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You are here: Home About Us Policies InternetNZ Internal Policies Committee Membership, Structure and Workings November 1999

Adopted November 26 1999

This paper sets out the mechanism by which the Council of the Internet Society accomplishes work through its various committees. It also includes formation, dissolution and working of the committees. It also touches on public comment on behalf of ISOCNZ.


The Internet Society of New Zealand has a representative Council of 20 members, 19 of whom are elected annually at the Annual General Meeting for a two year term, with one appointed by the Industry Advisory Group. The Council elects a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer annually.

The Society employs a full-time professional Executive Director who reports to the Chair of the Administration Committee. The Executive Director's work is managed and supported by the Administration Committee.


The Council is segmented into several working committees:-

The number of committees, their focus, membership and Chair or Convenor of each committee is nominated by the Chair of the Society. (For clarity, from now on I shall call the Council Chair the "Chair" and a Committee Chair the "Convenor"). Should another committee(s) be required, the Chair will create it and re-allocate existing Councillors to the new committee. It is likely this will be a consultative process involving those affected.

Should there be a piece of work that a Councillor wishes to suggest the Council undertake that requires a new committee, the Councillor should discuss this with the Chair. The Chair's decision to accept a Councillor's representation is final.

Committee Membership

It is customary for the Chair to ask Councillors for their preferences as to committee membership. However the allocation of Councillors to any particular committee is the responsibility of the Chair. Nomination of the Convenor for each committee is also the responsibility of the Chair. It is customary for each committee to have no fewer than four members and no more than six members. All Councillors are to be assigned to a committee for the term of their membership to Council. A committee member may request re-assignment; such requests are to be considered at the discretion of the Chair.

Should a member(s) resign from Council and this cause inconvenience to the committee that Councillor served on, or cause the committee membership to drop below four, the Convenor will bring this to the attention of the Council which has the power to co-opt additional Councillors from the membership to fill vacancies, by a 75% vote at a Council meeting. A Convenor should discuss with the Chair the co-option of a suitable person(s) by the Council for appointment to the particular committee. Committee members must be Councillors.

Should a committee's focus be no longer relevant the Chair and Convenor should discuss the situation and the Chair may be re-focus or dissolve the committee, and re-assign the Council members to other areas.

Working Groups

A Working Group may be formed to accomplish a specific, usually short, task. A key point of difference from a Committee is that a Working Group is formed for a purpose, achieves that purpose and is dissolved. A committee has ongoing Council and Society responsibilities.

The Leader of the working group must be a Councillor, however the members of the Working Group can be drawn from the membership of the society or the general public. Working Groups can be used to spread Committee workload (if necessary), or to utilise specific expertise outside of the Council or Society membership without commissioning, or to work jointly with people outside the Council. The Leader is responsible for output achievement, management of the Working Group and reporting to the relevant Committee or to Council, whichever is decided at the inception of the Working Group.

The need for a working group can be recognised by any Councillor or office holder. A recommendation to form a Working Group, its purpose, Leader and members must be passed by Council. The particular piece of work to be accomplished by the Working Group would typically be of short duration and fall outside the focus of the standing Committees.

Committee Convenor Responsibilities

The Convenor is responsible for receiving direction from the Council and the Chair in its area of activity, setting committee goals, management of committee output, calling meetings, setting agenda, ensuring the accurate taking and distributing minutes, presentation of the committee business and decisions to Council for information, ratification and adoption. Meetings are to be called at the discretion of the Convenor, frequently enough to manage the output of the committee. The Convenor is responsible to the membership through the Council for the activities of the committee.

Should there be a piece of work that a Councillor wishes to suggest which would be properly dealt with by another committee, or is not being actively pursued by an existing committee, the Councillor should discuss this with the Convenor of the relevant committee. The Convenor's decision to accept the Councillor's representation is final.

The Convenor is responsible for ensuring that professional performance and behaviour is exercised by committee members. This is particularly important when dealing with the press.

Convenors and Working Party Leaders have the responsibility of being the conduit for Committee and Working Party information to the Council Spokesperson. The Council Spokesperson should, before making any public statement in any medium, ensure they have a full appreciation of all ISOCNZ policies and previous statements relevant to the topic.

Committee Member Responsibilities

Committee members are to attend committee meetings, observe meeting protocols and take direction from the Convenor when required. Responsibility for production of work is serious: Convenors and committee members are to manage their workloads so that committee work can be achieved and commitments met. Realistic timeframes for commitments must be agreed since Council membership is voluntary.

Committee meetings and discussions are confidential unless agreed otherwise by a formal, documented motion in committee. It is important that the work of a committee proceed in a orderly and expeditious way, unhindered by premature questions or other interference. A committee decides how best to achieve its particular goals including whether privacy, wide discussion or consultation best suits the needs of the piece of work. It is suggested that the committee agree how best to achieve its goals and the Convenor call for volunteers to undertake the particular piece of work. It may be appropriate to commission others, if this is the case then a formal motion must be put to the committee to support such action.

(For a more detailed description of a proposed policy development process, see my current position paper.)

While deliberations and discussions leading to positions need be done confidentially, results, resolutions, agreements, votes, and decisions are to be freely available to the members.

Formal motions of the committee should be recorded, as should the names of members, and they way they vote on any particular motion. For this purpose, each committee should maintain a separate page at the society's web site, recording:

The name of the Convenor

The names of the members

A list of current projects, showing priority

Minutes of previous meetings

References to that committees policies as adopted by ISOCNZ

Committee members are to be familiar with Council policies as posted on the Society's web site. They are also bound by committee and Council agreements and policies. Failure to fulfil committee member responsibilities or abide by the Council and committee agreements and policies may result in removal.

Role of the Executive Director

The executive director should be ex officio a member of each committee, and should provide administrative support as required, especially the maintenance of the committee web page, and with correspondence and minutes.

Budget for Committees

Committees should assume a management responsibility for the budgeting of committee work, and prepare at least a draft list of anticipated expenditure for each forthcoming year.

Committees are to request funds from Council by a formal motion. The motion is to clearly state what funds are required and specifically what work is to be commissioned.

It is suggested that there be no retrospective allocation of funds for work commissioned.

Motions for funding may be put and passed at any Council meeting. Committees will be reasonably familiar with the financial situation and priorities of the Council before motions for funding are put.

EL Dengate Thrush
Policy Committee

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

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Committee Membership, Structure and Workings November 1999

Policy On ISOCNZ Committees