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Minutes | Structural Improvements Committee (SIC) Meeting

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

Other Board Member Attendees: Chris Disspain and George Sadowsky

Executive and Staff Attendees: Megan Bishop, Michelle Bright, Samantha Eisner, Larisa Gurnick, Robert Hoggarth, Vinciane Koenigsfeld, Denise Michel, Ashwin Rangan, Charla Shambley and Theresa Swinehart


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

The Meeting was called to order at 1:02 p.m. local time in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

  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 25 April 2015 meeting as presented.

  3. Review of Open Action Items – The Chair noted that two out of six items on the open action items are not on the agenda – the SIC Charter Review and the Charter Amendment – Registry Stakeholder Group.

    With regards to the SIC Charter Review, the Chair and Ray Plzak will be meeting the Board Governance Committee (BGC) on 20 June 2015 to address any question that they may have. If the BGC approves the revised SIC Charter, it will go to the Board for approval at its July meeting.

    The public comment period for the Charter Amendment – Registry Stakeholder Group closed on 16 June 2015. Two comments were received and Staff is in the process of preparing the summary report that will be shared with the SIC at its next meeting.

  4. SIC Activities Report Q2 2015 – Staff provided the SIC with the first quarter activities report prior to the meeting. 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 and the changes to the timeline. The 360 assessment, 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.

    Staff highlighted that the draft report by Westlake was published for public comment on 1 June 2015 and the public comment period will close on 20 July 2015. Thereafter, Westlake will consider the feedback provided through the meetings during ICANN 53 as well as public comment, and the final report will be issued on 30 August 2015. Moreover, comments from the GNSO Review Working Party were incorporated into the draft report posted for public comment and the timeline has been extended to include multiple additional opportunities for the GNSO Review Working Party to continue the ongoing process of providing feedback to Westlake.

    Staff further recapped the Westlake review methodology. Westlake is to consider the recommendations that arose from the last review cycle and to assess the effectiveness of the implementation of those recommendations.

    For the draft report, Westlake produced 36 recommendations that fall under four themes:

    • Participation and Representation – 16 recommendations, including

      • The GNSO Council stakeholder groups and constituencies adhere to the published process for applications for new constituencies. That the ICANN Board in assessing an application satisfies itself that all parties have followed due process.
      • ICANN define "cultural sensitivity" and that relevant metrics (encompassing geographic, gender, age group and cultural, possibly by using birth language) be monitored and published.
      • When approving GNSO Policy, the ICANN Board explicitly satisfy itself that the GNSO Council undertook specific actions when approving the formation of a PDP WG.
    • Continuous Development – 14 recommendations
    • Transparency – 4 recommendations
    • Alignment with ICANN's Future – 2 recommendations

    Staff further emphasized that there are a number of activities taking place at ICANN 53 to encourage participation and briefings for the community on the GNSO report. There will be approximately ten sessions scheduled with the Westlake team to provide briefings to the GNSO Council, the GNSO Review Working Party, as well as many constituency groups. Additionally, a video will be launched to help people get more engaged with the content and to garner more comments after ICANN 53.

    • Action Item:

      • The SIC Chair, Jonathan Robinson and Jen Wolfe (Chair of the GNSO Review Working Party) will discuss and initiate the process of considering how to take these 36 recommendations, prioritize them and/or organize them in such a way that the process of implementation could be considered.

  6. At-Large Advisory Committee Review – The SIC continued its discussion of the Bylaws' mandated review of the At-Large Advisory Committee/At-Large and Staff provided an update of the review and noted changes to the timeline:

    • The At-Large Review Working Party will be engaged from May 2015 through Implementation phase

    • The At-Large Review Preparatory Questions are posted on the wiki

    • The independent examiner will be appointed in early 2016

    • Planning for implementation will start in 2017 - implementation improvements will start upon completion of the planning phase - duration will depend on nature of findings and recommendations

    Staff also highlighted the roles and responsibilities associated with the At-Large Review Working Party, Independent Examiner, the SIC and Staff.

  7. Review Framework – As a follow up on the SIC's earlier discussion in February 2015, Staff referred to the three areas identified as areas for discussion, namely:

    • Process improvements
    • Review oversight and coordination – discussion will be deferred until feedback is received from the public comment
    • Holistic assessment of ICANN structures and looking at the meta issues having to do with reviews – discussion will be deferred until feedback is received from public comment

    In terms of process improvements, Staff identified several proposed process improvements, the benefits of these improvements, and sought feedback from the SIC on a way forward regarding these proposed improvements. Areas of process improvements which were discussed by the SIC include:

    • Standard Review Process and Methodology
    • Relevance to Each Organization
    • Adoption and Application of Standards
    • Increased Effectiveness and Impact
    • Creating Alternate Process for Strategic Reviews
    • Other Items for Consideration

    On the topic of the adoption and application of standards, Staff stated that the proposed action is to anchor or connect standards to professional standards, best practices, and guidelines that developed outside of ICANN (e.g. the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and the Project Management Institute (PMI)) and enhance standards where that might be needed. The SIC noted that while the adoption of external standards would guarantee a codified set of standards, it would be important for ICANN to develop its own standards where needed to address the unique status of the organization.

    The SIC discussed the proposed criteria that could serve as the basis for rejecting or deferring recommendations, including cost/benefit considerations, alignment with strategic plans of ICANN, meeting with the scope of the review, or areas where there is not sufficient information are all part of what could serve as the basis for deferring a recommendation until sufficient information could be gathered to make a decision. The SIC noted that rejecting something and deferring something are two different actions entirely.The SIC requested Staff to clearly identify the criteria for rejecting a recommendation. The SIC suggested that Staff add "potential impact on another group" as an additional criterion.

    • Action Items:

      • The SIC requested for an implementation feasibility assessment to be conducted by Staff in connection with the draft recommendations included in the Draft Report on the GNSO Review.

      • The SIC requested Staff to update the list of critereia, separating the criteria for rejecting a recommendation from those for deferring a recommendation.

  8. 2015 SIC Work Plan – Staff provided the SIC with a summary of the three major work areas of the work plan for 2015:

    • Review framework with the objective of developing an integrated approach to reviews and creating an updated documentation of the review process
    • Charter review - almost concluded
    • Overseeing the scheduled reviews.

    The SIC adopted the work plan with the understanding that it is a live document and some amendments may ensue due to schedule changes, etc. related to organizational review and the review framework.

  9. Any Other Business – The SIC stated that for its next meeting, it would be beneficial and appropriate for the SIC to have a more substantial discussion on some of the concrete recommendations from the GNSO report.

The Chair called the meeting to a close at 2:26 p.m. local time (Buenos Aires, Argentina).

Published 29 September 2015

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