Adequacy of reasons
Brief reasons for a decision may not meet the requirements of the Public Service Act 2008 for advising an employee of the outcome of a conversion or higher duties appointment review. Merrell DP summarised the following elements to consider when providing reasons for a decision 1:
The adequacy of reasons of an administrative decision maker is to be tested by reference to the nature of the task which the decision maker had to undertake. The more significant the decision, the clearer the reasons should be.
It is not necessary for the decision maker to deal with every matter which was, or which may have been raised. It is enough that the findings and reasons deal with the substantial issues upon which the decision turned, such that a person aggrieved by the decision can understand why the decision went against him or her.
The decision maker is required to set out:
- his or her understanding of the relevant law
- any findings of fact upon which his or her conclusions depend, especially if those facts have been in dispute, and
- the reasoning processes which led him or her to those conclusions.
This should be done in clear and unambiguous language, not in vague generalities or the formal language of legislation.
References - QIRC case numbers