PCA SUPPORT SERVICES

(Paradigm Campbell Associates)

THE CAMPBELL GRIEF INSTITUTE

THE NORTH-EAST CENTRE FOR WORKPLACE CONFLICT RESOLUTION

"QUAESTIO"
INDEPENDENT WORKPLACE INVESTIGATIONS

“.......where any employee vigorously asserts that an internal investigation into bullying allegation will lack transparency or independence, it may be prudent for the employer to engage an independent third party to conduct the investigation.”

(The Fair Work Commission)

“QUAESTIO”

This is one of the latest developments from PCA Support Services – a highly-professional, independent, impartial, sensitive and effective Workplace Investigation Service. It covers ALL organisational Grievance, Disciplinary & Fact-Finding Procedures.

Why an Investigation?

The Campbell Foundation

Whenever an allegation is made against any member of staff – whether by another colleague, middle manager, senior manager, junior member of staff or HR officer – then, the first step taken by the organisation or employer is to investigate the allegation and the circumstances surrounding it.

This is, sometimes, called a “Fact Finding” exercise or simply called an “Investigation”. The overall purpose is to collate all the evidence so that the organisation, through management and HR, can reach a fair decision as to whether or not there is a case to answer with regard to the allegation.

The Objectives of an Investigation

  • To collate all relevant pre-allegation papers and evidence
  • To interview the complainant(s)
  • To interview the alleged perpetrator(s)
  • To interview ALL relevant witnesses
  • To assess ALL the relevant and appropriate evidence
  • To study and assess ALL supporting statements
  • To account for the behavioural impact on ALL parties
  • To prepare, draft and finalise the official Investigation Report
  • To present the Investigatory report to management & HR
  • To make any appropriate recommendations for the future development of the parties

“How employers respond to and investigate internal complaints of harassment, discrimination and other misconduct allegations, can have a serious impact both legally and practically – affecting employee morale, productivity and workplace conflict.”

(Susan Hartman Hiper)

Internal Investigators or External Investigators?

Most organisations appear to opt for and appoint an Internal Investigator – usually a manager from a different department from either that of the complainant or alleged perpetrator, or a senior manager. HR managers and officers rarely take on this role, as their primary tasks are to support the parties and ensure that the correct procedures are followed throughout the process.

Usage of internal appointees tends to be historical – e.g. “this is always the way we’ve done it”. But, it could also be cheaper. However, this economical argument does not always stand up if we contrast the fees of an External Investigator with the hourly rate of the internal appointee & HR time. It is also, perhaps, quicker and easier to arrange.

The Problems with Internal Investigators

CONFLICT of INTERESTS

To ensure an absolutely clear and transparent process, there should be no historical, current or, possibly, future relationship between the investigator and any of the parties involved. This is easier to achieve where organisations have very large workforces, but less so where workforces number, for example, 5,000/6,000 or less.

LINE MANAGEMENT & BIAS

We have heard of many procedures where senior or middle line-management has been involved in the investigation. This will, quite understandably, give rise to suspicions amongst staff and unions over the possibility of bias & influence affecting the direction of the investigative approach.

LACK of PROCEDURAL TRANSPARENCY

If either the internal investigator has some form of relationship to any party involved, or a line manager has been appointed, then transparency of procedures will be very difficult to achieve – leaving uncertainty and disquiet in the outcome’s aftermath.

LACK of INVESTIGATIVE TRAINING

The role of the Investigator in grievance & disciplinary procedures requires a number of specialist skills – including Sensitive Interviewing, Judicious Questioning, Summarising, Research Techniques, and Report Writing. Few organisations provide the specialist training that should provide an experienced, comprehensive and appropriate framework for such an important role.

LACK of RELATED KNOWLEDGE

Grievance and disciplinary scenarios inevitably involve workplace issues such as Bullying, Harassment, Discrimination, Stress, Post-Traumatic Stress and Conflict. An effective investigator will need appropriate knowledge of these issues if they are to gain a good conceptual understanding of each case. Again, few internal appointees have received effective awareness training in these areas.

The Advantages of External Investigators

  • Independence - NO Conflict of Interests Possible.
  • Impartiality – NO Prior Knowledge of The Parties and NO Agenda to Follow.
  • Transparency of Process.
  • Sensitivity & Confidentiality – Cornerstones of the External Investigator’s Code of Conduct.
  • Appropriate Research & Specialist Investigative Skills.
  • Appropriate Listening & Communication Skills.
  • Knowledge of Leading Workplace Issues.
  • Trained Skills in Dealing With Difficult Scenarios & Hostile Language.

Why “QUAESTIO”?

As Principal of Paradigm Campbell Associates, Neil Campbell has a wealth of experience (staff counselling, staff training, workplace mediation, stress mentoring, workplace conflict resolution and workplace bullying & harassment advisory work) in his 26 year career.

He has worked across ALL sectors of today’s workplace – NHS, Local Government, Voluntary, Private and Higher Education – and developing a comprehensive & insightful knowledge of the main workplace issue today.

Neil is a highly experienced workplace mediator, and Chair of the new, forthcoming Northern Guild of Workplace Mediators.

He has been advising organisations on Workplace Conflict, Stress Management & Workplace Bullying for more than two decades. In addition, he taught Research Methods & Sensitive Interviewing in Higher Education.

“Investigations should be undertaken quickly to ensure fair treatment of the person being investigated. Delays, due to lack of resources and skills, can have a negative impact on the whole process. In these cases, it’s clear you need to use an outside resource.”

(Dwan Lormer)

For more information on our new confidential Independent Workplace Investigation Service, please contact Neil Campbell directly on either 07958 739505 (Direct Mobile) or 07903 239983 (Business Enquiries). Alternatively, you can e-mail him either through the Website Contact Page, OR directly at neil@paradigmcampbell.co.uk


EVERY Enquiry Will Be Treated With The Utmost Sensitivity, Tact and Confidentiality.