ICANN Ombudsman Blog Creating Dialogue Affirming Fairness

February 11, 2010

ICANN Board of Directors passes resolutions on Ombudsman recommendations

Filed under: cases and findings — Frank Fowlie @ 11:11 am

Recommendations of Ombudsman File 09-58

The Board discussed the Ombudsman File 09-58, the conduct of the investigation, and the focus on civility within ICANN, and the need for awareness of cultural and gender issues to provide for better opportunities for participation.

The Board then took the following action:

Whereas, the Board thanks the Ombudsman for his report on File 09-58 addressing civility issues within ICANN related meetings and discussions;

Whereas, the Board notes that there is ongoing work within ICANN to enhance civility among ICANN participants, and that this topic is of high value to the ICANN community;

Whereas, the Board responds to the Ombudsman Report as follows:

It is hereby RESOLVED (2010.02.04.16) that the Board affirms that all participants in ICANN are expected to adhere to the Expected Standards of Behavior as published in the ICANN Accountability & Transparency: Frameworks and Principles, found at: http://www.icann.org/en/transparency/acct-trans-frameworks-principles-10jan08.pdf.

It is further RESOLVED (2010.02.04.17) that the Board requests that the CEO direct ICANN Staff to provide at least annual reminders of the Expected Standards of Behavior to the membership of ICANN’s supporting organizations and advisory committees, and to consider the other proposals by the Ombudsman to enhance civility.

One Board member abstained from voting on these resolutions. All other Board members in attendance voted in favor of these resolutions.

October 29, 2009

Ombudsman posts investigation report

Filed under: cases and findings — Frank Fowlie @ 1:13 am

Dr. Frank Fowlie, ICANN Ombudsman, has posted an investigation report.

ICANN Bylaw V states, “The Ombudsman shall be specifically authorized to make such reports to the Board as he or she deems appropriate with respect to any particular matter and its resolution or the inability to resolve it. Absent a determination by the Ombudsman, in his or her sole discretion, that it would be inappropriate, such reports shall be posted on the Website.” In this case the Ombudsman has determined that it would be inappropriate to post the full report, as the publicity may create undue negative sentiments towards one of the parties; but believes that the community should be informed of the investigation.

The report makes 10 recommendations to the Board of Directors to increase the level of civil behaviour in the ICANN Pubic Participation Process. The Ombudsman expects a response from the Board of the Directors on the implementation of the recommendations within 60 days.

The report may be found at: http://www.icann.org/ombudsman/documents/incivility-within-icann-29oct09-en.pdf

September 8, 2009

Ombudsman posts investigation report

Filed under: cases and findings — Frank Fowlie @ 10:40 am

The Office of the Ombudsman has posted an investigation report at: http://www.icann.org/ombudsman/documents/report-call-for-volunteers-irt-sep09.pdf

The Ombudsman has found that there was a systemic unfairness regarding the communication of a volunteer opportunity within a supporting organization.  In this case there had been a call for volunteers to self identify as potential members of the Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT).  The Ombudsman found that a particular constituency had not informed its members of the opportunity to participate until after the closing date for nominations, and that this was an unfair administrative process.  In the Ombudsman’s opinion, the person raising the complaint likely would not have been a successful candidate due to the similarity of the complainant to other applications from the same nation, profession, and relative business interests.  The Ombudsman makes no finding with respect to the work of the IRT.

August 4, 2009

ICANN Board of Directors votes to implement Ombudsman Recommendations

Filed under: cases and findings — Frank Fowlie @ 8:48 pm

From the minutes of the July 30, 2009 Board meeting:


Review of Ombudsman Reports and Recommendations to the Board

Whereas, the Ombudsman has made recommendations to the Board of Directors following certain investigations conducted by the Ombudsman;

Whereas, the Board thanks the Ombudsman for his continuing service to ICANN;

Whereas, the Board has reviewed the Ombudsman’s recommendations to the Board; and

Whereas, the Board acknowledges that most of the Ombudsman’s recommendations have already been addressed.

It is hereby resolved (2009.07.30. 08) that as soon as practicable, Staff shall provide the Ombudsman with Board approved responses to the Ombudsman’s outstanding recommendations.

This represents the acceptance of recommendations from several Ombudsman reports, dating back to February 2007.  These various reports and recommendations may be found at: http://www.icann.org/ombudsman/reports.html

April 22, 2009

Ombudsman posts investiagtion report

Filed under: cases and findings — Frank Fowlie @ 1:17 pm

The Office of the Ombudsman has posted a report and recommendations following a systemic investigation.  The report can be found at: http://www.icann.org/ombudsman/documents/per-diem-expense-repayment-report-21apr09-en.pdf

November 3, 2008

Ombudsman receives response to recommendations from ALAC Chair

Filed under: cases and findings — Frank Fowlie @ 8:20 am

The Office of the Ombudsman has received a comprehensive response to recommendations made (http://www.icann.org/ombudsman/documents/report-15feb07.pdf) by the Ombudsman.  The response generally shows that ALAC has acted positively and implemented the recommendations.  The ALAC has deferred the reply to three recommendations to the Board of Directors for a response.


The response to the recommendations, and the recommendations have been placed in one document for ease of review, and may be found at: http://www.icann.org/ombudsman/alac-response-ombudsman-28oct08-en.pdf


The Office of the Ombudsman thanks the ALAC, its Chair – Cheryl Langdon-Orr, and the ICANN support staff for the provision of this response, and the positive implementation of the recommendations.

October 23, 2008

ALAC Working Group responds to the Ombudsman

Filed under: cases and findings — Frank Fowlie @ 5:04 pm

 The report is found at:

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http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-23oct08-en.htm   and states:




5.14 Recommendation 16


That any outstanding issues relating to Ombudsman reports 05‐1090 and 06‐317, should be dealt with as soon as possible by the ICANN Board or the ALAC (as appropriate).


The WG believes that this recommendation is a matter for the ICANN Board to deal with.

September 17, 2008

Ombudsman posts public report

Filed under: cases and findings — Frank Fowlie @ 3:24 pm

The Office of the Ombudsman has posted a report following a complaint made by a member of the community.  The report may be found at:  http://www.icann.org/ombudsman/documents/repayment-expenses-report-17sep08.pdf.

August 1, 2008

ALAC review report comments on Ombudsman Reports

Filed under: cases and findings — Frank Fowlie @ 1:59 pm

The following is quoted from page 75 of the Independent Review of the ALAC, and the report may be found at http://www.icann.org/en/reviews/alac/final-draft-13jun08.pdf


7.6 Ombudsman procedures

The WCL Review Team was made aware of two public reports published following investigations by the Ombudsman during late 2006 and early 2007. The first investigation followed an appeal against voting procedures, and the second related to the rejection of an application for ALS status.


In both cases the Ombudsman found that certain aspects of ALAC procedure were unsatisfactory and made several recommendations. In particular he stressed the need for the ALAC to act more uniformly and promptly regarding ALS applications. These recommendations resulted in a number of procedural changes and also some changes to the ICANN bylaws. Based on input from submitters, we believe these investigations and subsequent reports created a degree of tension between some members of the ALAC and the Ombudsman.


In addition, we have been unable to ascertain whether the second report has been closed, with all issues finalised. We note that the ICANN Board discussed this report during a teleconference in June 2007, however we have been unable to locate subsequent documentation.



If there are any outstanding issues relating to Ombudsman report 06-317, the Board should review all recommendations to ensure they have been resolved.


I note the recommendation made by the independent reviewers, and comment that ICANN has yet to respond to my recommendations made in February 2007.  (http://www.icann.org/ombudsman/documents/report-15feb07.pdf)



My report at the Paris Meeting Public Forum stated:


“Today, I want to discuss the need for an accountability loop between the role and function of the Ombudsman and the organization it serves.


It is said that an Ombudsman is:

… an independent, objective investigator of people’s complaints against government agencies and other organisations, both public and private sectors. After a fair, thorough review, the ombudsman decides if the complaint is justified and makes recommendations to the organisation in order to resolve the problem.


United States Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis has said “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”


In these two comments, one sees the basis of a relationship between the ombudsman, the organization or the state. The ombudsman acts as the electric light through the recommendation reporting process. He shines light on the dark areas of systemic or individual unfairness. Once the light has illuminated issues which require redress, it becomes the responsibility of the organization to act upon the ombudsman’s recommendations, or to reject them. Most ombudsman statutes provide timelines by which the state or organization must respond to the ombudsman and provide information as to how the recommendations have been implemented to redress unfairness, or to provide reasons why the recommendations may not be practical.

This process of recommendation making, and reply from the entity which has been the subject of an ombudsman enquiry ensures to the community served by the entity and its ombudsman that issues of concern are fairly dealt with.


 In February 2007, I made a set of 12 recommendations to the ICANN Board of Directors (http://www.icann.org/ombudsman/documents/report-), outlining what I believed to be were important steps for systemic improvements, following a detailed enquiry regarding voting practices with the 15feb07.pdfALAC. I am disappointed that, as of June 3, 2008, my Office has not been informed as to what actions the Board or ALAC has taken to implement these recommendations. I am aware that one of recommendations has been implemented, as the applicant I viewed as being unfairly treated has been given status as an At Large Structure. Mr. Chairman, I do hope that ICANN will respond to my recommendations in due course.”









June 24, 2007

From the Preliminary Report of the June 18 Board Minutes

Filed under: cases and findings — Frank Fowlie @ 4:48 am

Discussion of Ombudsman’s Report 6-317

The Chair provided a brief summary of the key points of Ombudsman Report 6.317 that has been provided to the Board. The complainant was the proponent of the application for the establishment of an At-Large Structure, which was rejected by the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC). The applicant made the application on 08 February 2006, and the application was rejected by the ALAC in October, 2006. The applicant was informed of the decision by email on October 5, 2006. The applicant has, through correspondence to the ALAC on October 7, requested a review by the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman’s investigation lead him to believe that the applicant was treated in an unfair manner on both an individual and systemic basis.

On November 21, 2006, the Committee advised the applicant in an email that they would be in contact following the Sao Paulo meeting (December 2006).

The Ombudsman has made 12 recommendations. Among them was a recommendation that the applicant be given “interim status”, but the Chair noted that there was no status of that kind to be awarded. The Ombudsman also asked the Board to declare ALAC membership to the applicant.

The Chair suggested that a response be developed before the next meeting of the Board at San Juan with staff support. Additionally, Roberto Gaetano asked that staff advise the Ombudsman that the report had been considered and notify him that a response would be forthcoming.

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