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        MARCH 2009




Sample letter of expectation                                      3

How to conduct an Investigation Guidance                          4-6

Sample Inform of Investigation Letter                             7

Sample Invite to Investigation Meeting                            8

Sample invite letter to witness                                   9

Principles to consider during an Investigation                    10

Investigation Interview Further Guidance                          11

Sample Witness Brief                                              12

Investigation report outline                                      13
(template can be emailed upon request)

Procedure for setting up a hearing                                14

Disciplinary Hearing Process                                      15

Roles within Hearing                                              16

Sample letters – acknowledging informal/formal                    17

Sample letters – informing employee of informal/                  18
formal grievance

*NB for suspension information please discuss with HR in the first instance and the necessary
paperwork will be provided.

Sample Letter of Expectation



Thank you for attending the meeting on <date>. I hope you found the advice and
guidance offered at the time of some support.

We spoke of the following concerns:

I now feel it is appropriate for me to issue you with this letter of expectation and can
confirm that it will be necessary for you to adopt the following approach in the future:-

Continued support and advice is available in the following form:

I intend to review this situation in (x) weeks/months time, in the interim, please
contact me about any concerns or difficulties that you may have.

I do very much hope that you will take positive steps, but you should be aware that
failure to do so may result in formal discipline action being pursued.

Yours sincerely,

                                    Conducting an Investigation

The purpose of any investigation is to establish whether any misconduct has taken place. This is
through obtaining detailed facts and information to support a decision as to what, if any, further
appropriate action is necessary, and will involve the employee and any other relevant staff.

In all stages of the procedure, an employee has the following rights:

    -       the circumstances regarding an allegation shall be appropriately investigated
    -       before any disciplinary interview the employee shall be advised of the details of any
            allegation and given the opportunity to prepare and state his/her case
    -       the employee shall be informed of his/her right to be accompanied at any formal interview
            held as part of the investigation process or hearing by a Trade Union rep, friend or

Step 1: Allegations/Areas to be investigated

The allegations/areas to be investigated should be clear and detail exactly what should be
investigated. The Investigating Officer is not required to find out what should be investigated.

When any misconduct by a member of staff involves matters relating to financial irregularities, the
Audit section within Borough Treasurer must be notified. The Borough Auditor will then determine
whether it is appropriate for them to undertake their own independent audit.

The police must be notified in situations where it is believed that a criminal act has occurred at work.
In some circumstances the Police may request that the department cease the internal investigations
being undertaken.

The investigation should be fair and balanced, and it should not be used to ‘build’ a case for dismissal,
even though as a result of the findings, dismissal may occur.

Step 2: Action Plan/Timescales

The Investigating Officer should consider what policies/procedures they intend to review, which
members of staff they intend to speak to, and what timescales they intend to adhere to.

It is possible that more names of witnesses will emerge as the investigation goes on

Timescales are important and the quicker an investigation can be dealt with the better. If the
investigation takes an unreasonable long time in relation to the allegation a tribunal case could be lost
on this basis alone. It is normally recommended that an investigation takes 2-3 weeks but some are
more complex and will take longer. However it should be noted any reasons for delay.

Step 3: The Investigation

There are various checks and tasks that should be undertaken as part of the investigation. These are
the main ones but the list is not exhaustive:

       Personnel file – check to ascertain whether there have been any previous disciplinary
        warnings or management advice. If there are these should be included in your report, and
        copies of letters attached as appendices

       Policies & procedures – that relate to an allegation and that have been potentially breached
        should be checked. If a policy has been breached copies of that policy should be retained and
        included in appendices. They should also be kept to ask the employee when they are
        interviewed whether they are aware of the policy. If the employee has or has not seen the
        document then this must be a statement made in the report. If employee denies knowledge of

        the policy check whether he/she has ever signed receipt of document. If it is clear that the
        employee has not seen the document then consideration needs to be given to whether having
        seen the document would it have influenced their actions.

       Supervision notes/discussion with line manager – to check whether the misconduct is not
        covered by a policy but that the employee is aware of. Plus ask questions whether the
        employee has acted unprofessionally in the past, if this relates to allegation and any remedial
        action taken. If issues have been discussed with the employee then it will be necessary to
        include evidence of these discussions in the report. Or if no documentation/written evidence a
        statement should be taken from the manager and they may have to be called as a witness to
        state that they have had certain discussions with the employee.

       Witness statements/interviews – The next step is to speak to members of staff who have
        witnessed or are aware of the incidents that are being investigated. To speed things up and if
        possible, witnesses should be asked to complete a statement as soon as possible, prior to you
        meeting them, to explain what they have witnessed. Any interviewing or questioning can then
        build on the statement. A request for the witness to do this should be one of the first tasks you
        undertake during an investigation. Meeting dates should be pre-booked. All witness
        statements and interviews should be signed and dated by the witness. All statements taken
        should be included as an appendix to the report. The statement will form the basis of your
        questioning and will avoid the possibility of being accused of leading the witness or putting
        words into their mouth.

        When taking statements from witnesses the following are important:
            date, time and place of each or any observation or incident
            the opportunity and ability to observe clearly and with accuracy
            the circumstantial evidence such as knowledge of a system or arrangement, or the
               reason for the presence of the witness and why certain small details are memorable
            whether the witness has suffered at the hands of the employee who the allegations
               are against or has any reason to fabricate whether from personal grudge or any other
               reason or principle

Throughout the investigation it may be necessary to test evidence given by a witness and you may
need to return to any stage of the investigation. The whole process is confidential and it is therefore
necessary to inform any member of staff involved that any discussion you have with them should be
treated as confidential.

Format of Investigatory Meeting

    -       Investigating Officer should introduce all parties present at the meeting
    -       The purpose of the meeting should be outlined
    -       The allegation should be stated and discussed
    -       The Investigating Officer will ask direct and open questions
    -       The employee should be given the opportunity to ask questions
    -       The employee should be given the opportunity to state his/her case
    -       The investigating officer may seek clarification and ask questions where applicable
    -       The Investigating Officer should notify the employee of the next steps

    Clear and accurate notes will need to be taken of the interview with the employee. The notes of
    these meetings should be signed and dated by the employee as an accurate record of the meeting
    and they should be given the opportunity to comment on the contents of the notes, following the

    If the employee suggests that a member of staff that has not been spoken to should be
    interviewed then this should be arranged.


Once the investigation has been complete you will need to submit a report to Assistant
Director/Headteacher or Chair of Governors. It is recommended that the Investigating Officer
discusses his/her findings with HR Services before submitting their report.

The Investigating Officer’s recommendation should only be a few lines and should state whether they
recommend or do not recommend that a disciplinary hearing be held to consider the allegation.

Sample Inform of Investigation Letter


I am writing to confirm your conversation with           that an investigation is to be
conducted with regard to

The Investigating Officer will be           who will contact you with regard to this
matter. Once the investigation has progressed I will consider if any further action is
required. You should be aware that one of the possible outcomes is a Disciplinary

You will be expected to co-operate fully with the investigation and you must not take
any action which may hinder it. You are advised that you are not to talk to other
members of staff or service users with regard to this matter.

You are however entitled to be accompanied to any meeting you are called to by a
Trade Union representative or friend.

I have taken the decision not to suspend you from duty whilst this matter is being
investigated, however if a similar incident was to occur or further information came to
light I will review this decision and take appropriate action as required.

I can understand that staff in such a position find this stressful and I would remind
you that it may be possible to provide confidential counselling if that would assist you.
If you wish to explore this please speak to me in the first instance.

Yours sincerely

Sample Invite to Investigation Letter


You are requested to attend an investigatory meeting on (date) at (time). The
meeting will be held at (name and address of meeting venue).

The purpose of the meeting is to investigate certain allegations made against you.
Namely that you (brief details of allegation).

The Investigatory Meeting will form part of the Southend Borough Council/ Schools
formal disciplinary procedure and you therefore have the right to be accompanied by
a representative of a recognised trade union, or a friend. Please inform me by (date)
of the name and status of the person who will be accompanying you.

You should be aware that following the meeting I will be making a recommendation
whether to proceed to the stage of a formal disciplinary hearing.

Yours sincerely

Sample Witness Invite Letter


My colleague                and I are currently investigating allegations involving
<details> and as you may have witnessed or be aware of the incidents being
investigated, we would wish to speak with you as soon as possible.

I have therefore arranged for you to meet with us at        on              at the
<venue>. Please report to <venue> and ask for <name & contact details> and he/she
will come and collect you.
You may wish to be accompanied at the meeting by a friend, colleague or union
I must stress that this whole process is confidential and therefore you must not
discuss this matter with any other member of staff.
Can you please confirm by replying to this e mail/letter that you are available for this

Investigating Officer

Principles to Consider

An investigation is primarily about fact finding in order to elicit the truth about any
event or incident.

   -      Do not assume that the allegation is true or false
   -      Be objective and look for evidence that may prove or disprove the
   -      Ensure the investigation is timely
   -      Interviews must be business like and you must remain in control
   -      You should treat interviewees with dignity and respect
   -      You must be assertive and determined if you are to uncover the truth
   -      You must be a good listener. Listen to what is being said as well as how it
          is being said
   -      Be aware of body language but do not jump to conclusions
   -      Be alert to exaggerations, inconsistencies and gaps and be prepared to
          ask questions to ensure that you are satisfied of the facts
   -      Be methodical. Keep and file your notes carefully. Obtain signatures from
          witnesses and employee

Investigation Interview – Further Guidance

Planning & Preparation

Be clear about the allegations

Questions - Interview

Use open questions to draw out information

Use closed questions (yes or no) to make sure of their answer

Follow up other matters – pause to think or even adjourn for a little while


Explain that you will consider what they have said. Also explain that you might have
to see them again

Tell them if you don’t want them to discuss the matter with colleagues etc


Type up notes and provide employee with a copy allowing them the opportunity to
comment/amend them

Witness Brief

Brief for Investigating Officer

I am carrying out an investigation regarding <insert details of allegation> and your name has been
provided as a potential witness. The purpose of an investigation is to obtain detailed facts and
information regarding the allegation. The Investigation will involve the employee and other staff. It is
important that I maintain a balanced and fair approach during the investigation.

Therefore minutes of our discussion will be noted and from the content a statement will be produced.
You will be provided with a copy of the minutes and statement, and you will be requested to sign and
date a copy of them to confirm your agreement to the content. If you have any concerns regarding the
content you will be able to request an amendment.

I need to inform you that the statements taken from yourself and other witnesses (if applicable) will be
included as an appendix to the Investigation Report. The Investigation Report will remain confidential
and will only be reviewed by the appropriate Head of Service. However I must inform you that the
employee involved will be provided with a copy of this report should the matter proceed to a Hearing
which will include a copy of your agreed statement. I must also inform you that if the investigation
leads to a formal hearing you may be called as a witness. If this is necessary you will be informed
before hand and appropriate support/guidance will be provided.

I will keep you informed of the process and should you have any concerns you are able to contact me
to discuss.

I must remind you that matters discussed at this meeting should remain confidential and should not be
discussed with colleagues.

Have you got any concerns or question before we start?

NB – Guidance for Investigating Officer only

If there are any concerns raised regarding the welfare/safety of any witness please discuss with HR
other options that may be available e.g. Anonymity, joint statements prior to commencing the interview

Standard Report Outline (template available upon request)


The report will be marked as Strictly Confidential

Personnel Involved – Names and job titles of investigating team, representatives and witnesses.

Introduction - This section should be a brief outline of the reasons for the Disciplinary Hearing, how
the investigation operated and whether the individual was suspended.

Employment History - This section should include details such as the employees post title, job
description, working hours and length of service plus any previous relevant warnings or any other
related employment relation issues.

Details of the Allegation(s) - Full details of the allegation(s) and how it came to light should be given

Format of Investigation – This section will detail chronologically the work of the Investigation Team,
how it set about its task, who it interview, the dates of any interview, and documents it reviewed as
part of the investigation.

Findings of Investigation - The team with summarise the notes of its investigation in this section.
Detailed witness statements and any copies of any documents considered as evidence will be given in
full in the Appendix.

Conclusion – This section will list the recommendations of the Investigating Team as to whether a
disciplinary hearing should be arranged, or that there is no case to answer. This section should not be
used to recommend a sanction.

Appendices – All of the witness statements and copies of any documentation considered as evidence
will be included in this section

For more complex cases a Chronology should be included – This should list details of all incidents
such as allegations, action taken, letters and meetings in date order

           Overview of Procedure for Setting up a Disciplinary Hearing – Schools Only

If the HeadTeacher has had no involvement in the case the Deputy Head may investigate and
recommend to the Head whether a hearing should take place. The recommendation is normally made
after seeking advice and support from the Employee Relations team.

The Head Teacher can act as the Hearing Officer if he/she has delegated authority from the
Governors and has not been involved in the case.

The employee must be given at least ten working days notice in writing of the date and time of the

If the employee wishes to appeal against the decision of the Head Teacher the employee will have to
inform the Governors Disciplinary Appeal panel.

In some cases it is either not appropriate for the Deputy to investigate or the Head Teacher has
not got delegated authority, or that the school has not got the structure in place to
accommodate, therefore:-

The Head Teacher will investigate the allegation(s) and would recommend to the Chair of Governors
whether a Disciplinary Hearing should take place.

The Governors will have a Disciplinary Panel available to act as Hearing Officers.

The Employee Relations team will liaise with the school in order to agree a date and time for the
Hearing. It is recommended that availability of Union representatives are established initially.

The employee must be given at least ten working days notice in writing of the date and time of the

If the employee wishes to appeal against the decision of the Head Teacher the employee will have to
inform the Governors Disciplinary Appeal panel.

If the allegation(s) are regarding a Head Teacher please seek further advice and clarification
from a HR Manager.

NB HR are unable to provide minute takers. The HR advisor to the Hearing Officer/Panel may take
some notes however schools are encouraged to provide the note taker for the hearing.

Disciplinary Hearing Process

                                   Disciplinary Hearing Procedure

      Introduce all those present – confirm chief spokesperson for each party

      Presenting Officer to present case and evidence, including calling any witnesses.

      Employee or his/her nominated representative may question the presenting officer and


      Hearing Officer may question the Presenting Officer and any witnesses

      Employee, or their nominated representative puts his/her case calling any witnesses

      Presenting Officer may question employee and witnesses

      Hearing Officer may question employee and witnesses

      Hearing Officer invites both parties to sum up

      Presenting Officer makes closing statement

      Employee or their representative make closing statement

      Meeting adjourn and party withdraw to allow Hearing Officer to consider their decision in

       private with adviser. Once the Hearing Officer has considered its decision the meeting is


      Meeting is reconvened. Both parties invited back to hear the Hearing Officer’s decision. The

       Hearing Officer should outline his/her reasons for the decision along with the right to appeal.

       Hearing Officer to confirm that their decision will be followed up in writing.

Roles within Disciplinary Hearing

Hearing Officer – Chief Officer or nominated officer/ Head Teacher/ Panel of Governors. Their role is
to hear the allegation(s), evidence and mitigating circumstances and to make a decision on the most
appropriate sanction.

Advisor to Hearing Officer/Panel – Representative from HR Services

Presenting Officer – The appointed Investigating Officer. Their role is to present the case against the
employee, which may include calling witnesses

Employee – The individual against whom the allegation(s) is made. Their role is to present their
case/mitigating circumstances

Employee Representative – individual nominated by the employee and may be an official of a
recognised Trade Union, or some other person. They may present the employee’s case on their

Witnesses – they will present evidence in accordance with the procedure

Notetaker – They are responsible for documenting a true and accurate record of the points raised and
discussed during the Hearing. They are responsible for producing minutes of the meeting and
ensuring that they are distributed to all relevant parties.

Sample letters acknowledging informal/formal grievance


Re: Grievance – Informal / Formal stage*

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated <insert date> detailing your

You have requested that the grievance is dealt with informally and I would like to be
able to resolve the issues as soon as possible*[delete if formal]*. I will be
investigating your complaint and in accordance with the School Grievance Procedure
I would like to meet with you to discuss the complaint. The meeting will be held at
<venue> on <insert date> at <insert time>.

The purpose of the meeting is to investigate your grievance. You may be
accompanied by a union representative or colleague. I will be accompanied by
<insert name> from HR Services.

I have enclosed a copy of the Grievance Procedure for your information. If you have
any queries please do not hesitate to contact <insert name & contact details>.

Yours sincerely

* delete as applicable

Sample letters informing an employee of informal/formal grievance against them


Re: Informal / Formal* Grievance

I am writing to inform you that I have received a complaint from <insert name of
grievant> concerning allegations that <insert nature of complaint>.

At this stage the grievance is being dealt with informally and I would like to be able to
resolve the issues as soon as possible.*[if formal delete]* I am investigating the
grievance and in accordance with the School Grievance Procedure I would like to
meet with you to discuss the complaint. The meeting will be held at <venue> on
<insert date> at <insert time>.

The purpose of the meeting is to give you the opportunity to respond to the
allegations. You may be accompanied by a union representative or colleague. I will
be accompanied by <insert name> from HR Services.

I must inform you that if the grievance fails to be resolved it may escalate to the
formal stage of the Grievance procedure. I have enclosed a copy of the Grievance
Procedure for your information.

The matters set out in this letter and at the subsequent meeting are to remain strictly

Yours sincerely

* delete as applicable


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