Why is there an At-Large Review?

Section 4.4(a) of ICANN’s Bylaws require that its structures, including the At-Large, be reviewed on a five-year cycle.  According to the Bylaws, the goal of the review is “to determine (i) whether that organization has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure, and (ii) if so, whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness.”

This review is part of ICANN’s commitment to continuous improvement, accountability and transparency.  It uses mechanisms and measures to maintain public confidence in the viability, reliability and accountability of ICANN.

The At-Large Review uses a new, improved approach to conducting reviews.  It will inform the work on evolving ICANN’s Review Framework, as part of the broader accountability discussion.

What is the scope of the At-Large Review?

Based on direction from the Board, the current review comprises an examination of At-Large’s organizational effectiveness in accordance with the ICANN-provided objectives and quantifiable criteria. The Organizational Effectiveness Committee of the Board (OEC) is responsible for the oversight of ICANN’s organizational reviews.

The review will focus on addressing areas such as purpose of the organization; its processes and means of conducting its work; and its outcomes.  The operations of the At-Large Working Groups, the At-Large Council, the Regional At-Large Organizations and the At-Large Structures will also be evaluated.  Review criteria include but are not limited to the following areas, to be applied to At-Large Community components (ALAC, RALOs and ALSes):

  • Fulfilment  of mission, adherence to Policies and Procedures,  and organizational support
  • Accountability and transparency to the public
  • Membership processes and participation
  • Communication
  • Governance and management, effectiveness of execution
  • Evaluation and measurement of outcomes
  • Effectiveness of implementation of prior review recommendations

The review and its requirements will be managed in a clear and scheduled process, empowering the At-Large and broader community to be a part of the solution and improvement efforts.

The current review also will include an assessment of the effectiveness of structural changes that resulted from the last review, as it relates to the organizational effectiveness of the At-Large.

Community surveys and interviews will provide the community with an opportunity to express their position on the At-Large structure.

What role does the Organizational Effectiveness Committee of the Board play in the At-Large Review?

The Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) of the ICANN Board is responsible for the review and oversight of policies relating to ICANN’s ongoing organizational review process, as mandated by Section 4.4(a) of ICANN’s Bylaws (Periodic Review of ICANN Structure and Operations).  For more information, see the Charter of the OEC.  In addition to providing oversight, the OEC confirms the Independent Examiner, accepts the final report and implementation plan and prepares recommendations for Board action. 

What is the At-Large Review Working Party and what is its role?

The Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) of the Board has requested that an At-Large Review Working Party be assembled to act as a liaison between the At-Large, the Independent Examiner and the OEC.  The Working Party will also provide input on review criteria and a community survey, coordinate interviews, and objectively supply clarification and responses to the draft findings and recommendations.  Once the final report is issued and the Board takes action on it, the At-Large Review Working Party is expected to coordinate with the At-Large community to prepare an Implementation Plan and champion implementation of improvement activities.

The membership of the At-Large Review Working Party represents the diversity of the At-Large community.  The activities of the At-Large Review Working Party are conducted in an open and fully transparent manner.  Contact atlarge-review-wp@atlarge-lists.icann.org for more information.  See activities of the At-Large Review Working Party on their wiki.

Who will perform the Review?

While an Independent Examiner will perform the review, the At-Large community also has an important role: performing a self-assessment, providing direct input to the community survey and participating in interviews, and implementing improvements.

How will the Independent Examiner be selected?

The selection of an Independent Examiner is done in accordance with the process originally outlined in Systematization of Organizational Reviews Processes and ICANN’s procurement policy.  The process has been adjusted to include continuous process improvements and lessons learned.  The selection involves Organizational Review and Procurement staff and the Organizational Effectiveness Committee of the Board (OEC).  A competitive bidding process was launched on 5 January 2016 with an open Request for Proposal for the Independent Review of the At-Large Community.  Submitted proposals were carefully evaluated and the results and scores were presented for consideration and action by the OEC.

In connection with the open competitive bidding process used to select the independent examiner, the proposals were reviewed and evaluated for all data responsive to the RFP, not just the low bid.  Prices was one of many considerations.  Once all bids were evaluated, the Independent Examiner was selected as the most qualified consultant relative to, but not limited to, the following high-level selection criteria:

  • Understanding of the assignment
  • Knowledge and expertise
    • Demonstrated experience in conducting broadly similar examinations
    • Not-for-profit experience
    • Basic knowledge of ICANN
    • Geographic and cultural diversity, multilingualism, gender balance
    • Suitability of proposed CVs
  • Proposed methodology
    • Work organization, project management approach, and timelines
    • Suitability of tools and methods or work
    • Clarity of deliverables
  • Flexibility, including but not limited to meeting the timeline
  • Reference checks
  • Financial value
  • Conflict of Interest

Who has been selected as the Independent Examiner?

ITEMS International was selected as the independent examiner on 13 May 2016.  Further information on ITEMS International can be found here.

What is the Review methodology?

The methodology used for the At-Large Review will follow best practices and professional standards for independence, proficiency and due professional care.  Information will be collected through a variety of means: an online community survey with quantitative and qualitative aspects, one-on-one interviews, desk review of documents, and in-person observations during ICANN meetings.  Additionally, it is expected that the Independent Examiner will participate in a majority of the At-Large Review Working Party calls and public sessions to be held at ICANN56 and ICANN57 and will consider any feedback provided by the At-Large Review Working Party as well as by others through the formal public comment process and other feedback mechanisms.

How can individuals and groups within the At-Large structure get involved?

You can get involved in a variety of ways.  For groups, each At-Large regional organization has designated a representative to join the At-Large Review Working Party.  Other regional constituencies interested in joining the At-Large Review Working Party can appoint an observer.

Any interested individual is invited to provide direct input to the At-Large Review Working Party by contacting atlarge-review-wp@atlarge-lists.icann.org and/or by participating in the community survey.

What is the Community Survey and how will it be used?

A new component within the organizational review, the community survey is designed to gather data for the Independent Examiner to use in the At-Large Review process and may inform At-Large self-improvement efforts.  This online tool will collect feedback from the At-Large community, other ICANN structures and community members, the Board and staff. The community survey questions will be developed based on criteria used for the overall At-Large Review.

It is anticipated that the community survey will be launched in July/August 2016 by a public announcement inviting all interested individuals to participate.

The community survey will be formulated and implemented by the Independent Examiner.  The At-Large Review Working Party will provide extensive feedback on the design and the questions.  However, the actual community survey will be conducted by the Independent Examiner with support from staff.  The Independent Examiner will use the feedback provided by the At-Large Review Working Party and other community members to formulate the community survey, ensuring that this tool collects adequate information from a broad group of people to meet the needs of data gathering for their review work.  The data collected via the community survey will be summarized and analyzed by the Independent Examiner, and used as input into their review work and output.

What happens to the information submitted as part of the Community Survey?

The Independent Examiner will develop and manage the community survey as an important component of the full review.  The Independent Examiner will collate, analyze and summarize all responses, and will supplement the assessment survey with other methods of data collection including a review of documents and one-on-one interviews.

Individual responses will not be made available publicly.  Input will remain confidential to the Independent Examiner.  Additional information about privacy will be provided in the instructions accompanying the community survey.

What methods will the Independent Examiner use to collect data and information?

The Independent Examiner may use the following methods to gather information:

  • Examination of available documentation, records, and reports;
  • Outcomes from the community survey, an online mechanism to collect and summarize feedback from members of the At-Large structure, interested members from the ICANN community and other structures, members of the Board and staff;
  • Limited interviews, as needed.

The review methodology will involve collection of both quantitative and qualitative data to provide the Independent Examiner with a sufficient basis for formulating findings and recommendations.  It is anticipated that the online community survey will have places for free-form feedback in addition to collecting structured responses.  The Independent Examiner will conduct one-on-one interviews to supplement information gathered through the community survey and review of documents as necessary.

How will individuals be selected for interviews with the Independent Examiner?

One-on-one interviews will be used to supplement other means of gathering information.  Candidates for the interviews will be selected based on input and recommendations from the At-Large Review Working Party.  Additional interviewees may be selected from individuals responding to the community survey.

What happens when the Independent Examiner completes the Review?

Once the Independent Examiner collects sufficient information and formulates its analysis and preliminary findings, it will engage with the At-Large Working Party to validate the accuracy and completeness of findings and the usefulness and feasibility of draft recommendations.  The Draft Report, reflecting clarification and responses from the At-Large, will be published for public comment.  The report will be updated to reflect public comments and subsequently published in its final form.  The Final Report, along with public comments, will be considered by the Board.  After the Board takes action and accepts the report, the implementation phase will begin.

What is the estimated timeline for the At-Large Review?

Please see the chart below for key dates proposed for the At-Large Review.

November 2015 - April 2016:

Conduct RFP

May 2016:

Appointment of Independent Examiner

May 2016:

Independent Examiner starts Review

May – August 2016:

Document review

June 2016:

ICANN56 (independent examiner attends)

June – July 2016:

Independent examiner conducts interviews

July – August 2016:

Community survey open for participation

September 2016:

Preliminary Findings for discussion with Working Party

November 2016:

Draft Report for WP consideration

October 2016:

ICANN57 (independent examiner attends)

December 2016:

Draft Report for Public Comment

February 2017:

Final Report for WP consideration

March 2017:

Final Report published

Dates represent best estimates at the time the FAQs were updated and may change.

How will we know whether the recommendations made a difference?

The impact of implemented improvements will be tracked, measured and reported.  In addition, all ICANN community members will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the implemented improvements through the community survey, which is expected to become a standard part of the organizational review process. 

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