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Conducting Investigations

Conducting an investigation, especially involving a complex complaint, can be very stressful for the investigator and all the other parties involved. It can have lasting damaging effects on working relationships as team members get drawn in to taking sides. This can be greatly exacerbated by using an inappropriate or inexperienced investigator. The consequences are often that the investigation takes a long time to resolve and issues are aggravated rather than resolved.

Using an experienced external investigator can help to alleviate many of these issues

We can provide a dedicated, experienced investigator who is clearly objective to all parties and who can carry out the investigation quickly, in a fair and professional manner. All our investigators have a thorough understanding of employment law, will be experienced practitioners, and will also provide advice to assist the employer should the case be taken to an Employment Tribunal.


There are times when formal procedures are appropriate, for example when there is a complaint of harassment or bullying. In these situations it can be very difficult to conduct a fair investigation using a member of your current management team.

There are cases where investigating disciplinary matters and harassment complaints in house using company employees is the fairest most effective approach. However there are cases, often the more complex ones, where this can present some challenges. For example finding an investigator who;

  • Is objective and detached from the issue.
  • Does not have close relationships with either the complainant or the subject of the investigation.
  • Can be released from their normal duties at short notice to do it.
  • Has sufficient recent experience of doing an investigation to approach it confidently.
  • Has the level of independence and personal organisation to carry it out.
  • Has the right personal qualities and is also on the right level in the organisation to be seen as acceptable to all parties involved.

Experienced External Investigator

Using an experienced external investigator can help to alleviate many of these issues, for example:

  • All parties can respect the integrity of the process.
  • The investigator will be experienced and professional and thorough in their approach.
  • They will have time to address the matter promptly and the experience to conduct it at a reasonable pace.
  • They will have the sensitivity/experience to recommend where stopping the process and trying something else like mediation might solve the problem before damaging relationships further.
  • They will have the knowledge and experience to stand up and present themselves articulately at an Employment Tribunal if this is required.
  • They will have knowledge of the law to enable them to identify where there needs to be a suspension or other action taken to protect the employer.
  • They can recognise where employees are suffering significant stress and recommend supportive measures in line with the organisation’s duty of care.
  • By carrying out the investigation professionally and sensitively they can minimise damage to relationships between employees.
  • By being involved in cases in a variety of organisations and having a current knowledge of these type of issues they are able to accurately benchmark appropriate reactions and make sound recommendations.
  • By conducting the investigation effectively and quickly (thus allowing company employees to carry on with their normal duties) save the organisation money.