When an investigation is required it is critical to ensure that all the relevant facts and information are taken into account, confidentiality is maintained, the investigator is objective and the investigation report is fair. A fair grievance or disciplinary process will be impeded by an investigation report that is not clear, comprehensive, fair and objective.
How It Works
Conclusions flow from the evidence and are made on a balance of probability taking all the evidence into consideration. An investigation report has no room for opinion or influence. If recommendations are required they flow from the conclusions and are in line with you policies.
Terms of Reference
The commissioning manager and investigator confirm terms of reference to include the allegations, names and contact details of witnesses to be interviewed, indicative timescale for completion, whether recommendations are required, brief background of the case and supply of the relevant company policies.
The investigator will meet each witness (online or in person) to take a statement. Statements will be confirmed as an accurate account of the meeting and returned, signed, to the investigator. It may be necessary for witnesses to be interviewed more than once as new information comes to light.
The investigator will write up a draft report with appendices (copies of signed statements, policies, any other written evidence) and conclusions of the investigation and submit this to the commissioning manager.
The commissioning manager may direct on style and tone of the report, not the content or conclusions.
The commissioning manager will decide on the next steps.
If required the investigator will make recommendations for remedial action such as coaching, mediation, mentoring or training for one or more of the individuals interviewed. Because of the way evidence is gathered the investigator will often be in a position to detect where these actions would be beneficial.
Benefits of using SCD People Solutions as your investigator
An objective and fresh pair of eyes will not be influenced by irrelevant facts such as seniority of the witnesses, prior knowledge of the case or witnesses, any rumour or hearsay. Only what is relevant will be included in the investigation report.
Internal investigators often find juggling the availability of witnesses with other responsibilities results in the investigation taking longer than is necessary.
Investigating employment disputes is a learned skill that develops over time and with different types of dispute. Use us to leverage wide-ranging, extensive skill and experience.
Why would we use an external investigator when an internal manager could do this?
The investigation report is an important document in the dispute resolution process and an incomplete or biased investigation can unnecessarily prolong completion of a case. If you want to keep the investigation in house you should ensure you have a suitably experienced and objective manager who can free up their time to conduct an investigation.
I don’t want to participate in an investigation, do I have do?
All employment contracts imply a term of mutual trust and confidence and the performance of reasonable management instructions. You are expected to give evidence of what you have seen or heard to the investigator. You are not expected to interpret this in any way.
Can an investigation happen when one or more of the witnesses is off sick?
Depending on the reasons for the absence participating with an investigation may aid recovery, particularly if the illness is stress or anxiety linked to the case. Absence unrelated to the investigation would not automatically prevent participation, the witness would be contacted by the investigator who would sensitively explore the availability of the witness.
I’m happy to give a statement but don’t want to appear as a witness at a hearing?
A person who is facing allegations has the right to challenge the case against them. This includes asking questions of witnesses to clarify their evidence. The chair of a hearing will make a decision, on the balance of probability, which evidence they prefer. This will often be done by exchange of email and you may not be required to attend a hearing.