[atrt2] Preliminary Staff Assessment/Response to ATRT2 Draft Recommendations

Denise Michel denise.michel at icann.org
Sat Dec 7 00:14:21 UTC 2013

Dear Alan,

Thank you for your email. The initial staff responses are intended to be
constructive (not negative) and to help improve the final report and
implementation of adopted recommendations.  I hope ATRT2 members will
consider them in this context.

Staff previously had committed to provide this input by Dec. 9 and
submitted it earlier given the tight timeline ATRT2 is using. Staff’s
response is reflective of the extensive scope of the ATRT2 work, analysis
and draft recommendations, and involved about 20 staff from 9 departments.
In order to properly consider feasibility, implementability and
advisability of the recommendations, staff undertook detailed analysis, in
large measure to be able to have fruitful dialogue with the Review Team
*prior* to the issuance of the final report and recommendations (which was
our shared goal). (Unfortunately, this had to be done during the busiest
time of year for staff -- ICANN's annual meeting). While we understand the
ATRT2's desire to adhere to a tight schedule, and while we remain concerned
about the feasibility of this timeline (as has been stated on several
occasions), helping the ATRT2 issue a final report this year continues to
be a staff priority. We hope several staff/ATRT2 discussions can occur next
week on the topics identified by staff.

I would like to clarify the reason for staff’s suggestion that several of
the recommendations be characterized as observations.  ICANN has
acknowledged the importance of these findings and is making a commitment to
provide ongoing reporting and progress updates, including milestones and
deliverables to inform the community.  Staff is not in agreement with your
characterization that the work “will not entail significant additional
staff effort.”  That has not been staff's experience with ATRT
recommendations. The additional effort is comprised of work by the Board
and community, as well as staff;  it will entail Board consideration,
ongoing public consultations, tracking, reporting, and ultimately
assessment by the subsequent Review Team in addition to the tracking and
reporting of work already underway.  The updates provided to the ATRT2
during the past year on the progress of 71 recommendations (ATRT1 – 27;
WHOIS RT – 17; SSR RT – 28) consumed an extensive amount of time (e.g. it
took over 150 hours from 16 staff members just to provide the initial
spreadsheet in response to ATRT2's detailed request for information), and
this work is being done in addition to the ongoing responsibilities and
public reporting by staff. As you've seen, each Review Team generally has
its own preferences which necessitate tailored and incremental
presentations, reporting and updates. Staff has offered an alternate
approach on some recommendations and it is, of course, up to the ATRT2 to
factor this into its work and make final decisions.

Again, Staff's initial response to the ATRT2 was provided in the spirit of
collaborative work toward the shared goal of continuous improvement to
ICANN's accountability and transparency.  Please let us know how we can be
of further assistance.



Denise Michel
VP Strategic Initiatives
denise.michel at icann.org

On Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 9:52 AM, Alan Greenberg <alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca>wrote:

>  I am somewhat overwhelmed by the magnitude and overall tone of these
> comments. Just a few comments to start:
> - Given the magnitude and the overall negative tone (negative in the sense
> of "don't issue this Rec.")to many of the comments, I find it had to
> understand why this assessment is coming at this time and not a lot
> earlier, given that the current time-table is to have the report all
> wrapped up in about two weeks.
> - Although I understand the attractiveness of a small number of focused
> recommendations, in my mind, there has been a clear message from the
> community that this is not (solely) what we need now).
> - I am particularly disturbed by the suggestion that we withdraw a large
> number of recommendations on the grounds that work is already started in
> similar area. Replacing these recommendations with observations provides
> none of the tracking and accountability to actually follow-through that a
> recommendation does. If work is already underway and likely to succeed,
> then these are easy wins as recommendations and will not entail significant
> additional staff effort. On the other hand, if the work that is currently
> going on is insufficient or does not achieve the desired results, the
> recommendations are warranted. From a personal point of view on the
> Cross-community collaboration recommendations, this is too important an
> issue from the perspective of ICANN credibility to rely on the current
> discussions all bearing fruit.
> Alan
> At 05/12/2013 09:21 PM, Denise Michel wrote:
> Dear ATRT2 Members,
> Staff appreciates the opportunity to engage with the Review Team in our
> ongoing information sharing and discussions focused on our mutual goal – a
> Final Report that makes a significant and valuable contribution to ICANN’s
> accountability and transparency by offering recommendations that are
> necessary, feasible and implementable.
> Having reviewed and considered the Draft ATRT2 Report and Recommendations,
> staff from numerous departments have prepared the attached document as
> initial feedback and to support further interactions with ATRT2.  Staff
> welcomes the opportunity for follow-up discussions within the next few
> days, recognizing the compressed timeline under which the ATRT2 is working.
> Larisa and Charla have already arranged conference calls on some topics and
> look forward to supporting additional calls and email inquiries.
> Staff is pleased to observe that there is a *significant alignment*between ATRT2 findings and draft recommendations, and work that is underway
> at ICANN. This alignment represents a positive development in the evolution
> of the AoC Reviews and staff suggests that it be noted in the ATRT2’s
> observations, and that ongoing work be factored into future reviews. For
> recommendations where work is already underway, staff proposes, for the
> ATRT2’s consideration, that such recommendations be replaced with
> observations acknowledging the work currently being performed. ICANN
> commits to providing public status reports, milestones and deliverables to
> keep the community informed about this work. Such reporting is well aligned
> with the concept of an annual Accountability Report, requested by the
> ATRT2.  Annual Accountability Reporting also is anticipated to be an
> important vehicle for communicating ICANN’s continuous improvement efforts
> in accountability and the implementation of the Accountability Framework
> for measuring ICANN’s progress through benchmarks and metrics, which will
> be informed by the work of One World Trust. In addition, at the beginning
> of the ATRT2 process, Fadi had expressed his enthusiasm for the work of the
> ATRT2 along with his overarching request that the work of the Review Team
> would result in a small number of focused, high impact recommendations that
> staff, Board and the community could implement.
> Based on experience to date, we know that the large number of ATRT2
> potential recommendations and sub-recommendations would require a
> significant amount of resources from staff, Board and community –  public
> consultations, tracking, reporting, and ultimately assessment by the
> subsequent Review Team (for recommendations that address work underway; for
> new recommendations resources also will be required to develop and execute
> implementation plans).  In considering staff proposals to replace certain
> recommendations with observations, the Review Team may wish to consider
> several factors, such as the concern about “review fatigue,” challenges
> faced by the Review Team in getting substantive feedback from a diverse
> cross-section of the ICANN community, as well as requests for
> simplification of information to make it more accessible to a wider
> audience, not just those with deep knowledge and experience at ICANN.
> We hope you find staff’s initial input on each of the draft
> recommendations and sub-recommendations useful and staff welcomes the
> opportunity to elaborate. Again, we would like to acknowledge the value of
> ATRT2’s work and its importance to the legitimacy of ICANN.  We also wish
> to thank all the members of the ATRT2 for their dedication and hard work.
> Staff is committed to supporting and assisting the work of the Review Team
> during these final few weeks of your work.
> Regards,
> Denise
> Denise Michel
> VP Strategic Initiatives
> denise.michel at icann.org
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