Good decision-making and practices

Exercise of discretion in administrative decision-making

Officers in public authorities regularly make administrative decisions as part of delivering services to the public.  Sometimes the decision-maker is required to exercise discretion when making a decision.  Here, the decision-maker has a choice about whether to act or not act, to approve or not approve, or to approve with conditions.  The role of decision-maker is to make a judgement taking into account all relevant information. The guidelines promote ten key steps to be considered when exercising discretion.

For more information, see the Exercise of discretion in decision-making guideline.

Giving reasons for decisions

When a decision is made, there is at least one alternative decision that could have been made.  Giving reasons for a decision should enable the people affected by the decision to understand why a particular decision was made.

These guidelines set out why the giving of reasons is important and the type of information that should be included in the document containing a statement of reasons.

For more information, see the Giving reasons for decisions guideline.

Procedural fairness

Procedural fairness (sometimes also known as natural justice) is concerned with the procedures used by a decision-maker, rather than the final outcome they reach. It requires that fair and proper procedure be used when making a decision. It is considered to be highly likely that a decision-maker who follows a fair and proper procedure will make a fair and correct decision.

For more information on procedural fairness including the rules, how it affects the person affected by the decision, the investigator and the decision maker, see the Procedural fairness (natural justice) guidelines.

Good record keeping

Records tell the reader what, where and when something was done and why a decision was made. They also show who was involved and under what authority. They provide evidence of government and individual activity and promote accountability and transparency. Good record keeping procedures are imperative for public authorities. There are a number of requirements for good record keeping procedures.

For more information, see the Good record keeping guidelines.