9. The investigation

  • Complete an investigation plan:
    • 1.terms of reference e.g. scope of the complaint, what needs to be investigated, what action is requested, method of providing response
    • 2.act promptly and establish time frame
    • 3.check other policies (e.g. bullying and harassment) to see whether they affect the level/scope of the investigation
    • 4.what evidence needs to be collected and from whom?
  • The plan helps keep things on track/under control
  • How much/what investigation is required depends on the band of reasonable responses test
  • Not all allegations, statements or assertions need to be investigated
  • Anonymity for complainant – only where exceptional circumstances e.g. fear of violence
  • As little disclosure of the grievance particulars as possible
  • Remind all involved of strict confidentiality (potentially issue express management instruction)
  • Keep notes of all meetings and conversations – potentially disclosable in litigation and/or under a Subject Access Request (SAR)
  • Collate all non-witness evidence e.g. emails, CCTV, records etc
  • Keep returning to the specific terms of the grievance.
  • At each interview state:
    • 1.Who is present and why
    • 2.Your role as an investigator
    • 3.Purpose of the meeting
    • 4.Need for confidentiality during the process and after
    • 5.Who may see the interviewee’s witness statement
  • Use a notetaker
  • Use open questions where possible
  • Ask witness to agree statement
  • Keep contemporaneous notes