Members asked for more focus on public benefit. We have responded by increasing funding and supporting a range of new initiatives that contribute to a more connected, inclusive and secure world. A review of funding will ensure Nominet’s reputation for delivering public benefit at scale is restored.
Nominet is committed to delivering public benefit, supporting the digital economy and tackling the challenges young people face in a digital age. In the last financial year, public benefit spend doubled, and in the first six months of 2021 we awarded grants of over £3.6m for activities under our social impact programme, addressing challenges including digital access, internet safety, countering online harm, digital skills and critical digital services. A review is underway to ensure funding is always set at an appropriate level. Earlier this year we committed a minimum of 10% of revenues each year and allocated a £25m fund from Nominet’s reserves.
Members asked for greater involvement in public benefit spending. We responded by setting up Nominet Members GiveHub which is a £600k annual fund for good causes suggested by our members.
This is a new programme to ensure members are able to engage with the work we do at Nominet in our charitable initiatives, making a real difference to people’s lives through supporting projects that focus on being connected, inclusive and secure. Through the GiveHub, members can nominate charities that mean the most to them for grant funding. There will be up to 10 grants made each month up to a total value of £50,000, and the awards will be decided by a panel of member volunteers. GiveHub launches on 2nd August 2021.
In response to members’ concerns about the levels of board and executive pay we have made changes that will reduce overall remuneration for senior executives moving forward. A full review of remuneration policy will ensure Nominet can attract the talent we need at a reasonable cost.
The Long Term Incentive scheme (LTI) has been closed, leading to reduced remuneration overall for senior executives in future. Board pay remains frozen until 2022 and benchmarks for executive compensation have been reviewed.
This remuneration review will be led by Non-Executive Director Eva Lindqvist, who has considerable experience in this area.
A review will examine the level of pricing for .UK domains. Action was taken earlier this year to freeze pricing until 2023.
The review of .UK domain pricing will take into consideration a number of important factors, including an analysis of the long-term cost base to ensure we keep running the .UK Registry efficiently, responsibly and securely for the benefit of our members, stakeholders and customers.
We have made a number of changes and commitments to increase transparency and dialogue with members, and a review led by the new Chair will consider how member feedback is factored into Nominet’s decision-making.
In response to feedback asking for more time for discussion between the Board and membership, we increased the frequency of member calls to monthly; the Members Hub helps members access information that’s important and relevant to them in one place; we are establishing a new member forum - a member-run community for members to air their views both to us and between themselves; and most recently we have announced Nominet Members' GiveHub (see above), giving members the ability to nominate a charity that’s important to them to receive a grant from a monthly fund of £50,000.
An in-depth and independent research programme seeking views from all members and stakeholders on a range of topics.
After the EGM, the Board put the Listening Process in place to capture the opinions and perspectives of members and stakeholders. The outcomes of the Listening Process - a major piece of research managed and operated by Savanta (a UK independent market research organisation) - will be compiled into a report for the Board and published by Nominet.
Many members want to be more closely involved in how .UK is run. In response, Nominet has set up the .UK Registry Advisory Council (UKRAC). The council is an advisory body elected and run by members.
The main purpose of the UKRAC is to create a clearer link between the membership and the company by giving members a greater voice in how the .UK Registry is run. Through this group the membership can propose, discuss, debate and advise on registry issues, including policy and pricing. The council is made up of a panel of six Nominet members, comprising two members representing large registrars, two from the mid/smaller segment, and two from the secondary market. As Chair of the Council, a member elected director will ensure strong links between the council and the Nominet Board.
A review is underway to examine appropriate levels of reserves and how to spend surplus funds.
One of the six reviews being introduced by the new Chair is to look into the reserve funds held by the company, and determine what a suitable level looks like, and a road map of how to achieve that. The review will take into account and consider options for using excess reserves in a way that contributes to maintaining the high levels of service expected from the .UK Registry, while being able to support the digital economy and continue to make sure that public benefit spending is set at the right level.
Non Registry Business
Members have questioned the increased scope of our activities beyond our core registry business. A review is underway on how to shape Nominet for the future.
We are reviewing non-registry related services to ensure that they have a clear purpose in terms of our overall strategy, will contribute to the strength of the business, and that they are aligned with the company’s articles. The Mergers and Acquisitions committee has been closed.
In response to members’ requests for increased transparency, we have made changes to how we share information.
Board reports are now published monthly after each meeting. From this financial year our accounts will set out the performance of each business unit separately. We have committed to publishing the independent report of the Listening Process, and we are updating members on findings after each phase.