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ICANN Organization Employee Practices and Resources

ICANN's multistakeholder model consists of three parts: the Board, the organization, and the community. To further community understanding of these elements, the Cross Community Working Group – Accountability Work Stream 2 Final Report offered these descriptions of their roles:

  • The primary role of the ICANN organization (org) is to execute the strategy and plans adopted by the ICANN Board. The ICANN CEO is accountable for the work done by the ICANN org. The ICANN organization role is distinct from the roles of the Board and the community.
  • The ICANN Board is made up of people from within and beyond the ICANN community. It is the formal governance body of ICANN. It is responsible for the usual set of governance functions and is integral to maintaining and developing ICANN as an open and accountable organization.
  • The ICANN community consists of the stakeholder groups and individuals who participate in advancing ICANN's mission. Members of the community are co-producers in much of ICANN's work. Community members are not governors and are not staff; their involvement in ICANN is generally voluntary from ICANN's point of view.

ICANN org has internal procedures related to employee performance management, goal setting, and for reporting work-related concerns. ICANN org also has external processes related to its work for and with the community. This page consolidates some of that information but is not intended to be an exhaustive list.

ICANN Delegation of Authority Guidelines

The ICANN Board-approved Delegation of Authority Guidelines were developed in order to provide transparency into the key roles of the ICANN Board, the President and CEO, and ICANN org management. By referencing the guidelines, the ICANN community can better identify which part of ICANN has responsibility for various types of decisions as well as implementation of those decisions. The guidelines also identify the key interdependencies among the Board, CEO, and management relationships.

ICANN Org Function Goals and Milestones

Every ICANN org functions' activities and goals revolve around the current five-year Strategic Plan. Ahead of each ICANN Board Workshop, the org Executive team compiles a report for the Board that summarizes each org function's highlights and milestones and provides an overview of recent activity. The ICANN CEO Reports to the Board map to the Operating Plan of the current fiscal year. The Operating Plan is informed by the current Strategic Plan.

ICANN Org Accountability Mechanisms

The principles of accountability and transparency are fundamental safeguards in ensuring that its bottom-up, multistakeholder model remains effective. ICANN has established accountability mechanisms for review of ICANN actions. While the full texts of the accountability mechanisms are set forth in Articles 4 and 5 of the ICANN Bylaws, the Accountability Mechanisms page provides a summary and overview of these mechanisms.

ICANN Org Annual Transparency Report

Transparency is a fundamental aspect of the success of the multistakeholder decision-making model. Transparency of processes, interests, and access to information is essential for stakeholders to collaborate effectively and achieve consensus in policy-making activities. The principles of transparency are embedded throughout the ICANN ecosystem. The ICANN Board, community, and org work continuously to improve transparency and accountability efforts. As part of this focus, the second Accountability and Transparency Review Team issued Recommendation 9.4 on the development of transparency metrics and reporting. The activities in support of this recommendation are covered in ICANN's annual Transparency Report.

Public Comment Process and Procedures

Public Comment gives the ICANN community, Internet stakeholders, and the public an opportunity to provide input on ICANN's work and policies. It is a vital part of the multistakeholder model and contributes to ICANN's commitment to transparency and accountability.

ICANN org supports the work of the community and ensures accountability by managing a consistent and transparent feedback mechanism. To ensure impartiality, all submissions are readily available in an organized archive for future reference. ICANN org is neutral when managing this process. Public Comment is the default mechanism when seeking feedback from the ICANN community or the public.

ICANN may seek Public Comment on a variety of topics, including but not limited to:

  • ICANN org or community governance documents such as the ICANN Bylaws; strategic, operating, and financial plans; budgets; and charters.
  • Policy recommendations including reports on potential, ongoing, and completed policy development processes.
  • Recommendations from Organizational and Specific Reviews.
  • Implementation plans for approved Consensus Policy recommendations.
  • ICANN base agreements with registry operators and registrars.

Each Public Comment proceeding includes published materials about a specific topic. The ICANN community develops documents through multistakeholder, consensus-driven working groups, and ICANN policy development includes multiple cycles of Public Comment. For example, Supporting Organizations may publish issue scoping reports, initial reports with draft recommendations, and final reports with proposed policies. Similarly, Advisory Committees may publish initial reports with draft recommendations and final reports with proposed advice.

Public Comment also guides some ICANN org operations. ICANN org develops various types of documents through cross-functional contributions. There is no guidance for how documents are developed for Public Comment. ICANN org considers the purpose, rationale, and desired outcomes for its proceedings. Specific questions for stakeholder and public input will inform and refine policy implementation, project and strategic plans, and governance work.

When the submission period for a Public Comment proceeding ends, ICANN org develops a summary report using a template. The summary report identifies and analyzes common themes in the submissions. The summary report also explains the outcome of the proceeding, including how submissions may have prompted changes in the original document and advanced ongoing work. Finally, the summary report outlines next steps for the specific topic.

Find more information about how Public Comment works on the Public Comment page, and learn how to make a submission in these Step-by-Step Submission Guidelines.

Board Advice and Correspondence Processes

The ICANN Board receives "Action Requests" in the form of advice and recommendations from a variety of sources within the ICANN community. The subset of these Action Requests coming from the At-Large Advisory Committee, Root Server System Advisory Committee, and Security and Stability Advisory Committee is collectively referred to as "Board Advice". The Action Request Register (ARR) provides a centralized system supporting a consistent and repeatable process for tracking and managing such advice. The ARR can accommodate different types of advice and recommendations, each of which may have different requirements and may differ in priority or outcome.

The Correspondence process was created to support ICANN's commitment to operate in an open and transparent manner in regard to written communications to the ICANN Board and the ICANN organization. The process provides a centralized, standard, and consistent manner in which to accept, process, and respond to letters received from external sources and track outgoing letters. As part of our commitment to transparency, ICANN publishes applicable written communication to the ICANN Correspondence page.

The Advice and Correspondence process documentation is available on the website.

ICANN Complaints Office

The Complaints Office handles complaints regarding ICANN org that don't fall into an existing complaints mechanism, such as Contractual Compliance, Request for Reconsideration, or the Ombudsman. This may include complaints about how a request has been handled, a process that appears to be broken, insufficient handling of an issue, or something that may be an indication of a systemic issue, among other things. More information is available on the Complaints Office page, including the kinds of complaints the office handles, how to submit a complaint, and the office's annual reports. Read this blog to learn more about the Complaints Office, and how it differs from the Ombudsman.

ICANN Org Staff Policies and Procedures

ICANN org is committed to the highest possible standards of ethical, moral, and legal business conduct. ICANN org has several policies, including Open-Door, Prohibition of Harassment, and Fraud, that provide org employees with procedures for reporting work-related concerns.

Open-Door Policy

ICANN org has an Open-Door Policy that encourages employee participation in decisions affecting them and their daily professional responsibilities. Employees who have job-related concerns or complaints are encouraged to discuss them with their immediate supervisor or any other management representative with whom they feel comfortable to do so. ICANN org believes that employee concerns are best addressed through this kind of informal and open communication.

Prohibition of Harassment

ICANN org is committed to providing a work environment that is free of unlawful harassment. Workplace harassment violates ICANN org's Prohibition of Harassment policy and is prohibited by various laws such as Title VII of the United States' federal Civil Rights Act and the California state Fair Employment and Housing Act, and similar laws in other countries. ICANN org's anti-harassment policy applies to all applicants, independent contractors, consultants, and staff members involved in the operations of ICANN and prohibits harassment by any applicant, independent contractor, consultant, and staff member of ICANN.

Fraud Policy

ICANN org's Fraud Policy sets out requirements for the reporting of potential fraudulent activities involving employees of ICANN, or employees of a customer, supplier, or other organization that does business with ICANN or its affiliate. The Fraud Policy also specifies ICANN org's investigation requirements over those reports.

Employee Anonymous Hotline

ICANN org has several policies, including Open-Door, Prohibition of Harassment, and Fraud, that provide org employees with procedures for reporting work-related concerns. ICANN org provides an Anonymous Hotline as an additional resource for employees to report issues, in good faith, regarding unethical, illegal, or unsafe activity. Employees can use the Anonymous Hotline to report issues directly to an independent external agency staffed with trained professionals, who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The independent external agency will notify the Hotline Committee of all issues reported to the Anonymous Hotline. The policy and procedures are contained within the Anonymous Hotline policy and procedures documents. These policy and procedures may also be known as Whistleblower Protections.

Expected Standards of Behavior

Those who take part in ICANN's multistakeholder process, including the Board, organization staff, and all those involved in Supporting Organization and Advisory Committee councils, undertake to adhere to ICANN's Expected Standards of Behavior.

Employee Conduct and Work Rules

The Employee Conduct and Work Rules define ICANN org's rules of conduct to ensure the efficient and orderly operation of the business and to protect the rights and safety of all employees. Violation of the rules could result in disciplinary action, ranging from oral or written warnings to suspension, or termination of employment.


ICANN org has a Confidentiality Policy for maintaining the confidentiality of the sensitive and

proprietary information of ICANN and of third parties that is in ICANN's possession. Under this policy, ICANN org staff members must safeguard the confidentiality of all such confidential and proprietary information. ICANN business should not be discussed with family members, roommates, or friends. Staff members may not use confidential information obtained during or through a working relationship with ICANN for the purpose of furthering current or future outside employment or engagement activities, or for obtaining personal gain or profit.

Conflicts of Interest

ICANN org has a substantial interest in all of its business ventures and activities and must maintain policies that are designed to protect its interests. Staff members at all levels are required to comply with the Conflicts of Interest Policy. A conflict of interest may exist when a staff member is involved in an activity or has a personal interest that might interfere with the staff member's objectivity in performing ICANN duties and responsibilities. Any such activities or personal interests or activities are prohibited unless formally approved in writing. ICANN also maintains the Board Conflicts of Interest Policy that is administered with ICANN's Board Governance Committee.

Outside Business Activities

ICANN org's Outside Business Activities policy concerns staff members who own or operate a business or engage in other employment or engagement (including contracting or consulting work), whether paid or unpaid, while actively working with ICANN. ICANN org desires to ensure that such activities do not adversely affect staff members' performance of their duties for ICANN, or create conflicts of interest, scheduling problems, distractions, and other problems that could negatively impact ICANN's interests.

Performance Management System

ICANN org people managers assess the performance of their employees on a biannual basis. Managers work with their direct reports to establish goals and deliverables for the upcoming term that are in line with that fiscal year's Operating Plan and ICANN's Five-Year Strategic Plan. During the biannual review, managers score the performance of their employees against those predetermined goals and deliverables and are further scored on work behavior measurements. The biannual performance reviews are shared with the org Executive and Human Resources teams.

Feedback from the community on the progress of ICANN's work is welcomed at any time. The formal Performance Management Review Process is not an effective means to enable timely reactions to feedback from community members. Therefore, the community is urged to share real-time feedback directly with ICANN leadership. For example, in typical working groups, there is a continuous opportunity for immediate feedback and discussion between the groups' leadership teams and responsible org staff. For the GNSO policy development process (PDP), additional feedback can also be provided in the working group assessment surveys at the end of the PDP.

Additionally, in instances where community members wish to personally provide positive or constructive development feedback on ICANN activities or interactions with staff, they can raise this with any ICANN executive, who will forward such feedback internally as appropriate.

As a reminder, community members are also able to contact the Complaints Office to raise concerns on ICANN processes and the Ombudsman for issues of potential unfairness.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The Equal Employment Opportunity Policy defines ICANN org's policy for the equal opportunity and treatment of employees and applicants. ICANN org believes that all persons are entitled to equal employment opportunity and does not discriminate against qualified employees or applicants because of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, family care status, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, marital status, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law within the United States.

Assessment of ICANN Evaluation of Information Acquisition Mechanisms for ICANN Performance and Accountability to Stakeholders Implementation of Work Stream 2, Recommendation 7.2.1

The ICANN organization has developed a page on sharing the existing information acquisition mechanisms that ICANN org has in place to collect community input on ICANN org's performance in response to Work Stream 2 Recommendation 7.2.1. On this page, ICANN org provides a description of each information acquisition mechanism's purpose and the methodology for how information is gathered in order to provide transparency to the community.

Information Acquisition Mechanisms on ICANN's Performance and Accountability to Stakeholders

ICANN org has information mechanisms in place to gather input from the community on ICANN org's performance and accountability to the global multistakeholder community. In response to community Work Stream 2 recommendation 7.2.1, ICANN org published information on to improve transparency and understanding about these important accountability tools.

ICANN Org Service Level Targets and Guidelines for Response to Community Requests.

ICANN org has service level targets and guidelines for responding to community requests that are in place to ensure that the services it provides to the community are executed in a clear and timely fashion. In response to Work Stream 2 recommendation 7.2.2-7.3.3, ICANN org published information on to improve transparency and understanding about these important accountability tools.

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."