FTSD Decision Making Practices

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This document has BEEN EDITED for generic use by any Steering Division of the TSC.

Decision Making Practices

This section documents the proposed set of decision-making practices for the XYZ Steering Division (XYZ-SD) of the HL7 Technical Steering Committee. The SD is comprised of the Co-chairs of a set of constituent committees and SIGs. The Steering Division seeks to coordinate and oversee the activities of those groups and to represent their concerns in the HL7 Technical Steering Committee. The XYZ-SD will lead by example, and adhere to a set of decision-making practices that ensure consensus, openness, and balance of interest.

Furthermore, the practices as outlined here are designed to enable timely decision-making with an earnest attempt to ensure that input from all affected parties is considered. The Decision-making practices are intended to govern the standard operating procedures of the SD and are not intended to conflict with rules governing ballot procedure as defined by ANSI and the HL7 Bylaws and Policies and Procedures.

  1. Meetings are open to all interested parties including but not limited to members of HL7, HL7 affiliates, and guests of HL7 as referenced in the HL7 Bylaws – Article 3.02.

    Meetings of the SD are open to everyone to ensure that viewpoints of all affected parties have an opportunity to be shared and considered. Everyone may have an opportunity to speak; however, the chair may limit discussion to topics that have been identified during the setting of the meeting agenda, or due to time-constraints that may prevent completion of business. If discussion is truncated prior to resolution of the item under discussion, a future time for discussion will be set prior to moving to the next topic. Participants with submitted topics are expected to attend when the purpose or mode of the meeting require their input. Other HL7 members may be asked to attend to provide specific input regarding a particular issue. The following list identifies expected participation by meeting type. All TSC meetings are open; this list simply identifies the anticipated participants.
    • Scheduled/Periodic conference call meetings are attended by Co-chairs of the committees and SIGs that make up the SD.
    • TSC Meetings during Working Group Meetings may be attended by any working group meeting attendee. Participants are asked to introduce themselves and identify the nature of their affiliation with HL7.

  2. Venues of Notification.

    All activities will be conducted in a public light with efforts made to ensure ample notification of those interested. The SD shall use the SD's portion of the TSC Wiki site as its primary vehicle for notifications.

    Satisfaction of minimal notification requirements dictates that relevant announcements/materials/etc. be posted to the Wiki. The Wiki will be used for discussion threads, notifications, new and archived documents, whereas the web server will predominantly be used for archival and document resources (decision documents, minutes, papers, etc.).

    Any use of the terms post, posted, or posting refers to notification subject to these constraints.

  3. Notification of meetings and the intended agenda is provided prior to the meeting.

    Binding decisions can be made only at meetings with the required advance notification; only recommendations and non-binding decisions can be made at special purpose meetings.

    The chair of the SD shall make every attempt to ensure that all parties with an interest in agenda topics are made aware of the meeting time and location subject to the documented notification requirements. As appropriate, SD activities will be cross-posted to other HL7 Wiki sites, depending upon the topic and type of meeting as indicated in the following list. Certain meetings are subject to Bylaws guidelines for notification. Please refer to the Bylaws for additional information.
    • Working group meeting agendas are posted in the meeting brochure. A preliminary agenda is developed by Wednesday of the prior working-group meeting and posted with the minutes within 2 weeks. The preliminary agenda is finalized on a scheduled conference call two weeks prior to the working group meeting and posted within 2 business days. Recognizing the dynamic nature of working group meetings, the agenda may require updates. Notification will be satisfied so long as at least two of the following venues are used:
      • E-mail notification by 6:00 pm local time the evening before the event
      • Notification on the bulletin board (near the registration desk) at least 2 quarters prior to the event
      • Announcement in the general session or lunch session prior to the event
    • Scheduled/Periodic telephone conference call meeting agendas are to be posted no later than 24 hours prior to the call. Preliminary agendas are to be determined at the close of each teleconference.
    • The agenda, for either a conference call or working group meeting, will include the purpose of each topic, anticipated discussion time and whether it is intended to set direction or to make a decision.
    • Should the SD require action between scheduled meetings there are two alternatives. First, a Special Purpose Meeting may be called as defined in the Bylaws (Section 11.04), which requires 30 days notice. Alternatively, the issues may be discussed as an informal group, bringing forward recommendations to the list or as a discussion topic for the next regularly scheduled SD meeting. Recommendations by the informal group are not binding decisions until acted upon by the SD.

  4. Decisions made at SD meetings are recorded in meeting minutes and posted.

    Minutes are recorded and posted for all SD meetings including the date, time, and location of the meeting, a list of attendees, the intended agenda, a brief summary of discussion topics, and the outcome of proposals made (including vote tallies if votes were taken).

    Minutes from a working group meeting will be posted no later than 2 weeks of the last day of the conference and in compliance with HQ deadlines; minutes from a conference call will be posted within one week of the call.

  5. Decisions made at non-working group meetings (conference calls and special purpose meetings) are summarized during the next working group meeting.

    In the interest of facilitating good communication among the SD members, those decisions that were made between working group meetings will be summarized and available at working group meetings. This communication will contain, at a minimum, abbreviated summary of the issues involved and the decisions made by the SD. Any SD decisions are subject to the practices documented elsewhere in this paper.

  6. . Quorum for SD meetings: For decision making, the chair (or designate) and representatives from at least half of committees and SIGs that constitute the SD must be present. For direction setting, the chair (or designate) and representatives of at least one-third of the committees and SIGs that constitute the SD must be present.

    Attendance for all meetings is recorded in the meeting minutes, including the participant name and constituency they represent. The recorder for the meeting is responsible for ensuring minutes are taken and posted. Due to the balanced makeup of the SD, "Preponderance of Influence" is not viewed as a substantive issue for the SD. The chair may cast a vote as a tie-breaker.

    In all circumstances, the SD can have no more than one presiding chair. All other SD members, act as regular voting members when not presiding. Unlike other HL7 technical committees or SIGs with multiple co-chairs, the chair shall not change within the course of a given meeting.

    Although any issue may be discussed within SD meeting venues at any time, binding actions cannot be taken without sufficient notification and quorum. Absence of either of these conditions allows the SD to issue recommendations that must subsequently be ratified by the SD subject to satisfying constraints placed upon binding decisions.

  7. Decisions made by the Steering Division are reached using a simple majority vote. Votes are cast on behalf of the represented committees and SIGs (one vote per committee or SIG) by one of the Co-chairs of those committees in attendance. The SD will always strive for consensus in decision-making.

    While decisions are made by simple majority vote, the SD shall endeavor to make its decisions via a consensus process. For a decision to be called consensus, it must receive two-thirds (66%) majority support. While determining if consensus is being reached, a variety of techniques may be used informally to assess the position of the group, including but not limited to straw poll, Robert's Rules of Order, seeking response to a hypothetical opposing view, and polling each participant to voice their position on the issue.

    When formal votes are taken voting shall always be by committee. For non-binding decisions only, all meeting participants may have the opportunity to vote at the discretion of the chair.

    Once voted, quorum is revisited to adjust for abstentions. Quorum must be met across yeah-s and neah-s for the vote to carry.

    It is recognized that revisiting previously made decisions inhibits SD progress and should be discouraged. That said, circumstances might exist that warrant re-opening of discussion on a previously visited issue. To dissuade this practice, such re-opening requires a formal motion, second, and simple majority affirmative vote of the SD as subject to the quorum rules in this document; however, in order for the decision to be considered binding, advance notification, as defined in this document, is required

  8. SD committees and SIGs none of whose Co-chairs are able to participate in SD activities in person may not do so by proxy.

    The Steering Division does not recognize voting by proxy. There is ample opportunity to support or oppose proposals under consideration through SD Wiki discussions, email and conference calls. If a member feels strongly enough about a particular topic to want consideration by the SD, that member shall be present for the topic to be considered. The chair will be sensitive and considerate in attempting to accommodate schedules to ensure the member can be present at the appropriate venue.

    Statement of Position. Those HL7 members wishing to establish a position on a topic under consideration by the SD in writing may do so subject to the notification requirements below. Statements of Position received prior-to or during the meeting will be shared by the chair as part of the discussion on the related topic. The chair has the responsibility to voice and represent these positions during relevant discussion, though they are not under obligation to support or defend them. These statements do not carry the weight of a vote and are included as informational items only for consideration by the SD. All Statements of Position received in electronic form will be included as attachments to the minutes.

  9. The SD shall rely upon Robert's Rules of Order in the event that formal guidance is needed or requested.

    The SD intends to ensure the effective and active engagement of all participants. To ensure fair and just participation, the SD shall follow its documented decision-making practices, falling-back upon Roberts Rules of Order in the event of a question or concern. Since Robert's Rules of Order provides formalism for addressing almost all matters of process, this provides a "backup mechanism" of formality in the event that it is required.

    It is the responsibility of the chair to guide the SD to an efficient and effective outcome. The SD shall follow, in this order of precedence, these Decision-making Practices (which cannot conflict with HL7 Policies and Procedures or the HL7 Bylaws), HL7 Policies and Procedures, the HL7 Bylaws, and Robert's Rules of Order. SD-established decision-making practices can refine the HL7 Policies and Procedures and Bylaws so long as they remain in accordance with those documents.

    In the event that an issue arises where formality is required and other guidance exists, Robert's Rules of Order shall take precedence. This provides a "common denominator" to keep in-check the power of the chair and to confirm the rights of all SD members.


Quorum Examples

NOTE: QUORUM EXAMPLES HAVE NOT BEEN REVISED FOR SD USE Based upon PIC's Decision Making Practices Document version 1.3, adopted December 1, 2003.

  1. Simple scenario
    6 persons, including two elected subgroup representatives , attend a meeting, including the chair (or their designate).

    Quorum is established and the TSC can conduct its business as usual. All participants are eligible for voting;

  2. Tie scenario
    6 persons, including two elected subgroup representatives,attend a meeting, including the chair (or their designate).

    Quorum is established and the TSC can conduct its business as usual. In the event of a tie this will not constitute a consensus decision, because the consensus majority (66%) criterion has not been met.

  3. Non-representative scenario
    6 persons, not including two elected subgroup representatives, including the chair (or their designate).

    Quorum is not established and the TSC cannot conduct official business, because two members representing an elected subgroup are not present.

Below is a quick reference for meeting configurations. (Note: this table does not have a direct correlation to the scenarios above.) .

Member Designation 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Chair or Designate 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Elected subgroup representatives 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
Other Voting TSC members 3 2 2 4 3 2 5 4 1
Is a Quorum established? No No Yes No Yes Yes No Yes No