Draft Recommendation 10
That a professional facilitator/moderator is used in certain situations (for example, when policy issues are complex, where members of the WG are generally inexperienced and/or where WG members have interests that conflict), and that the GNSO develop guidelines for the circumstances in which professional facilitators/moderators are used for Working Groups.
|Working Party (initial assessment of feasibility and usefulness):||CG - Accept as is.|
|Staff (initial assessment of feasibility and usefulness):|
MK: Accept with modification. It should probably be made clear that this is a determination that the GNSO Council is expected to make (whether or not a professional facilitator/moderator is used). Note also potential budget implications. It is also worth mentioning that there is currently a pilot program ongoing that assesses the effectiveness of the use of a professional facilitator / moderator. The results of this pilot should also be factored into this recommendation.
|Basis for Assessment:|
|Work in Progress:||GNSO F2F Facilitated PDP WG meeting pilot project FY15, FY16|
|Expected Completion Date for Work in Progress:||Pilot continued for FY16|
Public Comments Received
Recommendation 10 (Continuous Development): That a professional facilitator/moderator is used in certain situations (for example, when policy issues are complex, where members of the WG are generally inexperienced and/or where WG members have interests that conflict), and that the GNSO develop guidelines for the circumstances in which professional facilitators/moderators are used for Working Groups.
(Not Sure) Defining and agreeing the criteria to be applied would be essential here. The ISPCP have concerns that enlisting a professional facilitator whenever policy issues are complex opens the door far too wide, as the majority of policy work within the GNSO has a fairly high degree of complexity. The recent activities regarding the IANA transition exemplifies the need for experienced people to lead in complex areas. We think that the emphasis should be in developing facilitation/moderation/leadership skills and not shopping int the “professional” marketplace as an alternative.
If adopted would add greater accountability to the policy development process, increase metricsdriven policy decisions, and increase the efficacy of the process by leveraging the services of professional moderators, especially in circumstances where working group members may be conflicted. Additionally, we believe it is crucial that the GAC be involved earlier in the process.
Laura Covington, J. Scott Evans, Marie Pattullo
The BC also notes with interest Recommendation 10. The BC agrees professional facilitators may provide either subject matter expertise or experience in getting participants to reach consensus. However, the decision to use an outside facilitator or moderator should rest with the GNSO Council, as Policy Development manager, and the working group in question should have the opportunity to provide input on the selection of the facilitator or moderator.
We have already commented on this option. There is almost always some conflict in working groups. There are several issues associated with independent facilitators: 1. To whom do they report? 2. How do they manage to get the background necessary to understand the issues properly? 3. If the role is simply more proactive dispute resolution, than perhaps the best thing to do is to bring them in as neutral adjuncts in a regular working group process.
(It Depends) We note that the professional mediator retained by ICANN for the Privacy and Proxy Services Accreditation Working Group face-to-face meeting in Los Angeles during ICANN 51 (as noted and relied on in the Report) in fact fell ill and was unable to attend. The role was filled on an ad hoc basis by a regular community participant with experience in mediation. Moreover, that particular Working Group was not then embroiled in the complex and controversial issues it recently sought public comment on in its Initial Report. Accordingly, we have little direct experience on which to base any evaluation of the usefulness of professional facilitators in the WG process.
I have not had first-hand experience with a professional facilitator/moderator, but find that the Westlake concern stated in section 5.4.1 on page 57: “The Westlake Review Team considers that an experienced independent chair is the preferred option because, as a full member of the WG, they will be seen to be working within the WG and have incentives to complete the process in a timely manner. An independent paid facilitator may have no such incentive – indeed they may benefit personally from prolonging the process.” to be a reasonable concern.
(Support) Although there are some very knowledgeable Community volunteers able to chair practically any Working Group as fairly as possible, this recommendation is important due to the potential conflict of interests among Working Group members. It is particularly applicable where the Public Interest and User issues are pitted against the interests of Contracted Parties who tend to have far more participants in WGs. A professional facilitator/moderator should be used only if he/she has the skills and experience needed to run a GNSO Working Group and would not be seen as a hindrance to consensus-reaching by Working Group members.