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​Principles of Good Administration

Acting fairly and proportionately

Public bodies should always deal with people fairly and with respect. They should be prepared to listen to their customers and avoid being defensive when things go wrong.

Public bodies should treat people equally and impartially. They should understand and respect the diversity of their customers and ensure equal access to services and treatment regardless of background or circumstance.

The actions and decisions of a public body should be free from any personal bias or interests that could prejudice those actions and decisions, and any conflict of interests should be declared. Public bodies should not act in a way that unlawfully discriminates against or unjustifiably favours particular individuals or interests.

People should be treated fairly and consistently, so that those in similar circumstances are dealt with in a similar way. Any difference in treatment should be justified by the individual circumstances of the case.

When taking decisions, and particularly when imposing penalties, public bodies should behave reasonably and ensure that the measures taken are proportionate to the objectives pursued, appropriate in the circumstances and fair to the individuals concerned.

If applying the law, regulations or procedures strictly would lead to an unfair result for an individual, the public body should seek to address the unfairness. In doing so public bodies must, of course, bear in mind the proper protection of public funds and ensure they do not exceed their legal powers.