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Literature review on decision-making in private

Professional Standards Authority (PSA) publish a literature review commissioned from Dr Paul Sanderson to contribute to their ongoing work on the reform of regulation, particularly fitness to practise proceedings.

PSA asked Dr Sanderson to look at what the academic literature on decision-making tells us about the consequences of decisions generally being taken in a more private context. PSA asked him to identify from the wider literature potential risks or benefits to the public, from a shift to greater use of consensual disposal of fitness to practise cases and other agreed outcomes. (Consensual disposal means that the registrant consents to the regulator’s decision about the facts of a case and the outcome without a full hearing in public.)

Dr Sanderson’s review yields fascinating insights and highlights areas for further consideration. These include that:

  • while private hearings may allow decision-makers to consider a broader range of options
  • in a public context decision-makers may strive to perform better in their role.

He highlights of course the importance of context in understanding his findings and points to the need for empirical research to understand the application of the academic literature to actual processes and outcomes in fitness to practise.

The report is available on the PSA website.

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