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Minutes | Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) Meeting

Published on 2 May 2016

OEC Attendees:  Rinalia Abdul Rahim – Chair, Markus Kummer, Bruno Lanvin, Kuo-Wei Wu and Lousewies Van der Laan

Other Board Member Attendee: Lito Ibarra

Other Attendee: Göran Marby

Executive and Staff Attendees: Megan Bishop, Xavier Calvez, Samantha Eisner, Larisa Gurnick, Vinciane Koenigsfeld, Margie Milam, Cassia Oliveira, Wendy Profit, Laena Rahim, Charla Shambley and Theresa Swinehart


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

The Meeting was called to order at 8:32 a.m. local time in Marrakech, Morocco.

  1. Agenda – The Chair established the agenda for the meeting and gave an overview of items to be discussed.
  2. Approval of Minutes – The OEC approved the minutes of its 1 February 2016 meeting as presented.
  3. Committee Work Plan for 2016 and Review of Open Action Items – The Chair noted that all open action items are on the agenda but will not be discussed during the meeting.

    Staff provided an overview of the 2016 Work Plan, which has been expanded to include their respective targets, milestones and cost indications, for the OEC's consideration:

    1. Review Framework – development of an integrated approach to reviews

    2. Bylaws-mandated reviews of ICANN structures

    3. Charter Amendments of various GNSO stakeholder groups and constituency charters

    4. Holistic Assessment of ICANN Structures

    In adopting the Work Plan for 2016, given that there will be multiple reviews being conducted concurrently, the current schedule may pose community workload and resource challenges. Therefore, staff requested feedback and guidance from the OEC on the following issues:

    1. How many reviews can be handled effectively at one time?

    2. Should the future review schedule be reconsidered?

    3. Would it be useful for staff to develop several options in terms of review adjustments for enhanced manageability and resourcing?

    As an action item from the previous OEC meeting, staff presented the historical average review cost in terms of the major phases of reviews. Staff further apprised the OEC that internally, staff is evaluating alternative ways to decrease costs and/or streamline efficiencies and cost-effectiveness.

    The Chair made some recommendations in relation to the "Holistic Assessment of ICANN Structures" portion of the presentation:

    1. "Identify Viable Options" - staff to reconsider the timing proposed.

    2. "Socialize with Community" - staff to include an additional step where the board is consulted before socializing options with the community.

    The OEC approved the Work Plan for 2016, subject to the amendments to be incorporated by staff.

    • Action Items:
      • Staff to develop several options in terms of review adjustments for enhancement manageability and resourcing.

      • For future updates on the detailed Work Plan document, the Chair requested for staff to include a red line in the timeline portion to indicate the specific items where Board and the OEC approvals are required.

      • For future OEC meetings, the Chair requested staff to present regular updates to the OEC on average review costs, as and when necessary.

  4. At-Large Review Update – ICANN's Bylaws require that its structures, including the At-Large Advisory Committee, be reviewed on a five-year cycle.  This review is part of ICANN's commitment to continuous improvement, accountability and transparency.  The At-Large Review will be conducted under a new, improved approach and will leverage the learnings from the GNSO review. 

    Staff presented an update on the progress of preparations for the At-Large Review.  At this juncture, the search for the independent examiner has commenced, in accordance with ICANN procurement policy.  In collaboration with the At-Large Review Working Party, key elements of the scope of independent review and criteria for the selection of the independent examiner have been discussed and agreed upon, for inclusion in the Request for Proposals.

    Staff further updated the OEC on the phases and estimated timing of the At-Large review as follows:

    • Preparation: Scope of Work, Criteria – Jul – Oct 2015

    • Competitive Bidding & Initial Assessment of 2008 Recommendations (Self Assessment)  – Nov 2015 – March 2016

    • Conduct Review – April 2016 – Feb 2017

    • Final Report – March 2017

    • Board Action, Plan Implementation and Implement Improvements – June 2017

    The timeline for the At-Large Review may be impacted, as there may be a delay in selecting the independent examiner owing to the fact that staff is facing some challenges in finding people who are sufficiently qualified and have the necessary level of independence. Staff sought feedback from the OEC and presented some options on how to mitigate potential complexities in the future:

    1. To establish a group within ICANN that would be staffed by ICANN staff, akin to an independent audit function in a different environment; or

    2. To pursue a new panel of independent of examiners.

    The Chair proposed a potential solution of establishing a partnership between an independent examiner and an individual with deep knowledge providing the contextual information to the independent examiner. Furthermore, given that there are interdependencies among some of the reviews, it would be useful to formulate some thoughts on how we could have an independent reviewer, with additional expertise added.  The Chair also reiterated that the OEC should be mindful of conflicts of interest when selecting independent examiners.

    • Action Items:
      • Staff to explore and develop several options for alternative approaches to conducting organizational reviews and to present the pros and cons for each option, bearing in mind that independence is extremely important, and the key principle is to ensure that independence is coupled with access to contextual knowledge about ICANN.

      • Staff will provide the OEC with a slide that was previously presented to the OEC demonstrating the panel of providers that have been used over the course of the last couple of review cycles, consisting of approximately six companies.

  5. GNSO Review Update – The Final Report on the organizational review of the GNSO was delivered by Westlake Governance (the independent examiner) on 15 September 2015.  Staff updated the OEC that the GNSO Review Working Party has finalized their Feasibility Assessment and Prioritization of 36 recommendations issued by the independent examiner and plans to submit their final report to the GNSO Council for consideration at their 9 March meeting, or it may be postponed to a later date.   The Feasibility Assessment and Prioritization of Recommendations is presented to the OEC for initial discussion.  Once the GNSO Council provides feedback, the OEC will consider recommendations of the independent examiner along with the feedback from the community and will make a recommendation to the full board.  The GNSO Review Working Party will undertake an evaluation of the review process as their next step.

    Staff provided a brief summary of the recommendations.

    Staff informed the OEC that in relation to the recommendations which the GNSO Review Working Party have agreed to, they are interested in collaborating with staff to formulate definitions of what a successful outcome would look like.

    The OEC also had a discussion as to whether a review of reviews will occur.  Staff informed the OEC that while there is an ongoing discussion on the mechanism for performing the review of reviews as part of the review framework, there has not been any feasible conclusion for how to embark on this task.

    • Action Items:
      • Staff to inform the OEC when the full Feasibility Assessment and Prioritization of GNSO Review Recommendations will be ready for OEC consideration and Board action.

      • Staff to prepare a draft response from the OEC to the GNSO Review Working Party report in relation to concerns expressed over the selection of the independent examiner, the scope of the independent review and the methodology used.

  6. Any Other Business

    The OEC discussed the rationale for the change of term from "Structural Improvements" to "Organizational Effectiveness" Committee.

    The OEC acknowledged the structural challenges of how the ICANN community is organized where each structure functioning optimally in its silo does not necessarily equate to the goals of ICANN being achieved. One method of addressing the silo issue is the Future Meeting Strategy that creates space for the community to come together based on common interest or shared issues of concern, irrespective of structure.

    The OEC will continue its discussion on the holistic assessment review of ICANN; and it endeavors to establish mechanisms to address it.

    The Chair called the meeting to a close at 9:55 a.m. local time (Marrakech, Morocco).

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