Response to Listening Process Report

25th October 2021

Andy Green CBE headshot

Andy Green CBE

We are pleased to share the report of the Listening Process from Savanta, who we commissioned to undertake this research in April. The feedback given has been a valuable input into our decision-making thus far, and will inform how we move forward. Thank-you to all who took part.

While we have started to tackle many of the issues raised, rebuilding trust with members will take time, and it is clear that greater transparency and more effective dialogue with members will play an important part in resetting those relationships.

It is also clear that respondents want the registry to remain at the heart of what we do, to ensure activities align with our purpose, and to ensure Nominet’s strategy and our commitment to public benefit is clear, demonstrable and well explained to members.

The path forward proposed in my update to members begins to address many of the topics raised by respondents as important, and broadly aligns with the suggestions by Savanta in their conclusions. The commitments to putting purpose above profit, greater transparency, and ensuring all activities are consistent with a public benefit ethos reflect what we heard.

How the Board works with members and communicates is an important theme of the report.  We have already committed to greater financial transparency, to explaining the rationale for our decision-making to members, alongside the regular sessions we have in place to discuss developments with you.

In response to the report, we commit to sharing more detail through our regular Board reports in future.  While there will be a bias to sharing information, including the agenda for our meetings, I hope members will appreciate that that there will be occasions where information is commercially sensitive or when delicate matters may be communicated more fully at a later date.  As you will see from the principles set out, I value diversity of thought.  If reappointed as your Chair, I would seek to create a Board environment where a fair and frank exchange of views, and fresh thinking, can thrive.

The connection with members has to run throughout the organisation, so the executive team also has a role to play to ensure we are connecting with members on a day to day basis, explaining our strategy and sharing progress.  When appointed, the incoming CEO will lead this work.

Board composition was also raised as an area where members would like some change.  While there are no plans to change the formal structure set out in the articles of association, which balances appointed, member elected and executive representation (albeit only two of those roles are currently filled), the Board has and will continue to change.  I have written to members to explain how the Board will continue to refresh over the next year, from a combination of the NED election process and Board members stepping down prior to the end of their terms.

The report highlights the lack of consensus about whether or what governance changes would be desirable. The Board shares this view, and has therefore prioritised rebuilding member trust alongside strong operational performance and increased focus on public benefit activities.

Members unable to attend the webinar hosted by Savanta today will be able to find a recording of their presentation in the members hub in due course.

The report from Savanta is independent, and captures the sentiments of the 240 members, 54 stakeholders and 163 staff who took part in the process.  While we do not know precisely who took part, a list of stakeholder groups is listed in the report and on our website.

At Nominet’s request, an appendix showing responses to each of the questions in the online consultation has been published alongside Savanta’s report.