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Policy re the Policy Development Process

Final Version of 10th April 2012

Background

This document expresses the process whereby Internet Australia policy is developed and updated. It includes an outline of the roles of the Board, of the Policy Committee of the Board, and of members generally. This document reflects, updates and extends a long-standing document from 1998, available here.

Overview

Internet Australia Policies are determined and published by the Board.

The process of developing policies, however, is inclusive, involving the membership.

The Board’s Policy Committee stimulates, supports, coordinates and where necessary performs policy development work.

Internet Australia Policies are of two kinds:

  • Policy Statements - wherever possible, Policies are developed pro-actively, in order to avoid knee-jerk reactions under time-pressure.
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  • Submissions - policies are developed reactively where necessary. The most common circumstance is where an external stimulus arises that needs to be responded to, and:
    • no current Policy Statement exists;
    • a Policy Statement exists, but has been overtaken by time;
    • a Policy Statement exists, but needs to be specialised and/or extended in order to provide a suitable response.

Where time-pressures preclude the involvement of the membership in the policy development process, the Policy Committee and Board may undertake a rapid email-exchange to determine the Policy. However, the Policy Committee must then ensure that members are informed in a timely manner of the issue, of the time-constraints that existed, and of the action that was taken.

All Policies, whether developed pro-actively or reactively, are to be published on the website.

The following section describes the preferred process. Where time and resource limitations force compromises to the process, the underlying principles are to be respected to the maximum extent practicable in the circumstances.

The Process

The responsibility for driving the process lies with the Policy Committee (PC) of the Board. The process is accordingly described below as a series of tasks performed by that Committee.

Enabling Activities

1. PC performs ongoing environmental scanning, in order to detect opportunities and threats that represent triggers for the re-statement of existing Policies, for updates to existing Policies, or for the development of new Policies.

2. PC monitors global Internet Society policy development processes.

3. From time to time, PC posts backgrounders and policy-relevant sources on iamems.

4. PC maintains an index of Internet Australia Policies, and cross-references to relevant Internet Society and other sources

5. PC maintains linkages with other organisations, including:

  • organisations that represent the interests of Internet users
  • organisations that exercise operational and engineering governance
  • organisations that provide Internet infrastructure and services
  • organisations that determine public policy relevant to Internet users

The Process for Each Specific Policy Opportunity

6. When a Policy needs to be re-stated, revised or created, PC posts an RFA (Request For Analysis) on iamems. RFA postings are to include:

  • background to the topic
  • pointers to relevant existing Policies and other relevant documents
  • an indication of the timeframe within which contributions are required

7. Where no adequate draft arises from the RFA, PC seeks assistance from one or more selected members and/or prepares a draft from within its own ranks

8. PC provides editorial support to the drafting process, including:

  • review to ensure that the interests of all relevant categories of users are reflected in the analysis
  • review to ensure readability by target audiences that may have limited technical expertise, limited background in the history of the Internet and/or limited background in the history of the particular policy issue
  • where appropriate, by means of collaborative authorship tools

9. PC submits the draft Policy to iamems for comment

10. PC revises the draft Policy to reflect feedback, where practicable and appropriate iterating back via iamems

11. PC submits the draft Policy to the Board for approval, where necessary iterating back through iamems and back to the Board

12. When the Policy has been approved:

  • PC ensures appropriate communication to target audiences
  • PC submits to the Webmaster, cc. President and Treasurer
  • where appropriate, PC seeks media coverage

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