The policy development process (PDP) is the formal mechanism by which IFFOR approves policies. The PDP is a 12-step process. All 12 steps can be found in IFFOR’s bylaws and are repeated below for reference. However, in order to give a faster and more pratical understanding the process, here is our seven-stage guide.
Quick guide to the PDP
There are seven main stages to final approval of an IFFOR policy:
- Raising an issue, agreeing to start a PDP
- Putting out a report for public input, creating a Task Force
- Listening to input, producing a first report, asking for responses
- Listening to input, producing a final report
- IFFOR Council approval
- IFFOR Board approval
- ICM Registry approval
Only members of the Policy Council can put forward an issue to be considered for a PDP.
The Council will adopt a LIBERAL approach to putting forward issues but a CONSERVATIVE approach in launching a formal PDP.
Once an issues is put forward:
- An issue report is created
- That report is reviewed by IFFOR’s Executive Director and the Council
- A vote is taken on whether to start a PDP
The Issue Report contains:
- An explanation of the issue
- The name of the stakeholder group(s) that put it forward and an explanation of how the issue affects them
- Implications for starting a PDP on IFFOR Baseline Policies and Policy Goals
- Likely support for starting a PDP on the issue
Issue reports will be published and the expectation is that IFFOR will build up a searchable archive of issues that will be revisited, particularly when a PDP is launched, in order to give broader context and understanding.
The reports will be a brief and act as a snapshot of a particular topic that gives a quick and immediate understanding.
The issue report is reviewed by IFFOR’s Executive Director and the Policy Council to to ensure that it is within IFFOR’s remit (Policy Goals), and that it has real value and broader applicability. If so, a Charter Analysis is drawn up that scopes out the PDP in terms of work, timeline and review team (Task Force).
The Charter Analysis will include questions pertinent to the issue in order to elicit feedback from the broader Internet community. If the Policy Council votes to approve the PDP, the Analysis is then posted for public comment for 30 days, during which time the Task Force is created and tasked with reviewing the issue as well as incoming public comments.
For any given PDP, a review team – Task Force – will be set up. Task Force members will be put forward by Policy Council members and should be a member of their stakeholder group.
Each Stakeholder Group will respond to the Charter Analysis / Issue Report and encourage input from other Internet users, particularly dot-xxx owners. A summary and analysis of all public comments will be produced, published and provided to the Task Force for the next step.
The Task Force will create an initial report into the issue, with a focus on gathering public input on their assumptions and initial conclusions. That report will put out for 30 days public comment.
The report will:
- Give a strong indication of what the final conclusions/recommendations will be
- Outline assumptions made in the course of the report
- Detail consideration given to the first round of public comment
- Structure the report so that public comment is encouraged and easily given
A summary and analysis of the public comment will be provided to the Task Force, which will use it to draw up a final report, complete with recommendations.
That Task Force final report will then be provided to the Policy Council.
The Council will review and discuss the Task Force final report and provide a report of its own to the IFFOR Board. At this point, the Council can:
- Solicit opinion from outside advisors
- Accept/reject Task Force recommendations (done by vote)
- Modify or terminate the Task Force charter i.e. ask for more work to be done or decide the issue has been sufficiently handled
The Council will then publicly state and explain each step it has decided to take, including:
- Any outside advisors brought in
- Any rejected recommendations
- Changes to the Task Force charter
The Council report will also contain:
- A statement from all Council members indicating their position
- An analysis of how the approved recommendations will impact each Stakeholder Group
- An analysis of how long it will take to implement the policy
The Council report is then forwarded to the IFFOR Board.
The IFFOR Board reviews the Council report.
It can accept any recommendations with a 66 percent vote from the Council and is expected to accept any with more than 75 percent approval (i.e. seven of the nine members). The Board can specifically object to a Council recommendation, at which point a reconciliation process between the two automatically starts.
ICM Registry is informed of the Board’s decisions and policy recommendations and has 15 days to formally object to any of it. If there is no objection after that time, it becomes polcy.
If ICM Registry does object a reconciliation process between ICM Registry and the IFFOR Board automatically starts.
And that is the formal policy development process. The shortest possible time the process can take is four months. If the process goes straight through will no objections or extensions to the work, we would expect to take between, on average, six to eight months. If the topic is complex, controversial, requires additional work or is superceded by events or new technologies, it could take between one and two years.
The Policy Development Process shall consist of the steps set forth below.
- Step 1. Raising an Issue. An issue may be raised as a topic for policy development (a “Policy Proposal”) by (i) a vote of 3 or more of the members of the Council; (ii) a Stakeholder Group; (iii) the Board of Directors; or (iv) ICM Registry, LLC.
- Step 2. Issue Report. Issues raised for policy development must be accompanied by an Issue Report prepared by the party proposing the Policy Proposal, which sets forth: (i) the proposed issue raised for consideration; (ii) the identity of the party submitting the issue; (iii) how that party is affected by the issue; (iv) support for the issue to initiate the PDP; and (v) an explanation as to whether or not the issue implicates a Baseline Policy and, if so, an explanation as to why policy development with respect to the proposed issue is (A) in furtherance of the Policy Goals, or (B) will not undermine achievement of the Policy Goals.
- Step 3. Charter Analysis. The Executive Director of the corporation, either directly or by delegation, will provide a written response within 30 days of receipt of an Issue Report that includes his or her determination as to (i) whether the issue is within the scope of the Policy Goals; (ii) whether it is broadly applicable to multiple situations or registrants; (iii) is likely to have lasting value or applicability, albeit with the need for occasional updates; (iv) will establish a guide or framework for future decision-making; and (v) implicates or affects an existing policy of this corporation, including any Baseline Policy, and, if so, an explanation as to why policy development with respect to the proposed issue is (A) in furtherance of the Policy Goals, or (B) will not undermine achievement of the Policy Goals.
- Step 4. Initiation of PDP. Following receipt of the Charter Analysis, a PDP will be initiated if supported by at least three members of the Council, including at least one representative of the Child Advocacy, Free Expression, or Privacy and Security Stakeholder Groups. The Council will establish a charter and timeline for the PDP, and appoint a PDP Task Force consisting of an equal number of representatives from each of the Stakeholder Groups, or, with the approval of at least 75% of all the members of the Council, some other designated composition.
- Step 5. Public Notification of Initiation of the PDP. Promptly following initiation of the PDP, the Manager of Public Participation will post a notification of such action to this corporation’s website. Public comments on the Policy Proposal will be accepted for a period of 30 calendar days after such posting. Each Stakeholder Group will be responsible for providing written comments within the comment period. The Manager of Public Participation will review the public comments and incorporate them into a report, to be posted on this corporation’s website no more than thirty days following the close of the public comment period.
- Step 6. Task Force Report. The PDP Task Force, assisted by the Manager of Public Participation, will consult internally and with outside experts and stakeholders as it deems appropriate and, prepare a written report (the “Task Force Report”) detailing its recommendations, including a clear statement of all positions espoused by task force members and the reasons underlying each position, an analysis of how the recommended approach would affect each Stakeholder Group or others (including any financial impact on the Stakeholder Group); an analysis of the period of time that would likely be necessary to implement the policy; and the advice of any outside advisors appointed to the Task Force by the Council, accompanied by a detailed statement of the advisors’ (i) qualifications and relevant experience; and (ii) potential conflicts of interest.
- Step 7. Public Comments on the Task Force Report. The Task Force Report will be published for public comment for thirty days on this corporation’s website. The Director of Public Participation will post a summary of the public comments within thirty days of the close of the comment period.
- Step 8. Final Report. The Task Force will prepare a final report (the “Final Report”) and submit it to the Council within ten calendar days after the end of the public comment period.
- Step 9. Council Deliberation. At its next meeting after receipt of the Final Report from the PDP Task Force, the Council will consider the Final Report. The Council may, if it so chooses, solicit the opinions of outside advisors. The opinions of these advisors, if relied upon by the Council, will be (i) reflected in the Council’s report to the Board, (ii) specifically identified as coming from an outside advisor; and (iii) be accompanied by a detailed statement of the advisor’s qualifications, relevant experience, and potential conflicts of interest.
Step 10. Council Report to the Board. Following its deliberations, the Council will vote on the Final Report. If the Final Report is supported by at least 66% of all the members of the Council, including at least two members appointed by the Child Advocacy, Free Expression, or Privacy and Security Stakeholder Group, and at least three members appointed from the Sponsored Community by the Board of Directors or the Sponsored Community Stakeholder Group, the Council will promptly submit its recommendations to the Board (the “Council Recommendation”), which must contain at least the following:
- A clear statement of any recommendation of the Council;
- A clear statement of all positions held by Council members, clearly indicating (A) the reasons underlying each position and (B) the constituency(ies) or Stakeholder Group(s) that held the position;
- An analysis of how the issue would affect each Stakeholder Group, including any financial impact;
- An analysis of the period of time that would likely be necessary to implement the policy;
- The advice of any outside advisors relied upon, accompanied by a detailed statement of the advisor’s qualifications, relevant experience, and potential conflicts of interest; and
- A copy of the minutes of the Council deliberation on the policy issue, including all opinions expressed during such deliberation, accompanied by a description of who expressed such opinions.
- Step 11. Board Vote. The Board of Directors will meet to discuss the Council Recommendation as soon as feasible after receipt. The Board may adopt any Council Recommendation as a Policy of this corporation if it was supported by at least 66% of all the members of the Council, including at least two members appointed by the Child Advocacy, Free Expression, or Privacy and Security Stakeholder Group, and at least three members appointed from the Sponsored Community by the Board of Directors or the Sponsored Community Stakeholder Group, and shall adopt the Council Recommendation as a Policy of this corporation if it was endorsed by at least 75% of the Council including at least two members appointed by the Child Advocacy, Free Expression, or Privacy and Security Stakeholder Group, and at least three members appointed from the Sponsored Community by the Board of Directors or the Sponsored Community Stakeholder Group, unless the Board objects to the Council Recommendation, in which case the Council/Board policy reconciliation process described in Section 5.8(c) will be initiated.
- Step 12. ICM Registry Review. Upon a final decision of the Board of Directors to recommend adoption of a Council Recommendation, the Board of Directors will notify ICM Registry, LLC, of its intention to adopt the Council Recommendation as a Policy of this corporation (a “Proposed Policy”). The Proposed Policy will become a Policy of this corporation unless, within fifteen (15) days of its receipt, ICM objects to the Proposed Policy, in which case the reconciliation process described in Section 5.8(d) will be initiated.