Westlake Consulting

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Westlake Consulting Limited logo.bmp
Founded: 1999, New Zealand
Founder(s): Richard Westlake
Headquarters: The Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand
Country: New Zealand
Website: westlakegovernance.com
Key People
Richard Westlake, Director

Vaughan Renner, Senior Consultant
Peter Harris, Senior Consultant
Colin Jackson, Senior Consultant

Westlake Consulting Limited (WCL), now trading as Westlake Governance ("Westlake"), is an advisory firm located in New Zealand that specializes in "Building Boards into Leading Teams," board management relationships, and all aspects of organizational governance and governance structures. The firm works with management staff and boards in the public and private sectors,including various NGOs and non-profit organizations.[1]

They provide:

  1. Structural and strategic reviews
  2. Advisory services and reviews on governance
  3. Development workshops for boards and directors
  4. Evaluations on boards, directors, and CEOs.[2]

WCL and ICANN

Westlake was appointed by ICANN in September 2012 to to assist with the development of a DNS Risk Management Framework. "The consultant is expected to work with ICANN staff and existing security related efforts in ICANN while drawing upon relevant community expertise, and to deliver a report providing the Board DNS Risk Management Framework Working Group and ICANN community with informed recommendations for the implementation of a DNS Risk Management Framework." Westlake's senior consultants, Vaughan Renner and Colin Jackson, will be at the ICANN meeting in Toronto in October 2012, to meet with members of the community and the Working Group.[3]

The company was selected by the board of directors at ICANN to conduct an independent review of the RSSAC (Root Server System Advisory Committee). In November 2008, Andy Linton and Colin Jackson, consultants at WCL, joined in the ICANN meeting held in Cairo to network with people interested in various facets related to the RSSAC.[4] In the following month, Andy Linton, along with consultant Vaughan Renner, attended the Minneapolis RSSAC meeting, collecting further feedback from the root server members as well as the members of the ICANN communities. Richard Westlake, Andy Linton and Colin Jackson presented the completed review at the March 2009 Mexico City meeting of ICANN.[5]

In February 2008, WCL was selected by ICANN to conduct an independent review of the ALAC (At-Large Advisory Committee),[6] which was submitted in July, 2008.

From 2006 to 2007, WCL conducted the structural review of InternetNZ (Internet Society of New Zealand),[7][8] which was responsible for hosted the Wellington ICANN meeting earlier that year.

Westlake Consulting Limited has also worked on the governance review for Australia's ‘.au’ ccTLD.

2008 Review of Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) by Westlake Consulting

Findings

  • RSSAC is issue-based and highly reactive, but it is supposed to give advice to the ICANN Board.
  • Regular Communication between the ICANN Board and RSSAC is not good.
  • Root Server Operators dominate the RSSAC and are independent of ICANN. Their main focus is operational, and consequently they rarely have given advice to the board.
  • The meeting processes and committees of the RSSAC are incomplete and poor. They are also not updating their website on a regular basis.
  • Succession and Appointment Process for Chair Person and Committee is ill-defined.
  • RSSAC’s members do not attend ICANN meetings regularly and are thereby disconnecting themselves from other ICANN members. Its meetings are held at IETF conferences, and as result there are very few interactions between ICANN entities and RSSAC.[9]

Options

The review team of Westlake Consulting identified certain option for RSSAC, which include:[10]

  • No change.
  • Reset its focus again and give support through ICANN resources.
  • Disband the RSSAC or merge its functioning with the SSAC or like.
  • Convert RSSAC into an organization supported by ICANN.
  • Relaunch it and make it accountable to ICANN and Root Server Operators.

Recommendations

Westlake Consulting's Review Team made the following: recommendations:[11]

  1. RSSAC should be relaunched and this time it should be a Joint Strategy Group, accountable to ICANN and Root Server Operators.
  2. RSSAC’s role should be to give advice to Root Server Operators, the Internet community and ICANN. It should monitor, analyse and assess the changes proposed and provide timely advice on the risks, desirability and implications of such changes. It should also provide a mean of connection between ICANN, the Internet community and Root Server Operators.
  3. RSSAC should initially have 9 members: 4 Root Server Operators, 1 IANA appointee, and 4 ICANN Board appointees. The appointed members must have the technical knowledge about the Root Server System.
  4. The chair of RSSAC should be appointed by its members and it should limit the appointment term to two year, with a limit of three consecutive terms.
  5. The RSSAC should attend all ICANN meetings. RSSAC’s sessions should be public so others can participate in, except for some closed sessions when only members could attend. It should invite ICANN Board members and Root Server Operators, who must be granted speaking rights.
  6. ICANN should provide two staff members to support the RSSAC, one technical fellow to research and draft reports on behalf of the RSSAC, and an administrator to provide support for effective operation.
  7. ICANN should fund accommodation and travel for the members of the RSSAC to attend ICANN meetings.

2008 Review of At-Large Advisory Committee by Westlake Consulting

Conclusion Drawn

The Review Team of Westlake Consulting believes that ICANN should allow the ALAC to continue with its efforts to contribute to the ICANN policy making process. ALAC 1.0 has progressed significantly. ICANN must make its activities relevant to international Internet users' needs. The ALAC should be sure that the community recognizes it as an important part of the ICANN structure.[12]

Recommendations

  • The number of ALAC appointees should be increased to seven from five, and its structure should be revisited during the next review.
  • ALAC members must be given clear descriptions about their positions.
  • To improve resource management, ICANN should implement a cost system based on activity.
  • ALAC should be provided further resources.
  • The ALAC chair should negotiate with ICANN staff on annual support, performance indicators and agreed expectations.
  • The ALAC should have full information and participation rights, but should not be given voting rights.
  • The appointment term of the ALAC chair should be increased to two years.
  • ICANN should make a multi-lingual, brief guide available to the ALAC and ICANN.
  • ICANN should build up clear, non-compliance sanctions; including loss of voting rights, ineligibility for travel funding, etc.[13]

References

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