ICANN's Board Governance Committee (BGC) approved a proposed plan for the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) review, and ICANN's Board agreed and directed staff to post proposed Terms of Reference for public comments.
Proposed Terms of Reference
Review of the ALAC will be conducted in an objective way by an entity or entities independent of it, under guidance from the Board on the Review's Terms of Reference. The results of the Review shall be posted for public review and comment, and shall be considered by the Board not later than its second scheduled meeting after being posted for 30 days. ICANN's bylaws require that Supporting Organisations, Councils and Advisory Committees be independently reviewed. As provided in the Bylaws, consideration by the Board includes the ability to revise the structure or operation of the ALAC by a two-thirds vote of all members.
Recognizing that the ALAC and the global At-Large infrastructure that includes "Regional At-Large Organizations" and groups certified as "At-Large Structures" are interconnected, the Review will address all of these elements of At-Large involvement in ICANN. There are several important questions that the Review should address, which are listed below. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, particularly as the initial results of the Review may suggest related questions that should also be answered.
A. Scope of Review
In accordance with Article IV, Section 4, Clause 1 of ICANN bylaws, the review of the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) is designed to determine:
Whether the organization has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure; and
If so, whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness.
Both of these questions should be answered as comprehensively as possible, taking into account the rationale for the ALAC and its functioning so far. Key questions that the Review should consider are indicated below. As noted above, this list is not intended to be exhaustive, particularly as the initial results of the Review may suggest related questions that should also be answered. It will be important to consider the questions from different perspectives relevant to the ALAC, including the views of individual Internet users, the ALSs, the RALOs, past and current members of the ALAC, and many others within (and perhaps outside of) the ICANN community.
B. Rationale for the ALAC
The rationale for the ALAC, as described in Article XI, Section 2, 4(a) of the Bylaws, is "to consider and provide advice on the activities of ICANN, insofar as they relate to the interests of individual Internet users."
PART I. Does the ALAC have a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure?
What purpose does the ALAC serve?
Why should an ALS seek certification and work to create a RALO?
Why should an individual Internet user seek to participate in the ICANN process through the ALAC?
To what extent has the ALAC provided advice on the activities of ICANN insofar as they relate to the interests of individual Internet users?
Are these interests different than the interests represented by other parts of the ICANN structure?
How does the ALAC determine what advice to provide on particular ICANN activities?
Are individual Internet users appropriately represented by an advisory committee to the Board, and the ALAC specifically?
What should be the purpose of the ALAC going forward?
What other ways might exist to provide advice on ICANN activities from the perspective of individual Internet users?
Is it appropriate, as recommended by the LSE GNSO Review, to combine the At-Large community and the Non-Commercial Users Constituency in one GNSO constituency?
What are the current benefits, drawbacks and costs of the ALAC and the At-Large structure?
What are the benefits, drawbacks and costs of these other options?
PART II. Is there any change in structure or operations that could improve the ALAC's effectiveness?
Are the criteria for certifying ALSs and creating RALOs sufficient?
How many ALSs have been certified, and how does this level compare to expectations and goals? Are there identifiable trends among entities that have been certified (e.g., ISOC chapters)? Are there identifiable trends among entities that have not been certified?
Why are all RALOs not yet established? Are those that have been established structured and supported in a way that will enable them to fulfill the responsibilities described in the bylaws?
To what extent do the ALAC's three different levels - ALSs, RALOs and the ALAC itself - provide advice on ICANN activities? Does this advice ever conflict?
Should any of these three structural levels be changed and, if so, how?
Given that the ALAC has more voting representatives on the Nominating Committee than any other ICANN structure (five out of 17 - almost 30%), what has been the ALAC's impact on the selection of persons for ICANN leadership positions?
To what extent have the ALAC's Liaisons to the Board, the GNSO Council and the ccNSO Council provided advice on ICANN policy and activities? Do non-voting liaison seats on the Board and Councils, and non-voting seats on policy Task Forces, provide sufficient input and representation for the At-Large community?
How do the At-Large Liaisons ensure that their advice to the Board and Councils reflect ALAC and At-Large community views? To what extent are the Liaisons conduits for information to and from the At-Large community and the Councils on which they served?
Do the members of the Interim ALAC, and those selected (or elected) already by RALOs, indeed reflect the interests of individual Internet users?
What is the optimal size of the ALAC to be effective?
Are members of the ALAC chosen in a transparent way?
Have members of the ALAC had the skills needed to conduct their work effectively?
What should be the role of the Chair of the ALAC, and how should that person be selected?
Should the ALAC have other officers?
Are the ALAC's procedures sufficient to guide all aspects of its work?
To what extent are the ALAC's decisions and actions consistent with its procedures?
How are decisions made regarding certification of ALSs and RALOs?
Are certification decisions subject to review and, if so, how?
To what extent have the recommendations of the Ombudsman been followed?
How can the ALAC's procedures, decisions and actions be made more transparent?
How have any actual or potential conflicts of interest between the ALAC members and candidates for ALS status been resolved?
Are safeguards in place to identify and address potential or actual conflicts of interest?
What kind of support has ICANN provided to the ALAC, and is this level appropriate?
Do members of the ALAC community believe they have the information needed to make informed decisions, in a language they can understand?
How are decisions made regarding ALAC positions, recommendations, resolutions, and other input provided to the Board, the GNSO and other ICANN entities?
How does the ALAC ensure the involvement of ALSs and RALOs in making decisions regarding policy advice, and that their advice reflects the views of the At-Large community?
What is the aim of At-Large outreach?
How effective has outreach been in recruiting ALSs and establishing RALOs?
How effective have online tools, include websites, wikis, blogs, and email forums been in outreach to the At-Large community?
Has outreach at ICANN meetings and Internet-related events had a discernable impact on the informed participation of the At-Large community?
What are the annual costs of the ALAC process?
Has the ALAC had the resources necessary to accomplish its tasks?
What other general or specific measures could enhance its effectiveness?
What, if any, are the cost implications of such measures?