Recommendations to Improve ICANN Staff Accountability

Brief Overview

ICANN logoPurpose: This Public Comment seeks community input on the CCWG-Accountability Work Stream 2 (WS2) draft recommendations on ICANN Staff Accountability. These draft recommendations were developed by the CCWG-Accountability as required by Annex 12 of the final report of the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability, Work Stream 1 (CCWG-Accountability, WS1).

Current Status: The CCWG-Accountability reviewed these draft recommendations at its 11 October 2017 plenary meeting and approved their publication to gather public comments.

Next Steps: Following the public comment period the inputs will be analyzed by the CCWG-Accountability WS2 who will consider amending the recommendations in light of the comments received and will publish a report on the results of the public consultation. If significant changes are required as a result of the public consultation the CCWG-Accountability WS2 may decide to not include these recommendations in its final report given it must complete its work by June 2018. If there are no significant changes required, the CCWG-Accountability WS2 will include these in its final report and forward it to its Chartering Organizations for approval and then to the ICANN Board for consideration and adoption.

Section I: Description and Explanation

The CCWG-Accountability-WS2 on ICANN Staff Accountability project obtains its mandate and scope from ICANN bylaws and the CCWG-Accountability, WS1 Final report which included Recommendation 12 the following:

As part of Work Stream 2, the CCWG-Accountability proposes that further enhancements be made to a number of designated mechanisms:

  • Staff Accountability

Annex 12, which details Recommendation 12, also included the following recommendations with regards to Staff Accountability:

In general, management and staff work for the benefit of the community and in line with ICANN‘ purpose and Mission. While it is obvious that they report to and are held accountable by the Board and the President & CEO, the purpose of their accountability is the same as that of the organization:

  • Complying with ICANN‘s rules and processes.
  • Complying with applicable Bylaws.
  • Achieving certain levels of performance, as well as security.
  • Making their decisions for the benefit of the community and not in the interest of a particular stakeholder or set of stakeholders or ICANN the organization alone.

Having reviewed and inventoried the existing mechanisms related to staff accountability, areas for improvement include clarifying expectations from staff as well as establishing appropriate redress mechanisms. The CCWG-Accountability recommends as part of its Work Stream 2:

  • The CCWG-Accountability work with ICANN to develop a document that clearly describes the role of ICANN staff vis-à-vis the ICANN Board and the ICANN community. This document should include a general description of the powers vested in ICANN staff by the ICANN Board of Directors that need, and do not need, approval of the ICANN Board of Directors.
  • The CCWG-Accountability work with ICANN to consider a Code of Conduct, transparency criteria, training, and key performance indicators to be followed by staff in relation to their interactions with all stakeholders, establish regular independent (internal and community) surveys and audits to track progress and identify areas that need improvement, and establish appropriate processes to escalate issues that enable both community and staff members to raise issues. This work should be linked closely with the Ombudsman enhancement item of Work Stream 2.

Section II: Background

The group adopted the definition of “accountability” used by the board and organization in its development of the board resolution on delegated authorities, passed in November 2016. Accountability in this context is defined, according to the NETmundial multistakeholder statement, as “the existence of mechanisms for independent checks and balances as well as for review and redress.”

The focus of this group was to assess “staff accountability” and performance at the service delivery, departmental, or organizational level, and not at the individual, personnel level.

The group’s work was a combination of problem-centered analysis as well as solution-focused exploration, with the goal of identifying any gaps to address as part of an effort to create a comprehensive system of checks and balances, based on the assessment of tools and systems currently or newly in place. The group considered the roles and responsibilities of ICANN‘s Board, staff and community members and the links between them, sought input on issues or challenges relating to staff accountability matters, and assessed existing staff accountability processes in ICANN.

In general, these efforts revealed an extensive accountability system both within ICANN organization as well as in the mechanisms of review and redress afforded the Community, including the Board’s role, the Empowered Community Powers, Complaints Office, and Office of the Ombuds. The group found that many of the issues or concerns identified by the group will benefit from simply making existing mechanisms more transparent. The group has identified a few important changes that will further enhance these accountability mechanisms. The changes proposed are designed to work with existing systems and processes, and to help establish mechanisms to support continuous improvement within the ICANN system.

Section III: Relevant Resources

Section IV: Additional Information

Supporting Documents

Open Date: 13 Nov 2017 23:59 UTC

Close Date: 5 Jan 2018 23:59 UTC

Staff Report Due: 15 Feb 2018 23:59 UTC

This ICANN announcement was sourced from: