ICANN today [13 Dec] published three reports on the review of the Community Priority Evaluation (CPE) process (the CPE Process Review). The CPE Process Review was initiated at the request of the ICANN Board as part of the Board’s due diligence in the administration of the CPE process. The CPE Process Review was conducted by FTI Consulting Inc.’s (FTI) Global Risk and Investigations Practice (GRIP) and Technology Practice, and consisted of three parts: (i) reviewing the process by which the ICANN organization interacted with the CPE Provider related to the CPE reports issued by the CPE Provider (Scope 1); (ii) an evaluation of whether the CPE criteria were applied consistently throughout each CPE report (Scope 2); and (iii) a compilation of the reference material relied upon by the CPE Provider to the extent such reference material exists for the eight evaluations which are the subject of pending Reconsideration Requests that were pending at the time that ICANN initiated the CPE Process Review (Scope 3).
FTI concluded that “there is no evidence that the ICANN organization had any undue influence on the CPE Provider with respect to the CPE reports issued by the CPE Provider or engaged in any impropriety in the CPE process” (Scope 1) and that “the CPE Provider consistently applied the criteria set forth in the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook [ ] and the CPE Guidelines throughout each CPE” (Scope 2). (See Scope 1 report [PDF, 159 KB], Pg. 3; Scope 2 report [PDF, 312 KB], Pg. 3.)
For Scope 3, FTI observed that two of the eight relevant CPE reports included a citation in the report for each reference to research. In the remaining six reports, FTI observed instances where the CPE Provider referenced research but did not include the corresponding citations in the reports. Except for one evaluation, FTI observed that the working papers underlying the reports contained material that corresponded with the research referenced in the CPE reports. In one instance, FTI did not find that the working papers underlying the relevant report contained citation that corresponded with the research referenced in the CPE report. However, based on FTI’s observations, it is possible that the research being referenced was cited in the CPE Provider’s working papers underlying the first evaluation of that application. (See Scope 3 report [PDF, 309 KB], Pg. 4.) The findings will be considered by the Board Accountability Mechanisms Committee (BAMC) when the BAMC reviews the remaining pending Reconsideration Requests as part of the Reconsideration process.
“The Board appreciates the community’s patience during this detailed investigation, which has provided greater transparency into the CPE evaluation process,” said Cherine Chalaby, Chairman of the ICANN Board. “Further, this CPE Process Review and due diligence has provided additional facts and information that outline and document the ICANN organization’s interaction with the CPE Provider.”
For more information about the CPE process and the CPE Process Review, please visit https://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/cpe.
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