[Owasp-board] OWASP Whistleblower Policy Updates

Andrew van der Stock vanderaj at owasp.org
Thu Nov 13 04:57:48 UTC 2014


The policy is big on keeping things confidential. Now I do think this can
be helpful to diffuse hot tempers, but is it actually necessary? I am happy
if this is a policy that is adopted from a formal DRP or whistleblowers
policy, and that's the norm for this type of policy.

Time limits. It always seems like Australia is a breeding ground for bush
lawyers, but one of the issues we had over the last three years is a sports
doping scandal. The regulator took a very long time to come to a
conclusion. Should the policy put in guidelines for timely conclusions? I
would like to see all investigations investigated and finalised within 90
days to be fair on the person being investigated as well as provide a timly
outcome for those whose complaints are upheld. Is this possible and still
maintain quality of results?

Lastly, I think "neutrality" is a good goal, but independence is the word I
think you mean when the policy says "neutral". The compliance officer not
only needs to be independent, so as to enable investigations where
Foundation or Board members are the complainants or the subject of an
investigation, but also they need to be strong enough to resist efforts to
compromise their independence, such as limiting scope of investigations
(such as restricting the time or the nature of the complaint). I strongly
feel that the Compliance Officer should be able to set their own terms of
reference and run the complaints process without interference.

Andrew

On Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 3:03 PM, Josh Sokol <josh.sokol at owasp.org> wrote:

> 1. The compliant officers role as neutral conciliator / mediator
>> It might be people hesitate in filing an official complaint, as this is a
>> harsh measure, and reaching out to the compliant officer as neutral party
>> in an not yet escalated conflict.
>> The current policy does not describe this possibility, it comes close to "IV.
>> Commitment to Peaceful Conflict Resolution", but without filing an
>> official compliant.
>> This could be in chapter "IX. Compliance Officer".
>> Q: is this part of the compliant officers role?
>>
>
> I *think* what you're talking about is under section III. Initiating an
> Informal Complaint.  The ED, Board, and Compliance Officer are all
> identified in this paragraph as possible contacts for informal complaints.
>
> 2. Early notification of the compliant officer in case of serious
>> complaints.
>> As reason history has shown actions of investigation should been handed
>> to the investigation soon possible. It might not be part of the
>> Whistelblower Policy, but can we find an agreement any serious complaints
>> the board or a board member has received, the Compliant Officer should be
>> notified about early, before escalation!
>>
>
> I agree that the Board needs to work with the Compliance Officer to
> discuss serious complaints as early as possible.  I think that what you are
> referring to here is basically the difference between an informal and a
> formal complaint.  At the stage of an informal complaint, the goal is to
> resolve the conflict with those that the conflict involves.  I have no
> argument either for or against involving the Compliance Officer at this
> stage.  But once we get to the formal complaint stage, then I think that
> the Compliance Officer becomes the key player in the conflict resolution
> process.
>
> In general, I think the role, responsibility of the Compliance Officer
>> should be expressed in more clearly. As the independence of the board.
>>
>
> Maybe you could provide an example wording for what you would like to see
> changed here?  This is effectively what I was going with under section IX
> when I say "The Compliance Officer is empowered to conduct their
> investigations in isolation of the Board in order to maintain neutrality,
> but are free to involve members of the Board as necessary.  It is solely
> the Compliance Officer’s charge to determine whether or not a complaint can
> be considered valid for investigation though any individual may submit a
> complaint as noted above."
>
> ~josh
>
> On Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 5:07 PM, Martin Knobloch <
> martin.knobloch at owasp.org> wrote:
>
>> Josh, et all,
>>
>> Two questions from my side as current developments raised this.
>>
>> 1. The compliant officers role as neutral conciliator / mediator
>> It might be people hesitate in filing an official complaint, as this is a
>> harsh measure, and reaching out to the compliant officer as neutral party
>> in an not yet escalated conflict.
>> The current policy does not describe this possibility, it comes close to "IV.
>> Commitment to Peaceful Conflict Resolution", but without filing an
>> official compliant.
>> This could be in chapter "IX. Compliance Officer".
>> Q: is this part of the compliant officers role?
>>
>> 2. Early notification of the compliant officer in case of serious
>> complaints.
>> As reason history has shown actions of investigation should been handed
>> to the investigation soon possible. It might not be part of the
>> Whistelblower Policy, but can we find an agreement any serious complaints
>> the board or a board member has received, the Compliant Officer should be
>> notified about early, before escalation!
>>
>> In general, I think the role, responsibility of the Compliance Officer
>> should be expressed in more clearly. As the independence of the board.
>>
>> Cheers,
>> -martin
>>
>> On Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 7:40 PM, Josh Sokol <josh.sokol at owasp.org> wrote:
>>
>>> Based on the feedback I received from Martin, I made a few changes to
>>> the Whistleblower policy that I had previously sent out.  Please review
>>> when you have a chance and feel free to provide feedback either via comment
>>> or by responding back to this e-mail.  Here is the link:
>>>
>>>
>>> https://docs.google.com/a/owasp.org/document/d/1OwoHQtNGWxpr2qgSGbTqCRJJYLayh5d8zvzxoh2Cnqk/edit
>>>
>>> Thanks!
>>>
>>> ~josh
>>>
>>
>>
>
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