[CCWG-ACCT] Regarding Ombudsman function

Chris LaHatte chris.lahatte at icann.org
Tue Jul 21 22:05:33 UTC 2015

I should add for completeness that in the 4 years I have held office, my
budget has never been questioned but accepted without comment. In addition,
although I work with ICANN staff when needed, I have never had any pressure
from staff to do anything. My physical distance ensures I cannot be lobbied
informally but generally I do what I need to do without any interference
from the staff and board. The only limit is the need to report annually, but
in meetings with the board, I have never been given any directions to do
anything or stop doing anything. I agree the bylaws creating the role
certainly need an update and I hope the working party on my role will have
useful input to include any other features considered necessary by the

I am always open for calls and discussions about these issues


Chris LaHatte
Blog  https://omblog.icann.org/
Webpage http://www.icann.org/en/help/ombudsman

All matters brought before the Ombudsman shall be treated as confidential. 
The Ombudsman shall also take all reasonable steps necessary to preserve the
privacy of, and to avoid harm to, those parties not involved in the
complaint being investigated by the Ombudsman.The Ombudsman shall only make
inquiries about, or advise staff or Board members of the existence and
identity of, a complainant in order to further the resolution of the
complaint.  The Ombudsman shall take all reasonable steps necessary to
ensure that if staff and Board members are made aware of the existence and
identity of a complainant, they agree to maintain the confidential nature of
such information, except as necessary to further the resolution of a

-----Original Message-----
From: accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org
[mailto:accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org] On Behalf Of Bruce
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2015 8:37 PM
To: accountability-cross-community at icann.org
Subject: [CCWG-ACCT] Regarding Ombudsman function

Hello Nigel,

>>  1.   The Ombudsman, strengthened or otherwise is not truly independent.

Although the Ombudsman function is reasonably independent of at least the
ICANN staff.

The Board directly approves the budget for the Ombudsman and deals with any
personnel issues.   The Ombudsman puts forward a budget for approval and
runs a separate office (which is currently in New Zealand).   There is no
obligation  to use any ICANN services.

" The annual budget for the Office of Ombudsman shall be established by the
Board as part of the annual ICANN budget process. The Ombudsman shall submit
a proposed budget to the President, and the President shall include that
budget submission in its entirety and without change in the general ICANN
budget recommended by the ICANN President to the Board. Nothing in this
Article shall prevent the President from offering separate views on the
substance, size, or other features of the Ombudsman's proposed budget to the

The Ombudsman also has full rights of inspection of documents and could
publicly report any issues with being given access to documents.

>From the bylaws:

" have the right to have access to (but not to publish if otherwise
confidential) all necessary information and records from ICANN staff and
constituent bodies to enable an informed evaluation of the complaint and to
assist in dispute resolution where feasible (subject only to such
confidentiality obligations as are imposed by the complainant or any
generally applicable confidentiality policies adopted by ICANN)"

>>  2,    The Ombudsman's role is that of mediator

Yes that is correct.

>From the bylaws:

" The charter of the Ombudsman shall be to act as a neutral dispute
resolution practitioner"

Bruce Tonkin

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