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ICOP Complaints Board Draft


An Internet Code of Practice Complaints Board (ICOPCB) should be established to address any complaints that arise in respect of the activities of the internet industry. The creation of this Board flows from the continuing growth and maturing of the internet industry, and is a logical consequence of the adoption of the Internet Code of Practice.

Currently, members of the community have few options if they need to resolve issues with ISPs or other players in the internet industry. Litigation may be the only action for genuine grievances. The incidence of complaints against internet providers to date has been low.

A Complaints Board would provide a mediation-based forum that can be called upon to achieve equitable solutions.


The proposed ICOP Complaints Board is based on the current Advertising Standards Complaints Board (ASCB). This body comprises eight members, four of whom represent different facets of the related industries. these are appointees who have the ability to fairly and impartially assess evidence.The other four are from the "public". Bodies in the consumer arena, eg Consumers Institute are contacted to propose nominees. The nominees are reviewed and four selected.

The ASCB specifically deals with advertising issues, and this includes advertising on the internet. Areas of overlap between the ASCB and the proposed ICOPCB can be considered in respect of sharing knowledge and expertise.

Proposed Application


The Complaints Board will deal with complaints in respect of conduct set out in the ISP Code of Practice. Complaints on other matters will be dealt with on an individual basis.

The ICOPCB will handle complaints brought against signatories of the Code of Practice. Complaints against internet industry non-signatories are outside the scope of the ICOPCB.

The Code of Practice defines

  • an ISP as a person or organisation, who for commercial or non-profit reasons connects a user/users to the Internet, provides content (electronic commerce or other) over the Internet, or provides access to the Internet; an ISP who has signed the COP is defined as a signatory ISP;
  • a user as a person or organisation which has a connection to the Internet, and which may optionally provide content either locally or hosted by an ISP.

Board membership

A pool of people will be appointed to be board members.
This pool will comprise five people who have technical expertise, and five people drawn from the public.
Technical members will be selected from signatory ISP's with no ISP being permitted to have more than one member on the board. There should be one serving ISOCNZ Councillor appointed to the ICOPCB.

The five members of the public will be selected in a similar manner to that adopted by the ASA. It would be useful, and is encouraged, thatone or no more than two of the non-technical members is also a board member of the ASCB.

At least two board members should have legal expertise. This could be drawn from central government, Crown Law, or from partners or senior staff of legal firms with an interest in IT or the internet.

A chairing role is elected annually by the Complaints Board members.

Selection of Board membership

Terms and procedures for selecting members of the Complaints Board are set out in Appendix A to this policy.

Complaints Procedures

  1. Complaints on receipt are reviewed by the Complaints Board chair in consultation with one or more members of the Complaints Board. The review will determine if the complaint should proceed.
  2. If the complaint is to proceed, a copy of the complaint, with the name of the complainant, is sent to the person(s) or organisation(s) nominated in the complaint. They are asked to comment within 14 days.
  3. The Chair of the ICOPCB selects a group of five board members (complaints subcommittee) drawn from the total of ten. The Chair of the ICOPCB will be one of these five. The selection will be based upon the nature of the complaint and therefore the skills needed to resolve the complaint.
  4. The full ICOPCB meets at twice per year whether or not there are complaints to deal with; Findings of complaints prepared by complaints subcommittees are tabled at each of these full meetings.
  5. Complaints subcommittees meet as needed to deal with complaints.
  6. The matter of meeting allowances payable to ICOPCB members is to be determined.
  7. At the subcommittee meetings the complaint and responses are considered by the subcommittee members.
  8. If the complaint is upheld, the offending parties are requested to rectify the situation that instigated the complaint. In addition, the decision is released in a press statement and published in the media. The decision reached by the complaints subcommittee of the ICOPCB is final and cannot be overturned by a subsequent meeting of the full ICOPCB.
  9. Media releases are made by the ICOPCB and copies are also held with ISOCNZ.

Compliance with the Complaints Board is voluntary. The ICOPCB will take no action beyond a reasoned approach to the parties concerned and releasing statements to the media.

ISOCNZ Policy committee
May 2000

Appendix A

Complaints Board Selection Procedures

Membership of the Complaints Board will be determined from initial invitations by ISOCNZ, and consideration of expressions of interest received.

Board members will be appointed for a maximum term of three years. Terms will be phased to ensure that there is substantial continuity in the Board composition.

Initially it is expected that ISOCNZ Council will carry out the selection process. Thereafter procedures governing the selection process will be developed by the Complaints Board in consultation with the chair of ISOCNZ, and ratified by ISOCNZ Council.

Historical Draft Documents

Internet Code of Practice Complaints Board April 2000 Superceded

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