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Minutes | Structural Improvements Committee (SIC) Meeting

SIC Attendees: Ray Plzak – Chair, Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Wolfgang Kleinwachter, and Markus Kummer

SIC Member Apologies: Bruno Lanvin and Kuo-Wei Wu

Other Board Member Attendees: Chris Disspain

Executive and Staff Attendees: Megan Bishop, Samantha Eisner, Larisa Gurnick, David Olive, Laena Rahim, Erika Randall, and Theresa Swinehart,


The following is a summary of discussions, decisions, and actions identified:

The Meeting was called to order at 10:53 a.m. local time in Singapore.

  1. Agenda – The Chair established the agenda for the meeting and gave an overview of items to be discussed.

  2. Approval of Minutes – The SIC approved the minutes of its 12 October 2014 meeting as presented.

  3. Review of Open Action Items – The Chair noted that all open action items are on the agenda.

  4. SIC Activities Report Q4 2014 – Staff provided the SIC with an overview of the fourth quarter activities report regarding completed and ongoing SIC activities. The SIC reviewed the proposed report, approved it, and agreed to send it to the Board.

  5. GNSO Review Update – Staff provided the SIC with an update on the Bylaws-mandated GNSO review. The 360 assessment, which is an online tool to collect information from the supporting organizations, advisory committees, community, Board, and staff, was launched on 4 August 2014 and was extended through ICANN51 (October 2014) to provide more response time. Westlake Governance, the independent examiner, will be presenting its initial observations, findings and recommendations to the GNSO Review Working Party on Wednesday, 11 February 2015. A draft report from the independent examiner is anticipated to be posted for public comment in approximately April 2015. Staff highlighted that the work of the Westlake team evaluates how recommendations from the prior GNSO review have been implemented, as well as providing new recommendations in the area of transparency, such as the visibility of participants, membership, information, and having certain standards across all the different stakeholder groups and constituencies.

    The SIC also discussed the letter received from members of the Non-Contracted Parties House (NCPH) after their meeting in Washington on 11 and 12 January 2015, which focused on a call to the Board to address a perceived weakness in the current GNSO Review in that it precluded the issue of structure. The SIC discussed that the limitation was to not wind up with a situation that the reviewer would impose their own proposed structure onto the GNSO, as had previously occurred, though issues of structure were clearly anticipated to be highlighted within the findings. The SIC also discussed that it was important for the GNSO community to understand that it remains empowered to try to determine if there is a better structure that will serve its needs. The SIC agreed to draft a reply to the NCPH letter to clarify this.

    • Action Items:

      • Staff to collate for the SIC key summary points from Westlake Governance's work.

      • Marcus Kummer to coordinate with staff on the drafting of a letter from the SIC to the NCPH addressing the questions raised regarding a review of the structure of the GNSO and encouraging community-led development of solutions.

  6. At-Large Advisory Committee Review – The SIC continued its discussion of the Bylaws' mandated review of the At-Large Advisory Committee. The SIC discussed that at this juncture, it is in the planning phase, which is expected to last through June 2015. The SIC highlighted that there has been some good dialogue planned between the leadership of the GNSO Review Working Party and the At-Large leadership team in order to learn from the experiences of the GNSO as to how to organize a similar working party, including how to work effectively and productively. The SIC also discussed that there may be issues that either the SIC or staff may wish to flag as criteria for the upcoming review, such as addressing issues that may arise such as the future growth in the number of At-Large Structures, as well as considering if there are issues that should be flagged to support the ongoing enhancements to ICANN's accountability and issues of checks and balances among stakeholders. The SIC stated that the final aspect of the planning phase is to hold a competitive bidding process and issue an RFP to select the examiner, which will take place within the next several months. Phases and estimated timing of the At-Large review are as follows:

    • Plan Review – January - June 2015

    • Conduct Review – July 2015 – March 2016

    • Plan Implementation - April – September 2016

    • Implement Improvements – October 2016 – June 2017

  7. Review Framework – Staff provided the SIC with an update on the review framework and the development of improvements for the next cycle of organizational reviews, including the buckets of process improvements, oversight and coordination, and a more strategic look at the "structures" within ICANN as a whole. Staff requested the SIC to agree to these buckets, which will then allow to prepare discussions with the SIC on each area, and provided some further detail on each area to facilitate the SIC's consideration of the breakdowns. The SIC agreed with the proposed action from staff, particularly in that getting standardization where possible across all reviews will benefit the organization. Staff was directed to begin work on the updating of policy and procedures guidelines for review and to develop a primer for use in reviews. In addition, to the extent that a draft tracking system could be provided for the SIC's consideration, the SIC noted that would be beneficial. As a result, the SIC requested an outline for the specifications and tracking system for its next meeting. The SIC also agreed that the oversight and coordination issues as well as effectiveness of the organization as a whole should be items for the next meeting.

    • Action Items:

      • Staff to start on the writing tasks for Items 1 and 2 of the policies guidelines within the next 3 weeks and provide an update to the SIC.

      • Staff to assure that the Review Framework is included as an item on the SIC's next meeting in April 2015.

  8. SIC Charter Review – The SIC began a discussion of its Charter and initiating a review, to look at issues including a potential change in name to better reflect the committee's role, confirming that the purpose is still an accurate statement, the scope of responsibilities and other sections, to make sure that the Charter is aligned with the relevant procurement policy and organizational review process as each has evolved. The Chair asked for volunteers to form a work party to address this issue.

    • Action Item:

      • Chair to coordinate with members of the SIC to identify volunteers to take this work forward.

  9. Any Other Business – The Chair noted for the SIC that he has declined a nomination to be a candidate for re-election to another term on the Board. Therefore, the Board Governance Committee will have to appoint a new chair for the SIC, and encouraged members to consider whether they would be interested in serving as the next SIC Chair.

    The Chair called the meeting to a close at 12:05 p.m. local time (Singapore).

Published on 8 January 2016

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