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Policy on ISOCNZ Policy Development Process

Adopted November 26 1999

ISOCNZ aims to be the organisation that members, users, the community and the media turn to first for authoritative, accurate, incisive and interesting advice and information about the Internet. To achieve this we need a formal process established which identifies appropriate areas for ISOCNZ to have policy, guides appropriate research and supports preparation of policy papers. This paper details the process for the development of ISOCNZ policy

Process Outline

1. Identification of topics for ISOCNZ policy

2. Definition of topic and scope

3. Prioritisation

4. Funding

5. Responsibility for preparation and management

6. Preparation of policy position paper (includes content and form)

7. Review by Policy Committee

8. Posting on web page for comment

9. Analysis of comment

10. Presentation of policy paper

11. Recommendation to Council to adopt

12. Accept / Decline recommendation

13. Publish new policy

Identification of Policy Issues for ISOCNZ Policy

The list of topics for which ISOCNZ has a formal position must be kept relevant. It is the responsibility of the policy committee to be aware of trends that effect our society and market and to have informative papers available for members that assist, inform and deepen understanding of Internet related issues.

I think it prudent to seek suggestions and input widely, from the Society membership, and other interested bodies about topics for research and comment. On occasions, the membership will give directions to the Council about policy research through General Meetings.

To avoid duplication, and to prevent recommendations for action in areas of current work, completed Policy papers should be available to members on the ISOCNZ web site. In addition, there should be a list of areas in which work is in progress, indicating current status, and a responsible spokesperson for that project. Comments to the media are discussed below.

It is the responsibility of the policy committee to decide on which topics ISOCNZ has a formal policy position. On occasions, the Council will direct that priority be accorded to specific areas of policy preparation.

Defining a Policy Topic

Once a topic is before the policy committee, either by referral from Council, AGM or of its own volition, the committee must first clearly define the issue. The scope of the topic forms a part of the definition, for example who the particular policy is likely to relate to.

Similarly areas of policy overlap or similarity that might cause potential . Responsibility for topic definition is ultimately the Chair of the Policy committee. In summary the topic's relationship with other policy positions must be appreciated and clearly stated.

According Priority

When a policy issue is defined, its priority in relation to other policy projects must be agreed. This will include consideration of the size of the interest group to whom the issue is significant, the cost of completing any requisite research, the cost of not proceeding, or deferring the topic, and so on.

Funding the preparation of Policy Papers

From the preceding discussions should emerge a sense of the time and expense necessary to produce a policy paper. An estimate of likely expenditure should be made, and steps taken to appropriate either existing Committee funds, or steps taken to apply to the Council for funding.

Allocation of Responsibility for Preparation of Policy Position Paper

Writers of papers can be anyone that the policy committee decides. Papers might be prepared by a committee member, a specialist in a particular area, an organisation or a member of another committee. I suggest that Councillors expect to prepare the bulk of papers as a part of their role, and that others be commissioned.

The committee's expectation as to the time for delivery and management of the work is a part of the allocation process and is the responsibility of the policy committee.

A committee member, on behalf of the committee, is allocated for each topic to manage the preparation of the paper if external resources are being used. If the paper is being produced by a committee member that person manages the preparation of their paper.

Content and Format of Policy Position Papers

It is the policy committee's responsibility is to ensure policy positions papers are timely, thoroughly researched, interestingly written, relevant, objective, as brief as possible and acknowledge previous work in the area. Acknowledgements should include formal and the informal, for example published papers and written material as well as discussions and the known thoughts of others in the field.

Papers must be submitted in a reasonably readily publishable form (that is not needing to be rewritten by a public relations firm) using plain English with a minimum of jargon. A style guide for writing ISOCNZ policy position papers is available to assist authors and to ensure consistency of output.

Paper must take account of previous ISOCNZ policy and any changes which the new policy implies or imposes on existing policies should be discussed. References to associated work in the area should also be included and discussed. Papers must be dated and include a review date for the position paper.

The completed draft should be presented to the Policy committee for review. At this stage in its development, the policy is confidential, although the fact of its preparation will have been noted on the "work in progress" section of the web site. The time will come for as much public input as required, but this should not occur while the paper is being drafted.

Nothing will prevent an author from consulting as widely and publicly as they see fit during preparation of their paper.

Review of position paper

The policy committee reviews the draft policy paper in detail and discusses the need for any amendments. If amendments are needed then these are suggested and discussed with the writer and the paper is resubmitted with agreed amendments.

Should the review of the draft policy paper be negative, that is the policy committee agrees not to recommend the position paper be adopted, this is to be communicated in writing to the author and discussed fully with them. The reasons for not recommending that the position be adopted is to be discussed openly with the Council.

Presentation of policy paper and recommendation to Council

When the policy committee recommends that a policy position paper be adopted it will published on the web site by the Policy Committee as a draft for members comment. There should be an announcement to members, summarising the paper, and soliciting comments.

Comments should be posted to the web page, and not form part of a discourse between Councillors. Responses by members to Councillors should be answered by an invitation to post the comments on the web page.

After a reasonable, advertised period of time, comments should be closed, the author then reviews all input, and taking the input into account, submits a final draft to the committee, together with an analysis of the nature of the public comment, and any comments thereon. This is expected to be a significant, but not necessarily extensive report in addition to the paper.

After review, the comments, analysis by the author and a motion to accept the paper is put to Council. If voted in favour by the committee, the draft papers should be sent to Council, with a recommendation that it be adopted as formal policy of ISOCNZ.

To allow Council to properly consider the policy, the committee should forward an Executive Summary, outlining :

The authors name, and if necessary, special credentials,

The timetable of the process to date

An analysis of members comments, noting trends, and any conflicting choices imposed by the issue

An analysis of the effect of adoption of the policy on existing ISOCNZ policies

A draft press release.

Decline recommendation

If a motion to accept a policy is lost, the process may be restarted or the policy abandoned. The Chair of ISOCNZ has the discretion to decide further action.

Accept policy position paper and publish new policy

If the policy is adopted by Council , the paper is published on the Society web site for members to access and the press release is issued to the general public. Some policies will require more specific publication and our PR firm should be commissioned to develop and implement a marketing plan for those policies. For example discussions with and presentations to appropriate parliamentarians, business people, academics and organisations both here and internationally.

All Councillors must be comfortable with discussing ISOCNZ policy knowledgeably once a motion to accept a policy has been passed and any public discussions of individuals differing points of view must be clearly acknowledged as an individual's and not ISOCNZ policy.


Note 1 Recommendations from the policy committee to the Council to adopt policy should require a minimum of discussion and 'selling' to the Council. Any redrafting and additions work required will have been indicated by the policy committee and completed before presentation to the Council for endorsement. Any questions that are likely to be in the mind of a reader (Councillor or any other person) should be answered satisfactorily by the paper itself.

Note 2 It is suggested that ISOCNZ compile a database of prospective policy authors, researchers volunteers, and organisations both here and internationally that might be usefully engaged to develop policy position papers for us. It is also suggested that the database contain a list of potential topics and issues that ISOCNZ have a policy about.

EL Dengate Thrush
Policy Committee

Historical Draft Documents

Policy Development Process 20 August 1999 Superceded

© 2000 The Internet Society of New Zealand
Last updated 30 October 2000

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