First ccNSO Organizational Review
The First ccNSO Organizational Review (ccNSO1) was initiated in 2009 and completed in 2011 with implementation of improvements continuing throughout 2013.
Article 4.4 of the ICANN Bylaws requires periodic review of all supporting organizations and advisory committees, as well as the Nominating Committee. The bylaws state three objectives for the review:
- to determine whether that organization, council or committee has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure;
- if so, whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness; and
- whether that organization, council or committee is accountable to its constituencies, stakeholder groups, organizations and other stakeholders.
Organizational reviews are conducted by independent examiners, selected through a competitive bidding process. The independent examiner works in consultation with a working group assembled by the board, who will act as implementation shepherds once the final report of the independent examiner is submitted. The review parameters are set by the ICANN Board, and those parameters as well as other avenues of inquiry are typically included in the request for proposals (RFP) for independent examiners. Reviews can take anywhere from three to five years to complete. The full review process includes seven phases, including the implementation of recommendations from the review. Reviews must be conducted at least every five years, measuring from the date that the final report of the previous review was accepted by the ICANN Board. The Country Code Names Supporting Organization is one of the organizations subject to the review requirements of Article 4.4.
Initiation and RFP Process
The ICANN Board appointed five people to the ccNSO1 review working group in June 2009, with Jean-Jacques Subrenat chairing the group. In August 2009, the board published a request for proposals (RFP), incorporatoing a Terms of Reference (ToR) for the review. The board also maintained and published a list of questions received and answered during the bidding process.
ITEMS International was selected to conduct the review.
ITEMS International Final Report
ITEMS conducted the review along three major lines of inquiry:
- face-to-face and phone interviews with ccTLD managers, members of ICANN staff, and representatives from other SOs & ACs;
- a survey aimed at ccTLD managers; and
- analysis of the ccNSO's activities and observation of its processes and achievements to date.
Interviews were conducted by phone throughout the review process, with face-to-face interviews occurring at ICANN 37 in Nairobi in March 2010. The survey was conducted in the first three months of 2010, allowing ITEMS to validate and pursue additional information regarding survey results during its interviews at ICANN 37. The survey received 97 responses, with the majority coming from ccTLD managers, and a 70/30 split between ccNSO members and non-members.
The analysis of the survey and interviews, along with a review of the ccNSO's activities and remit, caused ITEMS to report the following top-level findings in the executive summary to its final report:
- The ccNSO primary mission of policy development was not being fulfilled, with four factors contributing to the relative lack of policy development processes: disparities in the size and nature of ccTLD registries; a reluctance within the ccTLD community to develop common policies; the complexity of the PDP process; and the narrow scope available to policy development efforts.
- The ccNSO's capacity to build consensus and create common cause among ccTLD organizations was a strong motivator for membership, and an acknowledged strength of the organization.
- The ccNSO was widely considered as a valuable and engaged contributor to the broader community and in cross-community projects.
- The lack of translated documents hampers the ccNSO's global mission.
- There is a "perception gap" between ICANN's actual spending on ccNSO-related resources and the opinions among ccTLD managers of the value of support received.
- The ccNSO did not have formal strategic or policy planning processes.
Based on their findings, ITEMs presented the following recommendations:
- The ccNSO should consider adopting alternative, non-binding, less cumbersome policy input methods: a comment process for rapid response to requests from other SOs or the board; and a position paper mechanism for statements of general policy positions shared by the majority of ccNSO members.
- Consider translation of key documents related to the ccNSO and its actions into the official U.N. languages.
- Because translation is cost-intensive, seek to engage volunteer members of the ccNSO to assist with translations, using a multilingual wiki as a "workshop" for translation.
- Increase (and fund) outreach activities to encourage ccNSO membership, particularly aimed at under-represented regions.
- Collaborate with the GAC and ALAC in joint membership growth efforts for all SO and ACs within the ICANN community.
- When policy decisions would impact the activities of registrars and registrants, the ccNSO should have a mechanism for obtaining feedback from those user groups.
- Adopt a "collaborative networking" tool and engage in active community management utilizing that tool.
- ICANN, to facilitate the success of Recommendation 7, should provide funding or staff in support of community management functions.
- Introduce term limits for ccNSO Council members.
- Consider clarifying the respective roles of the ccNSO Council and the Chair of the council in the ccNSO rules and guidelines.
- Create a designated "Financial Liaison" position within the ccNSO Council to engage with ICANN's financial staff and assist in the transparency and accessibility of financial information and explanations of expenditures. This recommendation is aimed in part at alleviating the "perception gap" that ITEMS identified between actual spending and member perceptions.
- The ccNSO should publish an annual policy roadmap to assist in strategic direction and to broadcast its activities to its constituents and the wider ICANN community.
The final report was issued in June 2010, and presented at ICANN 38 in Brussels. At the Brussels meeting, the ccNSO requested an addendum to the report that provided the full content of survey and interview responses. It was determined at the same time that many ccNSO members would be unable to submit their written comments within the deadline. As a result, the working group extended the deadline for public comment on the ITEMS report to September 2010. The report received a total of seven comments. The comments were often in disagreement with the recommendations of the report, although they sometimes recognized that the issues underlying the recommendations were important. For example, many commenters questioned whether translation into the "official U.N. languages" would improve access for, and representation among, under-served nations or regions.
- ccNSO1 Review Dashboard, last updated September 11, 2013
- ICANN Bylaws - Article 4.4
- ICANN.org - Organizational Reviews
- Resolution of the Board, June 26, 2009
- ccNSO1 Request for Proposals, August 17, 2009 (PDF)
- ICANN.org - ccNSO1 Questions & Answers, August 17, 2009
- ccNSO1 Review - Report of ITEMS International, June 15, 2010 (PDF)
- ICANN.org Archive - Public Comment on ccNSO1 Independent Examiner's Report
- ICANN Listserv Archive - Public Comments on ITEMS ccNSO1 Report
- ICANN Listserv Archive - Staff Report on Public Comment Proceeding, September 30, 2010