Executive Directors for their consideration a report indicating Management's recommendations in response to the Panel's findings.

54. Within 6 weeks after receiving the Panel's findings, Management will submit to the Executive Directors for their consideration a report indicating its recommendations in response to the Panel's findings. Upon receipt of a copy of the report, the Panel will notify the Requester.


55. Within 2 weeks after the Executive Directors consider the Panel's Report and the Management's response, the Bank shall inform the Requester of the results of the investigation and the action decided by the Board, if any.

56. After the Bank has informed the Requester, the Bank shall make publicly available:

(a) the Panel's Report; (b) Management's recommendations; and (c) the Board's decision.
These documents will also be available at the Office of The Inspection Panel.

57. The Panel will seek to enhance public awareness of the results of investigations through all available information sources. XI GENERAL Business Days

58. "Days" under these procedures means days on which the World Bank is open for business in Washington, D.C. Copies

59. Consideration of Requests and other documents submitted throughout the process will be expedited if an original and two copies are filed. When any document contains extensive supporting documentation the Panel may ask for additional copies. Consultations

60. The borrower and the Executive Director representing the borrowing (or guaranteeing) country shall be consulted on the subject matter before the Panel's recommendation and during an investigation. Access to Bank Staff and Information

61. Pursuant to the Resolution and in discharge of their functions, the members of the Panel shall have access to all Bank staff who may contribute information and to all pertinent Bank records and shall consult as needed with the Director General, Operations Evaluation Department and the Internal Auditor. Legal Advice

62. The Panel shall seek, through the Vice President and General Counsel of the Bank, the written advice of the Bank's Legal Department on matters related to the Bank's rights and obligations with respect to the Request under consideration. Any such advice will be included as an attachment to the Panel's recommendation and/or Report to the Executive Directors. Confidentiality

63. Documents of a confidential nature will not be released by the Panel without the express written consent of the party concerned. Information to Requester and Public

64. The Executive Secretary shall record in the Register all actions taken in connection with the processing of the Request, the dates thereof, and the

 home links topic list
Last Updated 9/21/95