Conducting fair investigations

dreamstime_l_45561129This is a course for managers who may be asked to conduct disciplinary investigations. It explains what makes a fair investigation – and why that matters. It also looks the process of investigating alleged misconduct and outlines a methodical approach that is both fair and effective.

Course outline

Welcome and Introductions

  • Setting objectives for the day

The Legal Background

  • Unfair Dismissal – acting reasonably
  • Natural justice
  • The Acas Code of Practice

Preliminary stages

  • When is an investigation needed?
  • What is an investigation for?
  • Defining the scope of the investigation
  • Planning and timescales


  • When is suspension appropriate?
  • Alternatives to suspension
  • Potential pitfalls

Witness evidence

  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Reluctant witnesses
  • Confidentiality and anonymity
  • Hearsay, gossip and rumour
  • Interviewing the employee – the right to be accompanied
  • Recording interviews
  • Preparing a witness statement or record of interview

 Documentary and physical evidence

  • Gathering documents and other evidence
  • Privacy and data protection
  • Evidence from social media
  • Covert evidence – CCTV footage and recorded conversations

Putting together a report

  • What is the purpose of the investigation report?
  • Key elements of a report
  • How long should it be?
  • Framing your conclusions
  • What can go wrong?

Handling difficult issues

  • Dealing with stress-related absence
  • Grievances raised during investigation
  • Criminal allegations –when to involve the police
  • Safeguarding investigations

Preparing for Tribunal

  • What a Tribunal wants to know about an investigation
  • Preparing your own witness statement
  • Giving evidence in a Tribunal

Final Questions and Round-up