[CCWG-ACCT] Analysis & Trends - Third Public Comment Period

Malcolm Hutty malcolm at linx.net
Tue Jan 19 11:40:14 UTC 2016

On 19/01/2016 09:21, Jordan Carter wrote:
> Greg, all
> I have seen a few comments along the 'we are ignoring the public
> comments! Omg!' track in the past few days, and to be honest I am a
> little confused.


I wouldn't want to say "OMG!", but I also have concerns about our approach.

I think it is undeniable that the approach we took following the first
public comment round gave a much more thorough and systematic attention
to comments received than the approach we are taking this time. It seems
we no longer have the energy to repeat that exercise.

> My impression was and is that:
> - the working method we are using was documented, discussed and agreed
> by the CCWG.

A timeline was agreed. At the time we "agreed the working method", I
must confess I struggled to understand what was being proposed. Maybe
that is my fault, for not standing up and asking for greater clarity.

As it happens, I think the root cause of the limited attention is the
decision to do everything in plenary. It simply isn't practical to do a
detailed review of every aspect of this Report at that level, which is
why we had Working Parties and Working Party subgroups in the first
place. But abandoning that approach was indeed agreed by the CCWG, and I
suspect it was simply that we are running out of energy.

Maybe it's too late to change this. But even though we all share the
responsibility, and it's not fair to simply blame the co-chairs, I do
think it's perfectly legitimate to say "Hold up a minute! This process
isn't working too well".

> - in preparing the first reading docs, all of the public comments and
> the trends from them were taken into account - they are what drives the
> 'issues to discuss' the co-chair documents set out.

Well it's not at all clear how these "issues to discuss" are selected.
It does seem remarkably close in practice to "make sure that the Board's
concerns are considered, and leave out anything else unless a particular
stakeholder is likely to kick up a fuss in plenary".
Not that I'm suggesting the co-chairs are doing that deliberately, but
if these decisions are made by a few acting in private, without a
transparent and systematic approach, then that's where you end up anyway.

> What am I missing? How are people concluding that we aren't doing due
> diligence? What have we missed that should have been taken into
> account?

On thing we are missing is proper analysis of the comments we have
received in support of our proposal.

Some comments in support are simply content with whatever happens. The
ASO, for example, has made clear that with limited exceptions it is
content with whatever we decide, and just wants us to wrap this up as
soon as possible. Other stakeholders and members of the public, however,
support our proposal and have made clear that they would actively
disagree with changes to key elements of it. This is not being properly

Our process is causing us to give excessive attention to relatively few
comments of disagreement, and to devalue the comments supporting our
proposal. Where a comment asking for change is considered, we usually
have nothing before us at all on comments received that would oppose
that change: these are taken, wrongly, as merely being content.

By far the most thorough review of comments on this round that we have
had (prior to this staff assessment) was Becky's slideset on the
Mission. Even there though, the assessment that "Most commenters
supported proposed Mission Statement, including regulatory prohibiton"
was given only those nine words; the remainder of 16 pages was dedicated
to considering those few comments that asked for changes, without any
analysis of whether those "most comments" opposed making such changes or
the reasoning they offered.

On other Recommendations, we haven't even had that much.

This process is pushing us towards producing a Fourth Draft Report that
looks like the Third Draft Report as amended by the Board.

> Accepting as I do that the public comments are being dealt with
> properly, I also have an opinion that the group has largely come to a
> rough consensus on many points, and that unless there was an
> overwhelming weight of comments demanding a change to something, changes
> are at this point unlikely.

That's not what I see happening though.

            Malcolm Hutty | tel: +44 20 7645 3523
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