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Right First Time: a practical guide for public authorities to decision-making and the law - second edition

Right First Time is a practical guide for public authorities in Scotland to decision-making and the law.


The decision-making process

The process will begin with you getting ready to make a decision (or a recommendation to Ministers, a board or senior official) by sizing up and scoping out the task in front of you. You will move to gathering and analysing facts, evidence, views and opinions to inform the decision. Having done that you will evaluate the options and take the decision (or make a recommendation). Finally, you will notify others of the decision that has been taken.

The story does not always end there, however, and the last step in this guide considers in detail how to respond to challenge, should your decision be contested through the courts.

Here is how the decision-making steps may unfold in a little more detail:

Step 1 | Preparing to decide

These questions are designed to make sure that you understand the law regulating your decision-making power. They are important – you will have to return again and again to these questions and the law at each step.

Step 2 | Process

This is the investigation and evidence gathering process which asks important questions about the way in which the decision is made. This step focusses on the procedure leading to the decision, not on the substance or merits of the decision itself.

Step 3 | Taking the decision

These questions are to make sure the substance of the decision will be respected by the courts.

Step 4 | Notifying others of the decision

Do you have to give reasons?

Step 5 | Responding to challenge

And what if the decision is ultimately challenged through the courts or in a tribunal? These questions will help you to understand the litigation process and some of the risks that this can present.

What does the legal jargon mean?

A glossary is provided to assist you as you navigate through the guide.

Contact

Email: ImprovingTogether@gov.scot

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