Since governments are the actors required to meet standards-related obligations under the ILO Constitution – such as reporting and giving effect to ratified Conventions – their actions are the subject of most discussion in the CAS. A government member delegate to the International Labour Conference is elected – usually by unanimous consent – by the members of the CAS as Chairperson, and another government member is elected as Reporter.
Unlike the Employers’ and Workers’ groups in the CAS, government members do not form a group with the function of coordinating positions on matters discussed in the CAS. There are, however, several regional or sub-regional groupings choosing to express through individual spokespersons unified positions on matters before the CAS. Just like the Employers’ and Workers’ groups within the CAS, this type of coordination helps streamline work, making it easier to reach consensus or come to conclusions on matters.
At the beginning of the CAS work, the list of 24 individual cases to be discussed is adopted. In accordance with the established practice, it is comprised of cases selected by the Employers’ and Workers’ groups taking into consideration a wide range of criteria, amongst them the nature of the comments of the CEACR, in particular the existence of a footnote.
The governments addressed by the observations in the approved list have the opportunity to submit written information to the CAS, which is summarized by the Office and made available to the CAS. These written submissions serve to complement, not to duplicate or substitute, the particulars to be orally provided by the government before the CAS. They are to be provided to the Office at least two days before the discussion of the case, and the document should not exceed five pages.
Cases included in the final list are automatically registered and scheduled by the Office, on the basis of a rotating system, following the French alphabetical order. Cases are divided into two groups: the first group of countries consists of the “double-footnoted cases”, i.e. the cases on which the CEACR has requested the governments to supply information to the International Labour Conference, then the other cases follow.
At the appointed time, the government representative takes the floor in the CAS, provides information orally or refers to written information provided, and makes him or herself available to respond to statements from the other government, workers’ and employers’ members of the CAS. A summary of the governments’ statements and the ensuing discussion is reproduced in the Appendix to the CAS report to the International Labour Conference.
On each individual case, the CAS may issue conclusions. The conclusions, which reflect consensus recommendations, are proposed by the Vice-Chairpersons and submitted by the Chairperson to the CAS for adoption. The conclusions specify the action expected of governments. They may include reference to direct contacts or other types of missions, as well as to technical assistance to be provided by the Office. The CAS may also request governments to submit additional information or address specific concerns in their next reports to the CEACR. Conclusions on the cases discussed are adopted at dedicated sittings. The government representatives concerned are informed of the sitting for the adoption of the conclusions concerning their country and may take the floor after the Chairperson has announced the adoption of the conclusions.
During the International Labour Conference the work of the CAS is followed day to day through the Daily Bulletin and the webpage of the CAS.