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Operating Standards: Overview and Next Steps

The public comment period for draft Operating Standards for ICANN's Specific Reviews closed on 2 February 2018. Thank you to all who contributed for your diverse and constructive submissions.

The Operating Standards will guide how ICANN Specific Reviews are conducted. Specific Reviews are driven by community-led review teams tasked with assessing ICANN's performance in key areas and making recommendations based on their findings. The Organizational Effectiveness Committee of the ICANN Board (OEC), of which I am Chair, is responsible for overseeing the ICANN Reviews and the Operating Standards drafting process.

I'd like to reflect on the current drafting process and propose next steps toward the publication of consensus-based Operating Standards. It is my hope that the community will continue to be actively and enthusiastically involved in producing a full second draft of the Operating Standards prior to ICANN62.

Summary of Public Comments

Ten community groups and individuals submitted thoughtful and constructive comments. You can read the staff summary of public comments here. Some of the key issues that were addressed include:

Scope setting – A puzzle in the reviews process is how to appoint a review team with the necessary skill set if the scope is not set before review team selection. The draft Operating Standards call for the Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs) to create a Scope Drafting Team, to be responsible for drafting the scope ahead of each review. Commenters expressed opposition to this proposal for a number of reasons, including that this would exclude review team members from having input to the scope of the review. Based on the community views expressed, clearly, a different solution to the one proposed in the initial draft should be considered.

Review team selection – Currently, under the criteria detailed in the ICANN Bylaws, each SO and AC nominates up to seven candidates for each review team. Candidates are selected from the pool of applicants that responded to the call for volunteers. Commenters expressed differing opinions on the appropriateness of the current process, particularly with regard to the number of members appointed to each review team. Some commenters proposed that SO and AC Chairs should select a minimum of 13, 15, or even 21 review team members to address diversity of skill concerns.

Monitoring progress of Specific Reviews – Commenters pointed to the need to assure an appropriate monitoring of progress for Specific Reviews. This topic was not addressed in the current draft Operating Standards, but should be included in the next draft. Language on this important issue will be based on concerns raised in the public comments and any related discussions during ICANN61 and beyond.

Next Steps

I would like to encourage community-wide discussions during ICANN61. It is my hope that the community finds time to dedicate some internal discussion on the Operating Standards. If possible you may also bring your thoughts to our attention during your community's respective meetings with the ICANN Board.

Following ICANN61, we propose to have a two-phased approach to update the current draft:

The first phase will consist of regular, open calls between the ICANN Multistakeholder Strategy and Strategic Initiatives (MSSI) team that leads the drafting effort, and the ICANN community. Before each call a different section of the Operating Standards will be made available to the public. The subsequent call will focus on that specific section. The topics of 'scope setting', 'review team selection', and 'monitoring review progress' are obvious choices for these issue-focused updates and calls. Other issues may be included, too, depending on community interest.

Once the issue-focused calls on the sectional drafts are concluded, the second phase will see the publication of a fully revised draft of the entire Operating Standards for public comment. The full draft will reflect community views expressed through all avenues, including public comments on the first draft, community concerns raised during ICANN61, and comments received during the aforementioned issue-focused calls.

It is pivotal that the development of the Operating Standards remains a collaborative, open, and transparent effort. I speak for the entire ICANN Board when I say that I am looking forward to continuing to work together on this important document to support an effective, transparent, and consistent review process.


    Cheryl Langdon-Orr  11:17 UTC on 02 March 2018

    This plan seems to me, to be an excellent way forward... I look forward to contributing.

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