Preparing for an investigation meeting
Attending a disciplinary investigation meeting is understandably a difficult time. This guidance is intended to support staff that are subject to a disciplinary investigation and provide an overview of what to expect.
The disciplinary process and the approach the Trust takes to addressing disciplinary concerns are outlined in the Trust's disciplinary procedure.
For specific questions relating to the case or process, it is best to discuss these with the allocated HR representative supporting the process.
If a formal investigation has commenced, the member of staff will be sent an allegation letter detailing the specific concerns that have been raised against them. These are the allegations which staff will be questioned about at the investigation meeting.
Staff are advised to start to prepare their response on receipt of the allegations letter. This can be done by writing a statement that responds to each allegation that specifically identifies any potential witnesses, key dates and times.
Staff statements can be submitted to the investigating team ahead of the investigation meeting. The statement will also help staff to structure their response and act as memory-aid during the investigatory interview.
Creating a timeline can be useful for cases with a series of events over a period of time. Timelines should include dates, times and events in chronological order.
Staff can submit a timeline as part of their statement to the investigation team and also use it as a reference point for themselves.
Right to representation
Staff have the right to be accompanied at their investigation meeting by a recognised trade union representative or a workplace colleague of their choice. This is not a statutory right but something that the Trust allows.
The member of staff is responsible for arranging any accompanying person to attend the interview and ensure they are aware of the date, time and location. If the interview is being held over video call, the link must be sent and received in advance.
The Trust does not allow staff to be accompanied by individuals employed outside of the organisation. In exceptional circumstances, such requests should be discussed with the investigating team as soon as possible and will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
Attending an investigation meeting
Staff will be invited to attend an investigation meeting in writing. This will usually be a minimum of five working days in advance of the meeting date.
Investigation meetings are conducted in person or over video call. If staff are unsure of the location, time, date or are uncomfortable with the technology being used, they should make the investigation team aware at the earliest opportunity, along with any reasonable adjustments they require to support them at the meeting.
How long an investigation meeting takes is not set, so staff are advised not to have any commitments planned around the time of the meeting.
The investigation meeting
The meeting is an opportunity for staff to be asked questions by the investigation team about the allegations raised and present their version of events.
Preparing for the meeting in advance will help staff to communicate their version of events more effectively.
- At the earliest opportunity, seek union representation, make them aware of the allegations raised against you and book time to meet with them
- Seek HR advice at the earliest opportunity if you are unsure of the investigation meeting process or require any clarification
- Speak to your line manager and maintain regular contact on the investigation progress and identify any required support during the process. Line managers are asked to ensure you are supported whilst the investigation is pending
- If you need time to prepare for the meeting, discuss using annual leave with your line manager to give you time away from the workplace to prepare. Equally, if you need to access Trust systems to prepare your statement or gather evidence (e.g. emails), speak to your line manager and make them aware that protected time is needed
- Allow plenty of time to find the venue and ensure you are not late for the meeting. If unsure, arrange to visit the venue in advance of the meeting or contact the HR representative for directions
- If support or reasonable adjustments are required to attend the meeting (e.g. due to an underlying health condition), please let the HR representative know at the earliest opportunity
- Bring your timeline of events, written statements and any supporting evidence you wish to share with the investigating team
- Going through an investigation process can be stressful so seek support at the earliest opportunity. The Trust offers many health and wellbeing initiatives which can be accessed via the intranet
- Seek additional advice from your HR representative, Occupational Health, staff counselling, inclusion or health and wellbeing staff. Contacts details are available on the Trust intranet
- Remember, this is a fact finding exercise and there is no presumption of guilt, until proven. The Trust has a duty of care to investigate concerns raised. Your cooperation and engagement throughout the process is crucial to ensure the investigation can be conducted thoroughly and swiftly