This is the seventh and final guide in our series of Good Decision-Making Guides for Public Bodies. Throughout these Guides we have highlighted what is best practice in decision-making and have offered simple and practical tips to reduce the risk of challenge to your decisions.

In this final Guide, we provide a list of the bare essentials for making a decision. You can use this list as a starting point for making decisions and can adapt it to suit your organisation's decision-making process.

We hope you found this series useful. If you have any questions on any aspect of your organisation's decision-making procedures.


This checklist provides a starting point for making decisions. Adapt it as necessary.

Have you examined the source of your decision-making power to ascertain what you can and cannot do?
Have you considered the various steps in the decision-making process and planned how to act in a way that is procedurally fair at every stage?
Do you need to hold an oral hearing? If so, will you permit legal representation, the calling of witnesses, and cross-examination?
Can you delegate the power to make the decision?
Is the decision one that can be delegated?
Is the proposed delegatee someone of the appropriate level and seniority?
Have you considered whether any circumstances might give rise to a perception of bias?
Does the person who will be affected by the decision know the case against him/her?
Have you provided him/her with all the relevant material?
Have you given him/her a reasonable opportunity to make his/her case?
Have you afforded all sides the same rights?
Does your organisation have a policy/guideline on the issue in question?
Is the person who will be affected by your decision aware of the policy/guideline?
Have you directed your mind to the facts of the case and considered it on its merits?
Do you have all the information you need? Have you properly assessed this information?
Are the facts on which you propose to base your decision accurate and up to date?
Is your decision reasonable? Have you applied logical and rational principles?
Is your decision proportionate?
Have you complied with any specific legal or procedural requirements?
Have you given reasons for your final decision? Do the reasons refer to the facts of the case and any policy/guideline you relied on?
Are the reasons clear and intelligible?
Have you maintained a written record of:

  1. all steps taken and all communications with the parties involved;
  2. the factors that influenced your decision and the factors you considered irrelevant;
  3. the reasons you departed from a policy/guideline (if relevant);
  4. all decisions made and the reasons for making those decisions?

This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.