Resolve, Refine, and Document
While the Office may retain the ultimate authority to decide whether to proceed with an Action, it is important to support that decision with solid information. To this end, informed and effective decision-making is the ultimate objective of the consultation process. In some situations, the Office makes decisions throughout the consultation process. In others, the Office makes decisions only after the consultation process has concluded. No matter at what step the decisions are reached, it is always beneficial to document how that decision was arrived at and the role the consultation played in that decision. By doing so, the Office supplements its authority with the expertise from the NHC to better inform the Office’s decision-making. Whether the final decision aligns with or differs from the positions of the NHC, documenting and sharing this information is also an important tool in building trust with the NHC and securing their future participation and assistance.
When documenting decision-making, the Office may revise the Consultation Report and administrative record to:
Value Added: The notice of final decision and rationale should reflect the value added by the consultation process in order to validate the investment of time, effort and resources by the Office and the Native Hawaiian Community as well as encourage future Federal agency and Native Hawaiian Community engagement.