On New Year's Eve, an ad hoc committee submitted a report to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers Board of Directors recommending a number of reforms to satisfy concerns raised by U.S. regulators. The reforms outlined by the Accountability and Transparency Review Team include changes to ICANN's governance, decision making, transparency, and review processes. The report suggested specific changes for the ICANN Ombudsman.
The ARTR report indicated a concern about the relationship between the Ombuds and the Board and recommended it be brought in line with IOA standards.
24. As soon as possible, but no later than the March 2011 ICANN meeting, the operations of the Office of Ombudsman and the relationship between the Office of the Ombudsman and the Board of Directors should be assessed and, to the extent they are not, should be brought into compliance with the relevant aspects of internationally recognized standards for: a) an Ombudsman function; and b) a Board supporting such a function under the Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association.
In part, this recommendation reflected concerns voiced by the public.
With regard to the Office of the Ombudsman, the ATRT received community feedback regarding the effectiveness of the Office of the Ombudsman, and conducted two interviews with the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is not perceived by the community to be a fully independent accountability mechanism for accountability of the ICANN Board. Questions have been raised about inconsistencies between the structure and operation of ICANN’s Office of the Ombudsman and internationally accepted standards for Ombudsman. The ATRT also asks the ICANN Board to explain the metrics used to determine the Ombudsman’s bonus and to consider this as well as broader compensation issues in context of the review of the Office of the Ombudsman under recommendation 24.
ICANN will make a decision on the report within six months and is accepting public comments through resulting recommendations will be submitted for public comment and the Board will take February 14, 2011. (ICANN Accountability and Transparency Review Team Final Recommendations.)