Workforce investigations can be a significant drain on time and resources, and are often in the spotlight with the increased focus on protecting whistleblowers. Getting an investigation right is key to promoting good employee relations, complying with governance requirements, protecting reputation and putting you in the best possible position should litigation follow.
Bevan Brittan provides experienced workforce investigators (our employment law specialists or experienced HR consultants from our Associates Network), who assist by either
- taking ownership of a full investigation process, from initial scoping, drafting terms of reference through to interviewing key witnesses and producing a final report;
- providing support at specific points in an investigation, such as drafting terms of reference or reviewing draft reports; or
- providing dedicated support on an 'as needed' / helpline basis to guide the appointed investigator through the process.
Our expertise within many sectors, including local government, social care, education and insurance and gives us an in-depth understanding of the context of the investigation and the regulatory and governance requirements our clients operate under. Clients trust us to provide expertise that is transparent, can withstand external scrutiny and is highly cost-effective.
In the health sector, our specialist team include experts in advising on and conducting investigations relating to doctors and dentists under Maintaining High Professional Standards ("MHPS"). We provide:
- Masterclasses for Case Managers, Case Investigators and Panels;
- Practical advice on renegotiating MHPS procedures;
- Template documentation, flow-charts and managers step-by-step guidance;
- Advisory support on cases to Case Managers, Case Investigators and Panels;
- Delivery of investigations
Very easy to work with, direct and clear in your advice and keeping us informed / communicating well throughout the [investigation] process.
Working with clients
We advise clients in all sectors. We can particularly help you with:
- managing the volume of material and advice on disclosure and confidentiality issues
- drafting investigation/ inquiry reports
- presentation of reports
- data protection and FOIA issues
- we also have experience of advising on how to handle the media
Our service is built on clear, focused, strategic support. We don’t sit on the fence. We’ll talk through the options and explain the risks. Then we’ll go one step further by telling you what we would do if we were in your shoes. It’s an approach that our clients tell us adds real value to what we do.
We carried out a sensitive investigation for a major acute NHS Trust into a consultant surgeon about whom the Trust had a variety of serious concerns, under Maintaining High Professional Standards. As the concerns encompassed both non-clinical and clinical concerns, we liaised with an expert in the same specialty, interviewing the expert where clinical input was required and producing a detailed report clearly identifying the facts and applicable standards and drawing the two together to enable the Case Manager to determine how to proceed. We made a number of practical systems recommendations and provided joined up legal advice to the Case Manager on procedural requirements of MHPS.
The Trust fed back that this complex case had been "investigated thoroughly and with sensitivity. [We] appropriately managed the interaction with staff and the Medical Defence Union. Recommendations put forward were pragmatic, enabling an effective resolution to the issue."
We advised a housing association in connection with highly sensitive allegations of fraud and misconduct in relation to the procurement of a large contract with a supplier. We advised on the appropriate investigation and disciplinary procedures to be followed to reduce the risk of successful employment tribunal claims; and the cross over between the investigation by the external auditors, which was also being used to determine the strategy for any civil action to recover monies from the staff or the supplier, and the client’s internal employment processes. Our advice also addressed challenges from staff and their solicitors; the potential for recovery of monies; protecting the client’s reputation; audit considerations; as well as the termination of employment and the negotiation and conclusion of settlement agreements. Our support included drafting robust and practical advice and options/risks papers which the Chief Executive could use to brief the Board.
Investigation of CEO
We appointed an investigator from our HR associates network to conduct an extremely sensitive investigation into allegations against the CEO of an SME company, made by a senior employee who was leaving. The investigator worked under our close supervision on the instructions of the Chairman and the Remuneration Committee. The outcome was carefully managed and led to an agreed exit of the CEO without disruption to the client's business nor any damaging external PR. The client was very pleased with the work of the investigator and our support.