ICANN Resolutions » Acceptance of the Second Organizational Review of the RSSAC – Final Report and Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan

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Acceptance of the Second Organizational Review of the RSSAC – Final Report and Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan


Resolution of the ICANN Board
Meeting Date: 
Пт, 3 Май 2019
Resolution Number: 
2019.05.03.15 – 2019.05.03.23
Resolution Text: 

Whereas, the second Organizational Review of the RSSAC commenced in September 2017, in accordance with the ICANN Bylaws, Article 4, Section 4.4.

Whereas, the independent examiner that conducted the second RSSAC Review produced an assessment report that was published for public consultation on 27 February 2018, a draft final report that was published for public comment on 1 May 2018 and a final report, containing six (6) principal recommendations and nine (9) supplementary recommendations, that was published on 10 July 2018.

Whereas the ICANN community provided input via public comment on the draft final report.

Whereas, the RSSAC Review Work Party, serving as a liaison between the RSSAC, the independent examiner and the Organizational Effectiveness Committee of the Board (OEC), analyzed the independent examiner's recommendations for feasibility and usefulness, considered provisional budget implications, and anticipated resources to propose a prioritized implementation timeline.

Whereas, the RSSAC Review Work Party drafted a Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan in which it indicated support for four (4) principal recommendations in the final report, including one (1) with modifications, and three (3) supplementary recommendations, including one (1) with modifications. The RSSAC Review Work Party did not support two (2) principal recommendations and six (6) supplementary recommendations.

Whereas, the RSSAC approved the Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan on 2 October 2018.

Whereas, the OEC received briefings from the independent examiner on its final report and the RSSAC Review Work Party on its Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan during the OEC meeting on 8 January 2019. The OEC also sought clarification from the RSSAC Review Work Party on its response to certain findings of the independent examiner.

Whereas, the OEC considered the final report, the Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan, and the public comment input in order to reach a recommendation to the Board for how to proceed with the second RSSAC Review. The OEC recommended that the Board accepts both the RSSAC Review independent examiner's final report and the RSSAC Review Work Party's Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan. The OEC also recommended that the Board instruct the RSSAC to convene an implementation working group to develop a detailed implementation plan for the recommendations, as detailed in the Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan, within six (6) months from the adoption of this resolution. The detailed implementation plan shall also contain appropriate implementation costing. The OEC further recommends to the Board that the implementation working group is to oversee the implementation of these recommendations, once the Board has approved said detailed implementation plan, including appropriate implementation costing.

Whereas, this organizational review identified issues of succession, which the RSSAC recommends and the RSSAC proactively addressed these concerns by proposing clarifications to its leadership structure, approving a change to its Operational Procedures in March 2019 that modify the RSSAC leadership structure to consist of one RSSAC Chair and one RSSAC Vice Chair rather than two RSSAC Co-Chairs.

Whereas, Article 12, Section 2C of the ICANN Bylaws references the RSSAC leadership structure.

Resolved (2019.05.03.15), the Board acknowledges the independent examiner's hard work and thanks them for producing a comprehensive set of recommendations to improve the RSSAC's effectiveness, transparency, and accountability.

Resolved (2019.05.03.16), the Board acknowledges the work and support of the RSSAC Review Work Party during the review process, as well as its Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan that was approved by the RSSAC on 2 October 2018 and guided the OEC's recommendation to the Board. The Board thanks the RSSAC Review Work Party for its efforts.

Resolved (2019.05.03.17), the Board accepts the final report from the independent examiner.

Resolved (2019.05.03.18), the Board accepts the Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan.

Resolved (2019.05.03.19), the Board directs the RSSAC to convene an RSSAC review implementation working group that drafts a detailed implementation plan of the recommendations, as detailed in the Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan, including appropriate implementation costing.

Resolved (2019.05.03.20), the detailed implementation plan shall be submitted to the Board as soon as possible, but no later than six (6) months after the adoption of this resolution. The implementation plan should contain a realistic timeline for the implementation, a definition of desired outcomes, an explanation of how the implementation addresses underlying issues identified in the final report, and a way to measure current state as well as progress toward the desired outcome. The working group shall also work with the ICANN organization to include expected budgetary implications for each of the implementation steps into its detailed implementation plan. The implementation plan shall incorporate a phased approach that allows for easy-to-implement and least costly improvements to be implemented first, with those items with more significant budget implications to be addressed later in the implementation process.

Resolved (2019.05.03.21), the Board directs the RSSAC Review implementation working group to oversee the implementation process, once the Board has accepted the detailed implementation plan. Any budgetary requests resulting from the implementation shall be made in line with the ICANN organization's annual budgeting processes.

Resolved (2019.05.03.22), the Board directs the RSSAC review implementation working group to provide the OEC with implementation reports every six (6) months on progress against the implementation plan, including, but not limited to, progress toward metrics detailed in the implementation plan and use of allocated budget.

Resolved (2019.05.03.23), the Board directs the ICANN President and CEO, or his designee(s), to publish for public comment the proposed amendments to Article 12, Section 2C of the ICANN Bylaws that reflect the changes to the RSSAC leadership structure.

Rationale for Resolution: 

Why is the Board addressing the issue?

To ensure ICANN's multistakeholder model remains transparent and accountable, and to improve its performance, ICANN conducts Organizational Reviews of its Supporting Organizations, Advisory Committees (other than the Governmental Advisory Committee) and the Nominating Committee, as prescribed in Article 4, Section 4.4 of its Bylaws. The second RSSAC Review commenced in September 2017. The independent examiner conducting the review produced a final report that was published in July 2018. The RSSAC Review Work Party, based on its detailed review of the independent examiner's final report, prepared its Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan.

Independent Examination

Interisle Consulting Group, LLC was appointed as the independent examiner for the RSSAC Review in September 2017, in accordance with ICANN's procurement process that involved ICANN organization personnel and the Organizational Effectiveness Committee of the Board (OEC), which is responsible for overseeing the organizational review process. During its work, Interisle reviewed relevant documentation, conducted 48 interviews with members of the RSSAC, the wider ICANN community, the ICANN Board and the ICANN organization, and gathered 39 individual responses to its online survey. In addition, Interisle held regular meetings with the RSSAC Review Work Party throughout the review, including public meetings at ICANN61 and ICANN62. A draft final report was published for public comment, following the standard ICANN process. Interisle hosted a community webinar on the draft final report.

The RSSAC Review Work Party provided direct feedback to Interisle on initial drafts of the draft assessment report and the draft final report. Interisle considered the feedback and incorporated those elements that it deemed appropriate based on its independent role and professional judgement.

On 10 July 2018, Interisle published its final report. The final report included a narrative of underlying issues identified by the independent examiner, and six (6) principal recommendations and nine (9) supplementary recommendations designed by the independent examiner as proposals to address those issues.

RSSAC Review Work Party/RSSAC Input

The RSSAC raised concerns about the scope and factual correctness of some of the findings in the independent examiner's assessment report, as well as the tone related to public opinion and quotes used in the report (see RSSAC032).

The RSSAC was critical of the draft final report. Notably, the RSSAC raised concerns about the scope, framing and transparency of the review, and the scope of a number of recommendations although it welcomed some recommendations, in particular those related to the RSSAC Caucus (see RSSAC036).

In its Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan, the RSSAC Review Work Party agreed with some of the issues raised in the final report but noted its concerns with two (2) principal recommendations and six (6) supplementary recommendations. The RSSAC Review Work Party provided a detailed rational of its concerns in the Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan.

Input from ICANN Community

In addition to the responses collected by Interisle through interviews and online surveys and through the public consultation on the assessment report, during the public comment on the draft final report, eight (8) comments were submitted; two (2) authored by individual contributors, and six (6) by organizations, including the RSSAC (see summary report of public comment proceeding).

Outside of the RSSAC, other contributors to the public comment proceeding from the ICANN community were less critical of the draft final report, particularly welcoming recommendations pertaining to modifying RSSAC membership criteria. For example, the Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group noted that: "we firmly support diversity in the operation and membership of RSSAC in an open and transparent manner." The Business Constituency (BC) noted: "[t]he BC agrees with the recommendation that RSSAC membership be opened to non-RSO anycast instance providers, and to public DNS resolvers and provisioning side interested parties such as TLD registries and the ccNSO. This would foster diversity and enrich the depth of its advice to ICANN Board."

OEC and Board Considerations and Actions

The OEC, as the ICANN Board committee overseeing organizational reviews, reviewed all relevant documents pertaining to the RSSAC review in detail. Specifically, it considered the final report and the Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan and received presentations and input from the independent examiner and the RSSAC Review Work Party, respectively.

The Board notes the concerns raised during the public comment on the draft final report, and in the Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan. The OEC reached out to the RSSAC Review Work Party Co-Chairs, asking for clarification regarding the RSSAC Review Work Party's response to the independent examiner's findings 1 and 1a, as detailed in the Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan.

The RSSAC Review Work Party Co-Chairs replied to the OEC, reiterating that the RSSAC Review Work Party does not support the independent examiner's findings 1 and 1a, as detailed the final report. The Co-Chairs added that the RSSAC membership model has become much more diverse as a result of the RSSAC Caucus model, which in turn introduced as a result of the first RSSAC review.

Having considered the RSSAC position, the Board believes that the RSSAC has demonstrated accountability and transparency in this organizational review process. Furthermore, the Board believes that the Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan provides an appropriate response to the issues raised by the independent examiner during the review. Implementing the RSSAC Review Work Party-proposed improvements will be a significant step in assuring the post-review RSSAC is able and capable to fulfil its Bylaws-mandated role and responsibilities.

In order to confirm that the RSSAC proceeds appropriately, the Board is directing the RSSAC to convene an implementation working group to provide it with an expanded implementation plan, including a concise overview of the current state for each of the RSSAC Review Work Party's implementation proposals, a clearly defined goal of the implementation objectives, appropriate implementation costing, prioritization and resource implications, and a methodology of how to measure implementation progress on an ongoing basis. The Board believes that these metrics will help ensure an accountable and transparent implementation process, leading to meaningful, budget-conscious improvements to further enhance the RSSAC's crucial role of advising the ICANN Board and community on matters relating to the operation, administration, security, and integrity of the root server system, as outlined in its charter from the ICANN Bylaws.

Generally, the Board notes the importance of the organizational review process, as defined in Bylaws Section 4.4. The OEC and the ICANN organization implemented some changes to the organizational review process for all reviews convened after the second At-Large Review: Organizational reviews now consist of two phases, with the first phase focusing solely on an assessment of the entity under review. The second phase, which begins once substantial agreement is reached on the assessment between the independent examiner and the entity under review, then focuses on developing recommendations for improvements. This two-phased approach helps bolster the organizational review process and the accountability of the organizations under review.

The Board notes the concerns raised by the RSSAC regarding the Organizational Reviews process generally, and its five (5) recommendations regarding future Organizational Reviews (see RSSAC041).

The organizational review process is an iterative process and the Board hopes that all parts of the ICANN community will continue to work productively to understand the unique roles and viewpoints that each SO/AC brings to ICANN, to its policy development work and cross-community efforts, and we look forward to the next iteration of reviews to continue refinement and process improvement.

What is the proposal being considered?

The proposal being considered is for the Board to accept the independent examiner's final report and the Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan. The Board is also to direct the RSSAC to convene an implementation working group to draft a detailed implementation plan, to oversee the implementation of the recommendations as detailed in the RSSAC Review Work Party in its Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan, and to submit every six (6) months a written report to the OEC detailing the implementation progress.

The Board is also considering initiating the standard Bylaws amendment process through directing the posting of Bylaws amendments for public comment. These Bylaws amendments address some of the findings from the final report and have been identified by the RSSAC as important to have in place for its implementation efforts.

What significant materials did the Board review?

The Board has considered the relevant Bylaws provisions, the independent examiner's final report, the RSSAC Review Work Party's Feasibility Assessment and Initial Implementation Plan, and community feedback on the independent examiner's assessment report and draft final report, and took onboard the OEC's considerations in making this recommendation.

Are there positive or negative community impacts?

This Board action is expected to have a positive impact on the community as it supports the continuing process of facilitating periodic review of ICANN's Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees, as mandated the Bylaws. Moreover, the implementation of the recommendation will lead to improved transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of the RSSAC.

The posting for public comment of the proposed Bylaws amendments is expected to have a positive community impact, as the RSSAC has identified its hope that the Bylaws amendment process can be completed in advance of its next leadership selection cycle, to allow the improvements to be implemented more expeditiously.

Are there fiscal impacts or ramifications on ICANN (strategic plan, operating plan, budget); the community; and/or the public?

This Board action may have fiscal implications, which will be catalogued in the forthcoming detailed implementation plan, which in itself will be subject to a future Board consideration. The detailed implementation plan shall outline how any budgetary requirements are going to be incorporated into future ICANN budgeting cycles.

Are there any security, stability or resiliency issues relating to the DNS?

This Board action is not expected to have a direct effect on security, stability or resiliency issues relating to the DNS.

How is this action within ICANN's mission and what is the public interest served in this action?

The Board's action is consistent with ICANN's commitment pursuant to section 4 of the Bylaws to ensure ICANN's multistakeholder model remains transparent and accountable, and to improve the performance of its supporting organizations and advisory committees.

This action will serve the public interest by fulfilling ICANN's commitment to maintaining and improving its accountability and transparency.

Is public comment required prior to Board action?

The independent examiner's draft final report was published for public comment. No additional public comment prior to Board action is required.