Submissions to the Annual Conference go through a review process before the programme is made public. When users submit a proposal, they choose a working group to review the proposal. Reviews start when working group convenors receive access to their proposals as designated by the submitters. Here, working groups review the items that were submitted to them, be it whole panels or roundtables, or individual papers. The working groups then crafting panels out of those individual paper proposals. Once a individual proposal is merged into a panel (or when a submitted panel is sponsored), it is removed from the pool of available items. The working groups should complete their task usually late November.
When the working groups finish their review work, they "submit" their sponsored panels to the programme chairs for final placement on the program. The programme chairs are ultimately responsible for the program and, on occasion, may make small changes to the panels working groups recommend. The programme chairs then place most of the sponsored panels on to the program, paying attention for scheduling conflicts, over-participation, and special requests.
To create a "buffer" of back-up panels, working groups usually sponsor one or two more panels than those that will fit in their allocation on the programme. In turn, the programme chairs typically place panels in the order the working group convenors recommend in so far as is possible to avoid appearance conflicts. This panel placement and review process takes place from late November and early December.
In early december programme chairs watch for people being placed on the programme too many times and begin fixing formatting issues. This gets us ready to send out our acceptance notices in mid-December.
Of course, the programme work does not stop then. Throughout the months of January - March, for a variety of reasons people may withdraw from their conference participation. As they do, the working groups and programme chairs work together to fill "holes" on the programme by using papers from the wait-list. A paper that did not make it on to the programme during the autumn might very well find a place during the spring. Like all other steps in the process, however, these placements are made by the programme chairs, usually following recommendations from the working groups sponsoring the affected items.