• Investigations

    The heightened focus on propriety, good corporate governance and value for money, means increasingly bodies in positions of responsibility, be they public authorities, private companies or charities are turning to the commissioning of investigations. Sometimes these are internally conducted and sometimes at an arm’s length via an independent person or organisation. Increasingly, entities are facing investigations by regulators.

    The importance of accountability and the drive for transparency increasingly means that organisations need not only to investigate matters of concern and take appropriate remedial action, but also consider publication (whether in full or summary form) of the findings of the investigation. Regulators will almost invariably publish the outcome of their actions, meaning that a strength in reputation management is key to our offering.

    At Bevan Brittan we have brought together our shared expertise in investigations in the following areas, to create an Investigations team in which best practice is fully understood by all our people. We share knowledge between ourselves as to how to conduct or respond to investigations so that they are fair, efficient and outcome focussed.  We have a particular strength in multi-disciplinary investigations, often covering multiple regulators.

    Our experience spans:

    • Public and regulatory
    • Reputation management
    • Healthcare
    • Employment
    • Health & Safety
    • Data protection
    • Safeguarding
    • Conduct
    • Procurement
    • Contractual arrangements

    We can provide investigations services across the range of legal needs, including the provision of independent persons to head up the investigations, the secretariat for that person or representation and advice for those caught up in investigations. 

    The latest Investigations news and articles can be found at Bevan Brittan's Insight Information Hub

    Inquiries

    Bevan Brittan’s expert team has some of the widest ranging experience in inquiries in the UK and stands ready to assist with your needs, whether as a Core Participant, an evidence provider or an entity needing no more than a watching brief. We can provide assistance with representation at hearings, the provision of evidence, documents and issues around confidentiality and data protection. Importantly and given our deep understanding of corporate governance and reputation management, we can assist in dealing with any criticisms that might arise.

    The Inquiries offering at Bevan Brittan is led by partner, Melanie Carter. She has worked for many years on a range of Inquiries, both statutory and non-statutory, including currently the Covid Inquiry and previously the Infected Blood Inquiry, the Grenfell Inquiry, the Independent Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry, the Ockendon Inquiry, the Brook House and the Dyson Inquiries. She is a Band 1 public & administrative lawyer in the legal directories so has an in-depth understanding of the public law issues which underpin the Covid inquiry. She understands the decision making process which sits at the core of the Inquiry, having been appointed personally to act as an independent investigator and has for many years been an independent adjudicator and Tribunal Judge. 

    The wider team has extensive experience and is currently working on the Fuller Inquiry and the Infected Blood Inquiry and previously and most recently, the Grenfell and Mid-Staffordshire Inquires.

  • Examples of our work include: 

    • Advice on discloseability of investigation documentation 
    • Advice on data protection responsibilities in connection with the investigation 
    • Advice on contractual arrangements, and indemnities, with independent investigators 
    • Drafting Terms of Reference and setting the scope of the investigation 
    • Carrying out large scale investigations 
    • Advice on the inter-relationship with parallel investigations by other bodies and disciplinary investigations 
    • Advice on the investigation procedure and methodology 
    • Advising on defamation and information law risks relating to publication 
    • Colchester Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust - we advised Colchester Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust on the commissioning and publication of an independent investigation in relation to irregularities cancer waiting time data. 
    • Advising a large Midlands Council in a long-running, substantial investigation concerning a number of matters involving senior personnel within the Council and including aspects of procurement law, data protection and contract law.  The matter involved interviewing senior Council Officers, Councillors and the suspended officers.  Our investigation spanned a wide range of issues including compliance with: (a) Public Contracts Regulations 2006; (b) Contract Standing Orders; (c) Codes of Conduct; and (d); the Data Protection Act. Our investigation included: (a) the analysis of the diversion of several million pounds of Council funds to a third party financial organisation; (b) conflict of interest issues; (c) matters of financial probity and due diligence; (d) expenses irregularities; (d) investigation into employment issues and allegations of gross misconduct; and (e) third party contractor misconduct. 
    • Completing a comprehensive investigation for a Registered Provider of Social Housing following a health and safety incident during which a child fell from an upper floor window. The investigation involved reviewing a significant amount of documentation, including policies, procedures and contracts with third parties. Interviews were conducted with a number of employees and external contractors and a comprehensive investigation report produced, highlighting the areas of weakness in the client's control systems. We also advised on managing press interest. As a result of our investigation, a senior manager was dismissed, which was dealt with by our Employment law colleagues. 
    • Operation Yewtree - we are instructed by three NHS Trusts to advise upon and oversee their internal investigations into historical allegations relating to Jimmy Savile. These allegations were passed on to the Department of Health by the Metropolitan Police via Operation Yewtree who then required individual investigations by all affected NHS Trusts. Our work has involved advising clients upon the terms of reference for their investigations, advising on the investigation process itself, and reviewing various drafts of reports. We are required to give legal sign-off to all the reports. 
    • Advising a national charity on their internal investigations into historical allegations relating to Jimmy Savile. These allegations were passed on to the Department of Education by the Metropolitan Police via Operation Yewtree who then required individual investigations by all affected children's centres. 
    • Southwark Council - Bevan Brittan were asked to do an urgent investigation into the release of confidential information about the inadvertent release of confidential information by officers at Southwark Council relating to the Elephant and Castle regeneration scheme, one of the very largest regeneration schemes being undertaken in the UK. The matter received intense local interest, as the story was run in the Evening Standard and other newspapers and was of great political significance to the Council. The investigation involved not only an assessment of how the documents had been made public but also looked at the procurement practices of the Council, the Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations and the internal workings of the authority. 
    • Baby P - conducting an investigation on behalf of a Strategic Health Authority (“SHA”) into whistleblowing allegations relating to child care services in North London including the Baby P case. This involved establishing the full extent of the allegations, interviewing all relevant witnesses and preparing the final report for submission to the SHA Board. 
    • Deaths in Custody - working with the Prison and Probation Ombudsman's department as part of their investigations into deaths in custody. In particular, we have assisted with their investigations and taken part in their interviews with witnesses. We regularly participate in investigations leading up to inquests into deaths in custody. 
    • The Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry - representing Avon Health Authority in Sir Ian Kennedy's Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry into children’s heart surgery. This role involved management of an extensive disclosure exercise, working on detailed witness statements, and co-operating with patient lobbying groups. 
    • Investigations into local authority officers and councillors – we have led numerous inquiries and investigations into the conduct of members and officers. 
    • Serious Case Reviews – we peer review Serious Case Review reports commissioned by local Safeguarding Boards and Homicide and Mental Health Homicide Reviews.
  • The Covid inquiry is the independent public inquiry set up to examine the UK’s response to and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and learn lessons for the future. The Inquiry was announced on 12 May 2021 and is a statutory public inquiry likely to be one of the most complex inquiries in recent times. On 15 December 2021, the Rt Hon Baroness Heather Hallett DBE was appointed to Chair this Inquiry. As an Inquiry established under the Inquiries Act 2005, the Chair will have the power to compel individuals to provide evidence, with witnesses giving evidence under oath during public hearings, making it open to the additional scrutiny that this process brings. The work of the Inquiry started in earnest in Spring 2022.

    Bevan Brittan’s expert team has some of the widest ranging experience in inquiries in the UK and stands ready to assist with your needs, whether as a Core Participant, an evidence provider or an entity needing no more than a watching brief. We can provide assistance with representation at hearings, the provision of evidence, documents and issues around confidentiality and data protection. Importantly and given our deep understanding of corporate governance and reputation management, we can assist in dealing with any criticisms that might arise.

    The Inquiries offering at Bevan Brittan is led by partner, Melanie Carter. She has worked for many years on a range of Inquiries, both statutory and non-statutory, including currently the Covid Inquiry and previously the Infected Blood Inquiry, the Grenfell Inquiry, the Independent Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry, the Ockendon Inquiry, the Brook House and the Dyson Inquiries. She is a Band 1 public & administrative lawyer in the legal directories so has an in-depth understanding of the public law issues which underpin the Covid inquiry. She understands the decision making process which sits at the core of the Inquiry, having been appointed personally to act as an independent investigator and has for many years been an independent adjudicator and Tribunal Judge. 

    The wider team (see below) has extensive experience and is currently working on the Fuller Inquiry and the Infected Blood Inquiry and previously and most recently, the Grenfell and Mid-Staffordshire Inquires.

    Insights

    Former High Court Judge Baroness Hallett has been announced as the Covid-19 Inquiry chair

    Covid Inquiry - will you be a core participant?

    The Covid-19 inquiry is coming – what does this mean for local authorities?

    ­UK Covid Inquiry: Terms of Reference & suggested areas of focus

    Covid Inquiry Opening Statement: modules and Core Participant status

    UK Covid-19 Inquiry opens Module 2, investigation into government decision-making – will health bodies want to be Core Participants?

    UK Covid-19 Inquiry opens Module 2, investigation into government decision-making – will you want to be a Core Participant?

    The Covid 19 Inquiry Preliminary Hearing today – what do we know so far?

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