Noting and Drafting Skills: Different Types of Noting
Working in the Indian government is virtually impossible unless you know how to write noting and drafting and have the right noting and drafting skills. The reason for this is that virtually everything involves either noting or drafting.
For instance, if you receive a case that needs action, then dealing with the case will begin by creating noting and end with drafting the final decision. This is why having noting and drafting skills at your disposal is so important.
Before everything else you need to know what type of noting you should put on the file. If every file in the office is seen as an issue or problem, noting can be seen as dialogue between officials on how to solve that issue or problem.
Since disposal of the case or the problem is the goal; your noting should be in accordance to the type of case you are dealing with. Different cases may require different actions for their disposal.
So, they naturally differ in the type and the quantity of noting they require. Keep in mind that knowing what type of noting to do is only one of the various noting and drafting skills you’ll need to excel at work.
Here’s a description of the type of cases you’ll usually see in the Government setup because they’ll define the type of noting you’ll be creating.
The issue and the rule position governing it is clear and usually doesn’t involve a very detailed examination. The course of action in such cases is well defined and established as they are frequently dealt with.
Handling of these cases involves a standard procedure which can easily be turned into a “standard process sheet”. A note template can then be developed with the standard check points.
The specific details of a particular case can be filled into this template note. A GPF sanction letter is a good example of a standard process sheet.
If some types of routine cases can be easily disposed of with a standard processing sheet, there are other cases that require no noting at all. For such cases you can simply put up a fair reply without bothering about the noting.
Correspondence Handling Cases
These are the type of cases that will most likely not require you to bring your full noting and drafting skills to bear. The reason is that they can generally be disposed of by simple exchanges of communication.
A paragraph of noting usually suffices to dispose of correspondence handling cases. Here, the noting states the information about the correspondence received and the reply to be sent.
To deal with correspondence handling cases, you should add knowledge about the different forms of communication to your repertoire of noting and drafting skills.
Noting and Drafting Skills for Problem Solving and Policy and Planning Cases
Like the name suggests, these types of cases involve dealing with a problem, creation, or implementation of a new policy. Since a problem can be solved in more ways than one, these are the types of cases that require a good amount of noting.
In fact, these cases are can be so complicated that even the most accomplished officers with the best noting and drafting skills in the department can have trouble with them. This could mean that you don’t see these cases as often as the routine and correspondence handling cases.
However, you should try to perfect your noting and drafting skills in the off chance that these types of cases get assigned to you. If this happens, you need to ensure that your noting is detailed and that the case is properly examined.
Here are some things you should include in a note for a problem solving case:
You have to start your note by describing the exact nature of your case and the matter it focuses on. This will include details about the people, departments or ministries involved along with any other factors that may play an important part.
You should also mention how the problem came to you. If it’s not apparent why your office is dealing with the problem, then you should explain that here as well.
Stating the problem clearly and correctly will give context against which you will base the rest of your note. As is evident a large part of this process depends on how good your noting and drafting skills really are.
In this section of the note, you should talk about why this particular problem has arisen. This will give additional information about the problem and add to its understanding. Sometimes, the cause of the problem might be apparent but sometimes it may not be.
If not, you may have to look into the file for it or even try to find it outside the file. It is important that all the information required to understand a problem on the file be provided in the noting.
Rule/Policy and Precedence:
This step needs due diligence as Government rules can get technical and details critical. In some cases, you will find that the causes and the solutions both lie here as well.
What the precedence tells you and whether the same is applicable here is also something you need to decide at this step. In a lot of situations, rule and policies may also present restrictions to many of the solutions that you may come up with.
This can make the noting process complicated and challenge your noting and drafting skills. However, a thorough study of the rules and careful reproduction of the relevant parts in the noting can go a long way in simplifying the process.
After talking about what the problem is, why it has come up, and what are the policies regarding it, it is finally time for you to give your suggestions on how to solve it. This will be the culmination or the crowning glory of all your hard work. It is here that all your efforts and noting and drafting skills will bear fruit.
When you’re providing solutions, keep in mind that one problem can have more than one solution and it’s your job to list them in the note. Listing more than one option shows that you have examined the issue carefully and from all angles. So, try to provide options in the noting.
Best Course of Action:
Now that you’ve listed all the possible solutions to the problem at hand, you need to take a step back and realize that all of them cannot be implemented. While you were exercising your noting and drafting skills, you should’ve recognized a solution that was better than all others.
You should point that one out in this section of the noting. If it’s unclear as to what the best course of action should be, you can ask yourself these questions:
- Is time an important factor? If yes, pick the fastest solution.
- Is money an issue here? It yes, pick the most financially sound solution.
At this stage, you’ve tackled the issue in depth, analyzed it from all angles, and offered the most efficient solution you could find. In other words, you’ve used all your noting and drafting skills to deal with your assignment.
This should be the concluding paragraph of your noting before you move on to drafting. It should briefly describe the expected outcome of your suggested solution. Keep in mind that when approval is needed in policy cases, this will be where you insert it.
In the end, you can finish the noting with proper polite regards and wishes which should already be a part of your noting and drafting skills.
What Next For Your Noting and Drafting Skills?
While it’s crucial to know how to work with different types of noting, it’s not the only thing. This was only a primer on the various types of noting that you can be expected to do in a government setup.
It is the basis on which your noting and drafting skills should be founded. You still have to learn guidelines for official noting and drafting and the right way to do drafting so that you can be the complete government employee.