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Review Of .AU Finds It Is Working Well, But Room For Improvement

auDA logoThe .au policy and regulatory body auDA engaged consultants to review the governance for .au in 2011, and is now working to introduce changes recommended or undertaking further consultations in the case of the future of its foundation.

The review was undertaken by Westlake Consulting Ltd who has undertaken reviews of a number of Advisory Committees of ICANN, InternetNZ (the .nz administrator) and others, and who engaged former ICANN CEO and President, Dr Paul Twomey, to provide additional input and expertise.

The report produced found auDA’s operational model is regarded as working well but that relationships with some of its key stakeholder groups could be enhanced. There were also some minor changes recommended to auDA’s Accountability & Transparency, its relationship with the Commonwealth Government and its governance.

The next steps have been divided into three categories that involve taking a number of recommendations to the organisation’s membership for approval, considering recommendations regarding the Foundation in conjunction with an internal review currently underway and for the majority of the recommendations, instructing staff to prepare an implementation plan.

For the auDA announcement on the outcomes of the review, see below:

Outcomes of the Independent Review into the Governance of .au – Further Information

Download copy of WCL report here.

In December 2010, the auDA Board decided that, after 11 years of operation, it would be appropriate, timely, and of benefit to the organisation to consider possible refinements to ensure auDA remains transparent, effective and accountable to its stakeholders.

auDA has always sought to maintain world’s best practice in the management of Australia’s .au domain space and, to this end, the Board sought to engage independent reviewers to interview stakeholders, benchmark auDA’s activities against international counterparts and deliver a report and recommendations that would help auDA achieve this goal.

In April 2011, the auDA Board appointed Westlake Consulting Ltd (WCL) to undertake the project. WCL is a governance advisory firm which works internationally and has undertaken reviews of a number of Advisory Committees of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), InternetNZ (the .nz administrator), as well as for a number of New Zealand Government agencies and NGOs. The WCL team was led by Richard Westlake (Managing Director) and Vaughan Renner and engaged former ICANN CEO and President, Dr Paul Twomey, to provide additional input and expertise.

The review consisted of three phases:

1. Information-gathering, including:

  • An extensive review of relevant documentation, covering auDA, administrators of several other Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs), ICANN and other related subjects;
  • Attending one full auDA Board meeting and part of another;
  • Conducting interviews with about 60 people, mainly Australian-based stakeholders and some directors and staff of auDA, but also other ccTLD managers and others at the ICANN meeting in June 2011; and
  • Running an online survey, which was publicised through the auDA website and which generated 83 individual responses.

2. Analysis of the extensive amount of information gathered, drawing conclusions and composing recommendations.

3. Presentation of findings and recommendations at the auDA Board meeting in October 2011, and preparing and submitting a final, full report.

The review’s overall conclusions were that:

  • auDA’s operational model is regarded as working well, especially when benchmarked against international comparators: since auDA began managing the .au domain, the Internet in Australia has never failed;
  • Although auDA is generally well respected, relationships with some of its key stakeholder groups could be enhanced;
  • No fundamental changes to the governance of the .au domain or auDA’s structure is necessary, but several changes were recommended that the reviewers consider will address identified issues, mainly in the areas of:
    • auDA’s Accountability & Transparency;
    • auDA’s Relationship with the Commonwealth Government; and
    • The Governance of auDA.

The auDA Board received WCL’s Final, 103-page Report on 8 December and it was discussed at the Board’s meeting on 12 December. The full report can be found here.

Overall, the Board was very pleased with the thoroughness and consultative nature of the review process, the diligence and independence of the reviewers, and the comprehensive and accurate nature of their observations and resultant recommendations.

auDA’s response to the recommendations can be divided in to three categories:

1. Recommendations requiring member voting and approval. These recommendations (11 and 12, in the Final Report) propose amendments to auDA’s operating structure and Constitution. Staff, with appropriate legal advice, will develop a briefing on procedural requirements for, and consequences of, implementing those recommendations to be considered by the Board in February.

2. Recommendations regarding the auDA Foundation. While auDA welcomes the review’s recommendations regarding the future structure and operations of the auDA Foundation, it is also important to note that an internal review on this topic is already underway. The auDA Board will consider the observations and recommendations of both review processes, once the internal review is completed.

3. In respect to the balance of the 15 recommendations, the Board has instructed auDA staff to prepare an implementation plan that the Board will consider in February.

Additional information on the review and implementation process, and the Board’s decisions, will be posted following the February meeting.

The above announcement was sourced from: