Internal reviews in the infringements system – this page is one of a series of information sheets providing standards of best practice and guidance for enforcement agencies.
Ten decision making principles
The following ten principles help to ensure that discretion is exercised properly. These principles are modified from the Ombudsman Western Australia Guidelines, Exercise of discretion in administrative decision making.
1. Determine that the decision maker has power
Check the relevant legislation, agency policies and guidelines, to ensure that the person making the decision has the power to act or decide. This ensures the decision is lawful.
2. Follow statutory and administrative procedures
It is important that the person who is responsible for exercising discretion follows statutory and administrative procedures.
3. Gather information and establish the facts
Before making a decision, gather information and establish the facts. Some facts might be submitted with an application made to the decision maker. Others might be obtained through inquiries or investigation. This may involve using the power to request further information from the applicant.
4. Evaluate the evidence
Consider relevant evidence and not irrelevant matters to assist you to determine all the facts. Ensure that you give adequate weight to a matter of importance but do not give excessive weight to a matter that is of no great importance.
5. Consider the principles of administrative law to be applied
Internal reviews are administrative matters where the decision must be made reasonably, objectively, and in accordance with administrative law principles. The administrative law principles include lawfulness, procedural fairness, independence and impartiality, transparency, efficiency and rationality.
6. Act reasonably, fairly and without bias
Ensure that the decision maker acts impartially and does not handle matters in which they have an actual or reasonably perceived conflict of interest.
7. Observe the rules of procedural fairness
Before making decisions, the decision maker may be required to provide procedural fairness to anyone who is likely to be adversely affected by the outcome.
8. Consider the merits of the case and make a judgement
Although policies, previous decisions and court and tribunal decisions may guide the decision maker, it is still important to consider the matter or application on its merits and to make a judgement about the matter under consideration.
9. Keep parties informed, advise of the outcome and provide reasons for the decision
The decision maker should keep relevant parties informed during the decision-making process; they should inform the relevant parties of the outcome; and provide reasons for the decision reached.
10. Create and maintain records
It is vital that records are created and maintained about the issues that were considered in the process, the weight given to the evidence and the reasons for the decisions made.
The information contained on this page is general guidance intended for enforcement agencies. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. Agencies should obtain their own legal advice to ensure that their internal review practices are legally compliant.