Establishing and Evaluating External Relationships

The decision to establish a formal relationship with an external organization is the responsibility of the Executive Board. The Executive Board may delegate the oversight of the relationship, including responsibility for appointment of the delegate or liaison, to a department, division, or individual.

The following factors are to be considered in establishing and evaluating formal relationships with outside organizations.  Each relationship should be reviewed annually using a standardized format that reflects these criteria.

Criteria Description Rating range*
Benefits to ISA The relationship must be consistent with and support the Society mission.
Examples of jointly supported activities that would be appropriate:  symposia, standards development, publications, educational programs, reciprocal individual memberships
0 – 50 points
Impact to ISA image & brand Activity may improve the visibility of ISA in new communities/markets including the opportunity to interface with representatives from other like organizations 0 – 25 points
Consequence of not participating ISA’s standing in the technical community may be negatively impacted by choosing not to participate with other organizations. 0 – 10 points
ISA Resources required Adequate resources (volunteer, staff and financial) are available to support the approved level of activity.
This could include any membership dues in the organization, travel support, staff time or other direct costs.
0 – 15 points
Other organization’s tax exempt status Relationships with incorporated, not-for-profit, tax exempt organizations pose less risk to ISA’s own tax status, and may be appropriate for a Delegate appointment where ISA may participate in decisions of the other organization. If the organization is not tax exempt, then only a Liaison relationship is allowed. Yes or No

* Rating points are guidance for comparative evaluation, if needed.

Types of Relationships and Responsibilities

There are two types of relationships the Society may establish with other organizations: delegate and liaison. Each appointment will be classified as delegate or liaison to identify the responsibility and authority of the appointee even if the position has another title within the external organization.

Individuals considered for appointment in either of these capacities must be members of ISA (automation affiliate, automation community, and student membership is not sufficient). They should be knowledgeable and active in ISA affairs, have held positions of responsibility in ISA, have recognized expertise or qualifications in the relevant field, and have an appropriate status within ISA to meet the requirements of the external organization.

Appointments are for specified terms, but may be renewed as permitted by ISA and the external organization.

Any funding to outside organizations requires Executive Board approval and must be included in the annual Society budget process.

The following defines the extent of responsibility and authority of the Society’s appointees serving as delegates or liaisons. Additional guidance may be provided by the appointing body when deemed appropriate for the specific organization and relationship.

Delegate Relationship

This is the strongest of the Society external contacts. A delegate may be empowered by the appointing department or Executive Board to commit previously approved ISA funds, to endorse policies developed by the external organizations which might affect ISA, and to cast an ISA vote in the external organizations.

Liaison Relationship

The liaison may attend meetings of the other organization, exchange information, further mutual understanding between ISA and the external organizations, or advise the external organization of a confirmed position of ISA, but shall not vote on or bind ISA to a policy or decision of the outside organization.

Delegate and Liaison Responsibilities

  1. Appointees shall have the necessary funding and support to attend relevant ISA meetings and appropriate meetings of the external organization. Unless specifically included in the ISA budget, no funding is provided to support an appointee’s participation.
  2. Appointees shall participate in any action taken, by vote or otherwise, following the specific guidance given them by the appointing body, ensuring the action is consistent with ISA policies and is in the best interest of ISA.
  3. Care shall be taken that any actions of external organizations do not bind ISA to a third party obligation such as a venue or other contract.
  4. Appointees shall avoid any statement or action criticizing individuals, firms, products or services. If the outside organization is voting on a criticizing statement, the Society’s external contact must request that a negative ISA vote be recorded in the minutes. An abstention or unrecorded negative vote is insufficient to protect the Society.
  5. Appointees shall not endorse any product or service of the external organization in the name of ISA.
  6. Any actions which could be construed as a restraint of trade or other antitrust law violation shall be avoided. This means all meetings shall be open with no attendance restrictions. Costs and pricing of third party products or services shall not be discussed. The ISA appointee shall leave any meeting and have his or her absence recorded if these issues arise. Activities involving the establishment or review of standards shall be heavily scrutinized by the ISA appointee or other appropriate party(ies) before involving ISA in the activity.
  7. The appointee must report to the respective appointing body on their activities as developments warrant, but no less than once each year. Reports must include any organizational highlights of the year, an assessment of the relationship as related to the criteria listed above, and a recommendation to continue, modify or terminate the relationship.

Delegate and Liaison Appointment Process

Below are the guidelines for the appointment of delegates and liaisons to support approved external relationships on behalf of ISA.

  1. Appointments shall be for a specific term of office as appropriate for the relationship. Appointees will normally not serve longer than six consecutive years.
  2. Delegate appointments are to be approved by the Executive Board, unless authority is assigned to a department.
  3. Liaison appointments may be approved by the assigned department, if authorized by the Executive Board
  4. A Society appointee may be replaced for the remainder of the term at any time by the appointing department or officer when the contact fails to or becomes unable to fulfill the duties.
  5. A Society appointee may resign at any time and the appointing department or person will appoint a successor to fulfill the remainder of the term.

ISA staff shall maintain a listing of all external relationships, the current appointees, and the group or individual responsible for nominating and approving each appointee.

Oversight of External Relationships

Evaluation of external relationships should be completed annually and in sufficient time to incorporate any requested funding in the Society annual budget process. The evaluation should be reviewed by the assigned department and any change to the nature of the relationship be submitted to the Executive Board for approval.