​Principles of Good Administration

Getting it right

All public bodies must comply with the law and have regard for the rights of those concerned. They should act according to their statutory powers and duties and any other rules governing the service they provide. They should follow their own policy and procedural guidance, whether published or internal.

Public bodies must act in accordance with recognised quality standards, established good practice or both, for example about clinical care.

In some cases a novel approach will bring a better result or service, and public bodies should be alert to this possibility. When they decide to depart from their own guidance, recognised quality standards or established good practice, they should record why.

Public bodies should provide effective services with appropriately trained and competent staff. They should plan carefully when introducing new policies and procedures. Where public bodies are subject to statutory duties, published service standards or both, they should plan and prioritise their resources to meet them.

In their decision making, public bodies should have regard to the relevant legislation. Decision making should take account of all relevant considerations, ignore irrelevant ones and balance the evidence appropriately.

Public bodies necessarily assess risks as part of taking decisions. They should, of course, spend public money with care and propriety. At the same time, when assessing risk, public bodies should ensure that they operate fairly and reasonably.