Why are investigations needed?

Before you can carry out a disciplinary you need to investigate the situation to find out all the facts and take statements from any witnesses.  Similarly if you are hearing a grievance, you need to investigate what the employee has told you before you can reach a decision.  It’s all about fairness and making sure that any decision or action you take is based on good reason.  In employment law decisions are taken on the balance of probability – that is, you don’t need absolute proof, you can decide what is most likely to have happened.  However, you still need to have carried out a fair investigation.

Why you might need external support

Independence.  You may want to use someone external to carry out the investigation so that it is seen as genuinely objective and not influenced in any way by internal managers.

Timeframe.  You may need the investigation completed quite quickly so that you can take an important decision, for example if you have an employee suspended on full pay who is awaiting a disciplinary at which it is likely he will be dismissed given the information you already have about the situation.  Your own staff may not have enough time to carry out the investigation as well as their normal work.

Resource/skills.  You may not have any staff available with the necessary skills to conduct an investigation.

Comments from clients

We brought Judith in to conduct an investigation into allegations of bullying. We felt we needed someone external and independent to do that. She interviewed 13 members of staff and produced signed statements in a consistent format. She then wrote a comprehensive report which summarised the situation, evaluated whether the alleged behaviours constituted bullying, compiled the evidence under appropriate headings, assessed the credibility of the witnesses, put forward options for resolving the situation and made recommendations as the investigator. We particularly valued the fact that all this was done within a week which enabled us to take prompt action.

Head of HR

We asked Judith to conduct an investigation into allegations against an employee which could potentially lead to a disciplinary. We wanted someone who was genuinely independent and objective. She interviewed 5 people, prepared their witness statements and drafted a comprehensive report very quickly. This meant we could move forward without delay. She came back to present the case at the disciplinary hearing and the decision making manager said she set it out so clearly that it was easy to make a decision. We were pleased with the speed and quality of her work and would recommend her.

Head of HR

I was pleased with the investigation that Judith carried out for me into serious allegations at a senior level. Her report was a really clear, thorough and efficiently delivered piece of work. Costings were clear from the outset and she delivered the work quickly, being flexible around availability of witnesses. I would be happy to use her again should the need arise.

Strategic Director