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Organizational Reviews

What are the Organizations that are Reviewed?

ICANN follows a multistakeholder model in which individuals, non-commercial stakeholder groups, industry, and governments play important roles in its community-based, consensus-driven, policy-making approach.

ICANN's Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs) provide valuable input and expertise to the policy-and advice-making process. Specifically, the SOs are responsible for developing and making policy recommendations to the Board. Similarly, the ACs advise the ICANN Board and, in certain cases, can raise issues for policy development.

Supporting Organizations (SOs)

ICANN has three Supporting Organizations that develop and recommend policies concerning the Internet’s technical management within their areas of expertise. They are the Address Supporting Organization (ASO), the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) and the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO).

Advisory Committees (ACs)

ICANN has four Advisory Committees that serve as formal advisory bodies to the ICANN Board. They are made up of representatives from the Internet community to advise on a particular issue or policy area. ICANN Bylaws mandate four committees: At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), DNS Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC), Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), and Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC).

Other Groups

Additionally, there are other relevant groups involved in ICANN’s governance model including:

  • Nominating Committee
  • Technical Liaison Group
  • Board of Directors

What are the Organizational Reviews?

The ICANN Bylaws, in Section 4.4(a),  call for periodic reviews “of the performance and operation of each Supporting Organization, each Supporting Organization Council, each Advisory Committee (other than the Governmental Advisory Committee), and the Nominating Committee (as defined in Section 8.1 ) by an entity or entities independent of the organization under review.”  As per the Bylaws, the goal of these reviews shall be “to determine (i) whether that organization, council or committee has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure, (ii) if so, whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness and (iii) whether that organization, council or committee is accountable to its constituencies, stakeholder groups, organizations and other stakeholders”.  The Bylaws state that the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) shall provide its own review mechanisms.

These Organizational Reviews “shall be conducted no less frequently than every five years, based on feasibility as determined by the Board.  Each five-year cycle will be computed from the moment of the reception by the Board of the final report of the relevant review Working Group.”

The Organizational Effectiveness Committee of the Board (OEC), previously known as the Structural Improvements Committee (SIC), is responsible for the following (see information about this Committee of the Board and Committee’s Charter):

  1. The review and oversight of all organizational reviews mandated by Article 4, Section 4 of ICANN’s Bylaws or any replacement or revisions to that Section of the Bylaws (Accountability and Review), which are aimed at enhancing ICANN’s overall effectiveness, and achieving specific organizational objectives, structural relevance and effectiveness.
  2. The review and oversight of policies, processes, and procedures relating to the Reviews.
  3. The development and maintenance of a Review Framework, which is subject to Board approval, that encapsulates the policies, processes and procedures applicable to the conduct of the Reviews.  Review Policies, Procedures and Guidelines documentation is being developed as part of the Review Framework and Operating Standards to clarify and make the Review process more transparent for the ICANN community.


Review Review Team Formed Final Report Issued Board Action Number of Board Approved Recommendations Implementation Details
23 Jan 2008 9 Jun 2009 20 Jun 2009 13 14 Jun 2012
N/A 2 May 2017      
ASO June 2011 1 Dec 2011 17 Nov 2014 26 17 Nov 2014
ccNSO 26 Jun 2009 4 Mar 2011 18 Mar 2011 12 11 Sep 2013
30 Mar 2007 3 Feb 2008 26 Jun 2008 20 4 Dec 2012
N/A 15 Sep 2015 25 Jun 2016 34  
NomCom 30 Mar 2007 29 Jan 2010 25 Jun 2010 17 1 Mar 2012
NomCom2 10 Oct 2016        
RSSAC 26 Jun 2008 8 June 2010 5 Aug 2010 8 1 Dec 2010
SSAC 26 June 2008 29 Jan 2010 12 Mar 2010 33 18 Mar 2011
Board 26 Jun 2008 2 Nov 2008 12 Mar 2010 8  
TLG 12 Apr 2011 3 Dec 2010 18 Mar 2011 3  

What are all those dates in the above table?

Review Organizational Reviews are conducted by independent examiners appointed as a result of a competitive bidding process.  At times, a Working Group may be appointed by the Board, consisting of members chosen among present and past Board of Directors and Liaison Directors, to follow up on the recommendations provided by the independent examiners
Review Team Formed Board appointed independent examiners/members to conduct the Review.
Final Report Issued Final Report issued by the independent examiner is published for public comment and considered by the Board.
Board Action The Board reviews the Final Report submitted by the independent examiner or Working Group, takes action on the recommendations, and requests that an implementation plan be developed for the approved recommendations.
Number of Board Approved Recommendations Number of recommendations approved by the Board during its review of the Final Report submitted by the independent examiner or Working Group.
Implementation Details Organizations implementing Board-approved recommendations provide progress updates and reports on the status of implementation.  More details are available on the organization's websites or community wiki space.

Final Organizational Reviews Reports Prepared by Independent Examiners

Review Prepared By Final Report Report Date
At-Large Westlake Consulting Limited Arabic  Chinese  English  French  Spanish 25 July 2008
At-Large2 ITEMS International English 2 May 2017
ASO ITEMS International English December 2011
ccNSO ITEMS International Arabic  Chinese  English  French  RussianSpanish 15 June 2010
GNSO London School of Economics English September 2006
GNSO2 Westlake Governance Limited Arabic  Chinese  English  French  RussianSpanish 15 September 2015
NomCom Interisle Consulting Group, LLC English 23 October 2007
RSSAC Westlake Consulting Limited English March 2009
SSAC JAS Communications LLC English 15 May 2009


Historical information is available here

Timing of Organizational Reviews

The organizational reviews follow a five-year cycle (see Bylaws, Section 4.4(a)). Thus, each organization is scheduled to be reviewed every five years. On 28 July 2015, the Board adopted the following schedule for the conduct of upcoming Bylaws-mandated Organizational Reviews on or about the following dates: the second At-Large Review—April 2016; the second review of the Nominating Committee—February 2017; the second review of the Root Server System Advisory Committee – April 2017; and the second review of Security & Stability Advisory Committee—June 2017. See Board Resolution for further details. 

Review Process

The chart below outlines phases and typical actions and milestones applicable to an Organizational Review.  Actual actions and durations vary for each review, as can be seen from the reviews that have been concluded.  While the phases of future reviews are expected to be consistent with this outline, specific actions, milestones and durations may vary based on the unique aspects of each review.  Additionally, the outcomes of the “Proposed Schedule and Process/Operational Improvements for AoC and Organizational Reviews”, which was posted for Public Comment may impact aspects of future reviews.

Phase Key Actions and Milestones Estimated Duration (months)
Plan Review Develop plan 6 Months
  Form Review Working Party  
  Conduct competitive bidding  
  Appoint independent examiner  
Conduct Review Gather data, conduct research, evaluate implementation of prior review recommendations 12 Months
  Draft initial findings  
  Prepare draft report  
  Public comment on draft report  
  Prepare final report  
  Board action on final report  
Plan Implementation Initiate implementation 6 months
  Plan implementation work  
  Provide periodic updates on implementation planning  
Implement Improvements Conduct implementation work 12 months
  Conduct ongoing reporting, tracking and monitoring effectiveness  
Standard Operating Procedures Develop operating procedures  

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Domain Name System
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