TSC Decision Making Practices

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This document was separated from the over-all TSC definition document to allow its amendment and adoption by the TSC. It documents the set of decision-making practices for the Technical Steering Committee (TSC), an elected and Board appointed Committee reporting to the HL7 Board. The TSC 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 TSC 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 TSC 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 persons registered on the TSC email list.
    • 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 TSC shall utilize two key venues to notify the interested membership of its activities: the TSC's Wiki site and the TSC's website.

    Satisfaction of minimal notification requirements dictates that relevant announcements/materials/etc. be posted to both the Wiki and the website. 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 TSC 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, TSC 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 TSC 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 TSC meeting. Recommendations by the informal group are not binding decisions until acted upon by the TSC.

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

    Minutes are recorded and posted for all TSC 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 TSC 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 TSC. Any TSC decisions are subject to the practices documented elsewhere in this paper.

  6. . Quorum for TSC meetings: For decision making, the chair (or designate) and at least five other TSC members must be present, including at least two of the four elected Steering Division representatives (or their alternates) . For direction setting, the chair (or designate) and at least four TSC members 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 TSC, "Preponderance of Influence" is not viewed as a substantive issue for the TSC. The chair may cast a vote as a tie-breaker.

    In all circumstances, the TSC can have no more than one presiding chair. All other TSC 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 TSC meeting venues at any time, binding actions cannot be taken without sufficient notification and quorum. Absence of either of these conditions allows the TSC to issue recommendations that must subsequently be ratified by the TSC subject to satisfying constraints placed upon binding decisions.

  7. Decisions made by the Technical Steering Committee are reached using a simple majority vote. The TSC will always strive for consensus in decision-making.

    While decisions are made by simple majority vote, the TSC 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 appointed or elected TSC members shall always receive a vote. 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 TSC 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 TSC 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. TSC Members unable to participate in TSC activities in person may not do so by proxy.

    The Technical Steering Committee does not recognize voting by proxy. There is ample opportunity to support or oppose proposals under consideration through TSC Wiki discussions, email and conference calls. If a member feels strongly enough about a particular topic to want consideration by the TSC, 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.

    Note: The four TSC members who serve as Representatives of a Steering Division each have an elected Alternate Representative who can attend and vote in TSC meetings when the primary Representative is unable to attend. Votes by Alternate Representatives are not deemed to be proxy votes.

    Statement of Position. Those HL7 members wishing to establish a position on a topic under consideration by the TSC 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 TSC. All Statements of Position received in electronic form will be included as attachments to the minutes.

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

    The TSC intends to ensure the effective and active engagement of all participants. To ensure fair and just participation, the TSC 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 TSC to an efficient and effective outcome. The TSC 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. TSC-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 TSC members.

Quorum Examples

Based upon PIC's Decision Making Practices Document version 1.3, adopted December 1, 2003.

  1. Simple scenario
    6 persons, including two elected Steering Division 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 Steering Division 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 Steering Division representatives, including the chair (or their designate).

    Quorum is not established and the TSC cannot conduct official business, because two members representing a Steering Division 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 Steering Division 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