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This is the home page for the ToIP Governance Metamodel Specification (please see the Governance Metamodel Companion Guide for guidance on applying the governance metamodel specification to a specific use case).  The purpose of this specification is to provide an overall template for ToIP-compatible governance frameworks from which the GSWG will then develop layer-specific templates.  Each layer-specific template will be an instance of the metamodel that adds details such as:

All terms appearing in First Letter Caps on this page MUST be added to the ToIP Terms Wiki as specified by the Concepts and Terminology WG.

Primary Document

The Primary Document is the "home page" for the Governance Framework (GF). It:

  1. MUST have a DID (Decentralized Identifier) that serves as an identifier of the entire GF.
  2. MUST have a unique DID URL (defined in the DID spec) to identify each specific version of the Primary Document.
  3. MUST contain authoritative references to all other documents included in the GF, called the Controlled Documents.


This section is a non-normative general introduction to the GF whose purpose is to orient first-time readers as to the overall context of the GF. It:

  1. SHOULD have a reference to the ToIP Foundation, the ToIP Stack, and the specific version of the ToIP Governance Template from which it was derived.
  2. MAY include an "Acknowledgements" section to acknowledge the contributors to the GF.


This section asserts the terminology conventions used in the GF. It:

  1. MUST explicitly specify the use of the ToIP Governance Requirements Glossary (see below).
  2. MUST reference the Glossary for all other terms (see the Controlled Documents section).
  3. SHOULD specify that all RFC 2119 keywords used with their RFC 2119 meanings are capitalized.
  4. SHOULD specify any other formatting or layout conventions used in the Primary Document or Controlled Documents.

ToIP Governance Requirements Glossary

  • Requirements include any combination of Machine-Testable Requirements and Human-Auditable Requirements. Unless otherwise stated, all Requirements MUST be expressed as defined in RFC 2119
    • Mandates are Requirements that use a MUST, MUST NOT, SHALL, SHALL NOT or REQUIRED keyword.
    • Recommendations are Requirements that use a SHOULD, SHOULD NOT, or RECOMMENDED keyword.
    • Options are Requirements that use a MAY or OPTIONAL keyword.
  • Machine-Testable Requirements are those with which compliance can be verified using an automated test suite and appropriate scripting or testing software.
    • Rules are Machine-Testable Requirements that are written in a Machine-Readable language and can be processed by a Rules Engine. They are expressed in a structured rules language as specified by the GF.
  • Human-Auditable Requirements are those with which compliance can only be verified by a human audit of Policies, Processes, and Practices.
    • Policies are Human-Auditable Requirements written using standard conformance terminology. For Policies used in ToIP Governance Frameworks, the standard terminology is  RFC 2119 keywords. Note that all RFC 2119 keywords have weight from an auditing perspective. An implementer MUST explain why a SHOULD or RECOMMENDED requirement was not implemented and SHOULD explain why a MAY requirement was implemented.
    • Processes are Human-Auditable Requirements that specify actions and methods to achieve Policy objectives.
    • Practices are activities within Processes to achieve Process requirements.
  • Specifications are documents containing any combination of Machine-Testable Requirements and Human-Auditable Requirements needed to produce technical interoperability.

Governing Authority

This section asserts the legal authority for governance of the GF. It:

  1. For the Governing Authority or each interdependent Governing Authority:
    1. MUST state the full legal identity including Jurisdiction(s).
    2. MUST state the DID.
    3. SHOULD provide an LEI.
  2. MUST provide contact information for the Governing Authorit(ies) as Legal Entit(ies).
    1. SHOULD provide contact information for official contacts.
  3. SHOULD provide a publicly-accessible Governance Framework Website (GF Website) at a URL dedicated to the GF website.
  4. SHOULD include in the GF Website:
    1. If applicable, a primary Trust Mark for the GF and displayed prominently on the home page.
    2. HTML versions of all documents in the GF.
    3. PDF versions of all documents in the GF.
    4. Highlighted links to the Governance Requirements section that specify how the Governing Authority itself is governed.

Administering Authority

If the Administering Authority for the GF is different from the Governing Authority, include this section. It:

  1. MUST state the full legal identity of the Administering Authority.
    1. SHOULD provide the LEI.
  2. MUST state how the Governing Authority is related to and delegates administrative authority to the Administering Authority.
  3. MUST provide contact information for the Administering Authority as a Legal Entity.
    1. SHOULD provide contact information for official contacts.


This is a short, clear statement of the overall purpose (mission) of the GF. It:

  1. SHOULD be as short and concise as possible—ideally one sentence, or only a few sentences.


This is a statement of what is in and out of scope of the GF. It:

  1. SHOULD clearly state the primary Governed Roles in the Trust Community.
  2. SHOULD state any other relevant stakeholders.

  3. SHOULD state the primary types of interactions or transactions these Governed Roles will be engaging in. 
  4. SHOULD, if applicable, clearly state who and what are out of scope.


This states the high-level outcomes desired by the Trust Community through its adoption of the Governance Framework. It:

  1. SHOULD specify tangible, achievable results (e.g. SMART criteria and Fit-for-purpose criteria).
  2. SHOULD specify the intended overall outcomes to be produced by conformance with the Requirements in the GF.
  3. MUST only contain outcomes over which the GF has the authority and mechanisms to achieve within its Scope.
  4. MUST be consistent with its Principles.


This section states the Principles by which all members of the Trust Community have agreed to abide. It:

  1. SHOULD serve as a guide to the development of any Requirement based on each Principle ("Principles guide Policies").
  2. SHOULD refer to existing Principles—whether defined by other ToIP GFs or by other sources—whenever possible.
  3. SHOULD be referenced (along with any other relevant parts of the GF) in any Legal Agreement between Members and the Governing Authority.
  4. MUST NOT include Requirements (e.g., using RFC 2119 terms) for which either human or machine conformance can be directly tested — those should be stated as Requirements elsewhere in the GF.

General Requirements

This section contains Requirements that apply to the GF as a whole and not just in the context of a particular Controlled Document. It:

  1. SHOULD include the Requirements that:
    1. Apply generally to governance of the entire Trust Community;
    2. Apply to the structure of the GF, e.g., what Controlled Documents must be specified by whom and applied to whom.
    3. Guide the development of more specific Requirements within the Controlled Documents.
  2. SHOULD NOT include Requirements that apply only within the context of a specific category addressed by one of the Controlled Documents.
  3. MUST include Responsible Use Policies that apply generally to infrastructure governed by the GF.
  4. MUST include any Regulatory Compliance Policies that are not specified within particular Controlled Documents.
  5. SHOULD include any Code of Conduct that applies broadly within the ecosystem, if any.


This section contains the specific Requirements governing revisions to the GF. It does not include Governance Requirements for the Governing Authority or interdependent Governing Authorities (those should be defined in Controlled Documents in the Governance Requirements category). It:

  1. MUST include Requirements specifying how any revisions to the GF will be developed, reviewed, and approved.
  2. MUST include Requirements for how all new versions will be identified with a DID URL.
  3. SHOULD include at least one public review period for any GF that will be available to the public.


This section applies to GFs that permit extensions via the incorporation of other GFs (a common feature of some ecosystem GFs). It:

  1. MUST state whether the GF can be extended.
  2. MUST specify the requirements an Extension Governance Framework must meet in order to be approved.
  3. MUST specify the process for an Extension Governance Framework to be approved.
  4. MUST define an authoritative mechanism for registration and activation of an approved Extension Governance Framework.
  5. MUST define the requirements for notification of the Trust Community about an approved Extension Governance Framework.

Schedule of Controlled Documents 

This is a listing of all Controlled Documents in the GF. It:

  1. MUST include authoritative references to all Controlled Documents in the GF.
  2. MUST identify the exact version of each Controlled Document with a unique, permanent DID or DID URL.
  3. SHOULD include a Web link to each Controlled Document in the Web version of the GF.
  4. SHOULD include a brief description of the purpose and scope of each Controlled Document to make it easy for readers to navigate the GF.

Controlled Documents

Each Controlled Document covers a specific area of the GF. The following are categories of Controlled Documents where each category MAY include zero or more Controlled Documents.


The Glossary provides a common basis for terminology. It:

  1. SHOULD be a single Controlled Document (even if it is organized by categories or other heuristics).
  2. SHOULD provide a common reference for all possibly ambiguous terms used throughout the GF.
  3. SHOULD reference the ToIP Glossary—or tagged subset(s) of the ToIP Glossary—for all terms defined there.
  4. SHOULD conform to standard requirements for a glossary, i.e., list all terms alphabetically (by language) for easy reference.
  5. MAY tag terms by category or usage.
  6. MAY specify that terms specific to one Controlled Document are defined in that Controlled Document.

Risk Assessment

This category includes links to an ISO 27005 (or compatible) risk assessment for managing risk. Controlled Documents in this category:

  • SHOULD identify key risks that MAY negatively affect the achievement of the GF's purpose and objectives within its Scope.
  • SHOULD include a Risk Assessment process output that provides an assessment of each key risk that the GF is designed to address and mitigate.
  • SHOULD assess which Roles and Processes are vulnerable to each risk and how they are affected.
  • MAY include a Risk Treatment Plan (RTP) for how identified risks are treated (e.g. mitigated, avoided, accepted or transferred); however, all risks that are to be mitigated by Mandates in the GF SHOULD be identified.

Trust Assurance and Certification

This category specifies Trust Criteria for Governed Parties be held accountable against Requirements of the GF. Controlled Documents in this category:

  1. SHOULD include a Trust Assurance Framework document that defines a scheme in which Governed Parties assert compliance with the Policies of the GF and the mechanisms of assurance over those assertions.
  2. SHOULD (if applicable) define the roles of Auditors and Auditor Accreditors and the directives governing their actions.
  3. SHOULD (if applicable) define the roles of Certifying Parties and the requirements governing their actions and relationships with the Governing Authority, Auditors, and Auditor Accreditors.
  4. SHOULD (if applicable) include requirements supporting the development, licensure, and usage of one or more Trust Marks.

Governance Requirements

These are the Requirements for governing the GF as a whole. Controlled Documents in this category:

  1. MUST include Controlled Documents that specify Governance requirements for the primary Governing Authority (or all interdependent Governing Authorities, or if applicable the Governing Entity), e.g., Charter, Bylaws, Operating Rules, etc.
  2. SHOULD address any Antitrust Policies, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policies, Confidentiality Policies, or other Requirements for regulatory compliance under which the Trust Community Members agree to operate.
  3. SHOULD include any Requirements governing enforcement of the GF and how Dispute Resolution will be handled.

Business Requirements

These are the requirements governing the business model(s) and business rules to be followed by the Trust Community. Controlled Documents in this category:

  1. SHOULD clearly explain the exchange(s) of value within the Trust Community for which the GF is designed.
  2. SHOULD define the Policies and/or Rules governing how and when these exchanges of value take place.
  3. SHOULD define the Requirements for the use of any Decision Support Systems.
  4. SHOULD define how all Trust Community Members will be held accountable for their actions in these exchanges.
  5. SHOULD define how the Governing Authority, Governing Entity, and the GF are sustainable under these Requirements.

Technical Requirements

These are the Requirements governing technical interoperability. Controlled Documents in this category:

  1. MUST specify how Members of the Trust Community will interoperate technically using the ToIP Technology Stack by reference to any relevant ToIP Specifications and ToIP Recommendations.
  2. SHOULD include any additional Specifications that are specific to the technical operation of this Trust Community.
  3. SHOULD reference one or more ToIP Glossaries or other Glossaries as needed.
  4. SHOULD reference any Test Suites and Testing Requirements.

Information Trust Requirements

These are the Requirements governing information security, privacy, availability, confidentiality and processing integrity as these terms are defined by the Committee on the Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) Guidance on Internal ControlControlled Documents in this category:

  1. MUST specify how Members of the Trust Community will ensure the following categories of Information Trust:
    1. Information security
    2. Information privacy
    3. Information availability
    4. Information confidentiality
    5. Information processing integrity
  2. SHOULD specify the relevant Information Trust Policies by reference to:
    1. ToIP Specifications and ToIP Recommendations.
    2. Other regulatory or industry standards.
    3. GF-Specific Policies.
    4. GF-Compliant Decision Support Systems.
    5. Trust Community Member-Specific Policies.

Inclusion, Equitability, and Accessibility Requirements

These are the Policies governing how the GF enables fair and equal access to all. Controlled Documents in this category:

  1. MUST specify how Members of the Trust Community will enable and promote inclusion, equitability, and accessibility by reference to:
    1. ToIP Specifications and ToIP Recommendations.
    2. Other regulatory or industry standards.
    3. GF-Specific Policies.
    4. GF-Compliant Decision Support Systems.
    5. Trust Community Member-Specific Policies.
  2. SHOULD specifically address how the GF is designed to help bridge (or eliminate) the digital divide.

Legal Agreements

This category includes any legal agreements or contracts included in the GF. Controlled Documents in this category:

  1. MUST include all specified legal agreements or contracts between Members and/or the Governing Authority.
  2. SHOULD reference the Glossary document for all terms not defined internally to the agreement or contract.
  3. MUST clearly state the Governed Parties to whom these legal agreements apply.
  4. MUST define or reference all relevant accountability and enforcement mechanisms.
  5. SHOULD reference any other relevant Requirements in the balance of the GF.

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  1. This looks great! One thing I'm not clear about - is the idea that the Metamodel template will be used to develop layer-specific GFs, but there will not be an overall GF, i.e. for the entire stack?

    1. The per-layer governance framework model is an aspect that has origins in the 2 column illustration of the ToIP stack. This approach enables the specific requirements and purpose of each layer to be well scoped within a GF and reflect those. For the entire stack perhaps a set of higher order principles would be more appropriate.

      A specific real example would be how the Sovrin Foundation is reviewing the existing v2 Governance Framework to address scope statements arising from L1/Utility and L4/Ecosystem via the Sovrin Utility Governance Framework and Sovrin Ecosystem Governance Framework.

  2. We should perform an edit pass to clearly state what components are MUST and what are SHOULD or others not required

  3. Do we want to include a reference to the services offered / published to upper layers and consumed / used from lower levels? That is, something like the old ISO/OSI 7 layer model approach where each layer defined what it did, but also how it connected to the other layers.

    1. Would it be possible for you to provide or even create a trivial example service pattern?

    2. We discussed this in Slack but I'm cc'ing the replies here for the wiki record. I gave this reply:

      I definitely understand what you are saying about architectural layering dependencies when it comes to the ToIP Technology Stack. But I don’t see quite how that applies to the ToIP Governance Stack. In other words, to take an example, the purpose of a GF for a ToIP Layer 1 public utility is to define the policies by which higher level GAs and actors (such as Layer 3 issuers) can decide if they will or will not trust the public utility. So the entire GF is “published for the layer(s) above”.

      The same is true of GFs at Layers 2 and 3. They exist so the GAs and actors at higher layers can decide if, when, and how much that GF can be trusted in certain interactions. And a ToIP Layer 4 ecosystem governance framework exists so that other ecosystem GAs and GFs can decide how much to trust that ecosystem.

  4. Said in slack already but for the record: "we need a Responsible Use Policy similar to Inclusion… to promote responsibility and to set boundaries. Should be a MUST."

    1. Thanks, Wenjing, that was important enough that we added it to the Core Policies section of the Master Document.

  5. I'm liking the changes. Primary wins the day for inclusivity.

    On Glossary - 

    SHOULD list all terms alphabetically (by language) for easy reference.[Rieks: OED (lexico)cambridgewikipedia, etc, say that glossary IS already an alphabetically sorted list of words.

    Rieks makes an excellent point but I see validity in stating so herein. I would leave in the point but change the word SHOULD to MUST.

    As a more general point, I believe that the "SHOULD"s should be "MUST"s and the "MAY"s should be "SHOULD"s. MoSCoW Rules, where the "Would be nice if" = "MAY" here? I haven't applied this logic across the Metamodel but it looks like it could do with a wizz through to validate the MUST/SHOULD/MAY assignations. All may be semantics, (for is that not what a Metamodel is), and possibly pedantry but I'm getting in on behalf of the community before those outside throw at it.

  6. I just did a major edit that touched all parts of the document to make the following changes:

    1. Because we need to introduce "Rules" and "Rules Engines" as formal terms (learnings from the Good Health Pass WG), we needed to stop using that term in the general way we had before. Scott Perry proposed to fix that to switch from the term "Policies" to "Directives". However, besides issues with the term "Directives" (the EU and GDPR uses that term in a very different way that could be quite confusing), it doesn't give us the full vocabulary we need to distinguish between different types of requirements (machine-readable, human-auditable, or both). It would also move us away from the RFC 2119 terminology that has served us so well (and is so widely adopted and understood). So I added a set of definitions at the start of the document to fix those problems.
    2. I then did a top-to-bottom edit of the document to apply this new vocabulary consistently everywhere, using "Policy" when we mean human-auditable, "Rules" where we mean machine-readable, "Specification" where we mean either for technical interop, and "Requirements" where we mean either for both technical and governance interop.
    3. I marked in red text all the places where Scott had added new text around Rules and Rules Engines.
    4. Lastly, I removed the "New" markers that sankarshanhad applied before to the Objectives section and applied it to the definitions I added at the top of the doc.

    Please do review and comment as to how well these edits do or do not work.

  7. Thank you for clarification! I've left one comment in the Definition section regarding this phrase: "by an audit of people, processes, and procedures."

    1. Victor, thanks much, see my reply to your comment. Scott Perry may want to weigh in on this.

  8. Scott Perry and I made a few minor updates:

    1. We added a few more terms to our mini-glossary on Requirements at the start of the page: Mandates, Recommendations, and Options.
    2. We applied the term "Party" from the eSSIF-Lab Glossary, and in particular from the eSSIF-Lab Parties, Actors, and Actions model.
  9. Based on feedback from the development of the GHP Ecosystem Governance Framework in the Interoperability Working Group for Good Health Pass, I moved all requirements to provide identification and contact information for the Governance Authorit(ies) (and Governing Entity if different) to a single section of the Primary Document immediately after the Introduction.

  10. Consolidated the Requirements Glossary into a new Terminology section of the Primary Document immediately following the Introduction. This is the convention now being followed by most specifications and similar documents.

    1. Replaced the term "Governance Authority" with "Governing Authority".
    2. Replaced the term "Governing Party" with "Administering Authority".
    3. Added "Administering Authority" as a new separate section after "Governing Authority" in the case that they are two different Legal Entities.
  11. Removed "Rules Engines" as they are part of the "Decision Support Systems" from Information Trust Requirements, Business Requirements, and Inclusion, Equitability, and Accessibility Requirements.

  12. Substituted "Standard" term with "Layer specific" term for describing additional Roles, Processes, Risks and Trust Assurance elements relevant for each layer of the stack.

  13. Triggered by the recent walkthrough of this metamodel, the requirement in the "Requirements Glossary" of "Machine-Testable requirements" and "Human Auditable requirements" suggested the need for both machine and human-readable versions of all requirements (specifications). If Governance (and consent as an extension of general governance to individuals/(other actors) about their data) is to be usable and verifiable, it needs to be traceable from legislation through to detailed human & machine-readable (if not executable) specifications. The companion to this would be both human & machine-readable output of logging of actions on data. Without a companion machine-readable specification for generating (not restricted to) data use and manipulation-related logging (particularly for compliance), governance cannot be verifiable via machine (only) validation/testing, 

    Having said all that, I've not thought through my comments impact the metamodel vs. other aspects of governance in general.

  14. Near the top of the document, it says: "All terms appearing in First Letter Caps on this page MUST be added to the ToIP Governance Glossary as specified by the Concepts and Terminology WG." I changed 'Glossary' to read 'term wiki'. Here's why.

    To be clear: CTWG does not specify any terms, terminologies, glossaries etc. other than for its own purposes. However, it does specify the process that TOIP WGs and/or TFs CAN (later perhaps SHOULD, then perhaps MUST) use in order to define their own terminology (i.e. sets of terms they need to do their particular jobs).

    It is the intention of CTWG to provide a means by which each WGs/TFs can generate the glossary that they need for their particular work. The required tools for this  are being looked at. In the mean time, CTWG has come up with the idea of term wikis as a means by which such groups can define their terms. While some people refer to this as a glossary, that's explicitly not what it is, for one because such a glossary would be expected to also include terms defined by other groups.

  15. I added the word Specification to the title and intro section.  I added the intro of the companion guide to the intro section and changed the bullets in the beginning to reflect current working documents.

  16. We are deprecating the terms "ToIP Standard Specification (TSS)" and "ToIP Interoperability Profile (TIP)" in favor of just referring to ToIP Specifications and ToIP Recommendations, so I made those replacements.

    1. Wait! When did TIP get deprecated as a term? This would need a scrub through instances where it occurs in this wiki.

      1. I should have clarified that deprecating the term is still under discussion in the Technical Stack WG. But as we try to finalize the ToIP Governance Metamodel Specification, I want to avoid the risk that the term will be deprecated by not using it it here. And there is an easy solution: since a TIP is a type of ToIP Recommendation, it is completely safe for us to simply refer to compliance with ToIP Recommendations. Make sense?

        1. Way back when the TIP approach was positioned and discussed as a way for additional/alternative implementations to demonstrate equivalence (I am hesitant to use 'compatibility') with an existing model (primarily the Indy/Aries one). Would framing this as a recommendation makes the criteria for interoperability a bit more relaxed one?