1. DEFINE THE SCOPE AND TERMS OF REFERENCE
We will work with the client to define the scope of the investigation and prepare initial allegations or issues (Issues analysis) to be investigated. Clearly articulating the scope and allegations made in writing to the investigator is a high determinant of success for the investigation and the integrity that the investigation will bring out the right issues.
2. ANALYSE THE INFORMATION THAT’S AVAILABLE
The first step AnchorInvestigator will take is to thoroughly examine the information that’s available. In cases of a consumer complaint this may mean accessing and reviewing all the records and any evidence on either side and gaining a general understanding of the circumstances, reviewing organisation policies and processes, and any contributing issues that could have led up to the matter. Once the investigator has an understanding of the situation, using a root cause analysis fishbone plan, he or she will draw up a plan on how to proceed.
3. INTERVIEWING THE COMPLAINANT AND WITNESSES
After the AnchorInvestigator has discussed the situation in depth with the client, the next step is to interview the complainant, any witnesses to gather further information (or obtain this information via the organisation’s HR team). Interviews are conducted by phone, zoom or in person. All interviews will be recorded and a confirmation of those discussions shared to the interviewee to confirm they correctly reflect the information supplied.
Staff fact finding information will always follow the Provider’s HR processes to ensure the staff interviewees are offered the opportunity to have a support person present if they wish. Copies of records must be provided to individuals to check and confirm (ideally sign). In many investigations the initial interviews may reveal new or different information or additional leads. If this is the case, follow up interviews may be required to verify or further investigate new allegations or information.
4. EXAMINATION OF RECORDS AND SYSTEMS
The AnchorInvestigator needs to be given access to all relevant documents, emails and available digital data to corroborate statements made by witnesses. To ensure impartiality, the examination of care records should only be undertaken if relevant to the facts at issue. Other systems that may be relevant such as risk, incident reporting and complaint systems.
5. ANALYSIS AND REPORT
Once all the information has been obtained, the AnchorInvestigator will analyse the information and produce a report detailing their findings, especially against the issues at Step 1. The report will detail the investigator’s findings, whether the allegations are upheld and show how they reached their conclusion. We will also make recommendations for further action by management including any specific actions for Continuous Improvement.
6. FINALISATION – RESTS WITH THE CLIENT
The complainant and the respondent should be notified of the outcome of the investigation and what further steps are required on both sides. It’s important that any investigation follows a logical process and that findings are carefully detailed to avoid further issues and ensure a fair outcome. A well-managed investigation can help resolve the situation and lets everyone move on as quickly as possible.
Contact us today if you have any questions about the investigation process or to find an experienced, professional external investigator.