The decision-making process is part of the plan development process, and must follow the analytical rigour established by ss32 and 32AA evaluation reports (which require a robust analysis in preparing Plans) comparing alternative methods for achieving the same objectives and policies. There is no single recipe to achieving s32 compliance in a cost and time-effective manner. However, there are some good practice techniques:
The requirements of ss32 and 32AA must be fully integrated with the process of making decisions on submissions - this requires careful and considered planning, particularly as to how to record the process
Preparation is essential: as well as having decision-makers read all relevant material, briefing sessions before hearings are another good method for defining and analysing issues
A clear analysis of issues and options should be available to assist a focused and rigorous debate, particularly with the larger, controversial or more complex issues (a function usually served by reports)
Minimise the time between hearings and decision-making
Some documentation of the decision-making process needs to be made, particularly over areas of controversy and/or disagreement with report recommendations. This could be achieved as minutes and/or as part of the written decision
Debate should be managed well, under a chair who can impose some rigour on the direction of debate and analysis.