Specialist & Complex Investigations

Specialist and complex investigations delivered by our world class professionals

TCM’s investigators are ready to tackle the most complex workplace issues, spanning misconduct, bullying, harassment, discrimination and much more.

Our support

Most workplace issues that trigger an investigation are related to grievances or general misconduct. However, we are also experts in responding to the most complex/ serious allegations. Our customers trust us to support them with a full range of cases, including:

  • Fraud, bribery & corruption
  • Regulatory/ ombudsman complaints
  • Compliance, ethics and professional standards issues
  • Bullying & harassment
  • All forms of discrimination
  • Multiple/ complex allegations

Such cases often pose much higher levels of risk to your organisation, especially if involving more senior staff members. As such they require a longer and more in-depth process. We’ve too often seen the devastating consequences that can arise when a poorly trained or inexperienced internal investigator has been handed the responsibility of conducting such a case.

We believe that specialist, complex, and more sensitive cases are always best left to the experts. Here at The TCM Group, our experienced investigators are drawn from varied professional backgrounds to help your organisation to handle these cases in a fair, thorough, rigorous and timely manner.

Kirsten Nutman Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist at NELFT

“Panel Training was an excellent session made interesting and stimulating by the very knowledgeable trainer.”

Penny Biles People Services Manager at NELFT

“The Panel Training was a great course – very informative and gives a great overview on supporting senior managers in undertaking hearing panels.”

Ammarah Hussain Consultant at NELFT

“The Panel Training was excellent! Really informative with lots of information and space to discuss and ask questions.”

Lucy Musk HR Partner at Glyndebourne

“I thought the Practical Investigation Skills training with TCM was really good. The training had great content but with practical elements that you can take back to your workplace to improve investigations. I would definitely recommend TCM for training.”

Phil Kelly HR Manager at Migrant Help

“We have used TCM several times now and always find them to be very professional and well experienced to undertake investigations. They do very well in balancing the emotive aspects of conflicts with practical and well guided outcomes.”

Clare Twiss Nursing Home General Manager at One Housing

“The training and trainer for Practical Investigation Skills were excellent. I’ll use the knowledge and skills gained to conduct more thorough investigations and produce reports that can stand up to external scrutiny.”

Shola Giwa-Ipigbhe Senior Investigator at One Housing

“The Practical Investigation Skills course was well delivered and very informative about the investigation process. The training methods used were very helpful in providing knowledge and insight into the course and the trainer was engaging throughout.”

“The Core Investigation Skills course covered a complex topic in a clear and detailed way. I felt supported because it was a great environment for learning.”

Penny Prosser Investigation, Hearing & Appeals Officer at Samaritans

“We had an excellent trainer on our Core Investigation Skills course. They paced the training well and gave everyone the opportunity to ask questions and discuss.”

John Wiltshire Investigator at Samaritans

“An excellent and thought provoking course on Core Investigation Skills that I can highly recommend.”

Pam Nicholl Investigator at Samaritans

“For anyone new to investigations or needing a refresher, Core Investigation Skills is a useful and practical course.”

Robert Langdon Appeals Assessor at Samaritans

“The Core Investigation Skills course was directly focused on our needs and hence gave us appropriate guidance to enable us to carry out tasks.”

Camilla Maple Investigations Officer at Dimensions

“The trainer showed outstanding knowledge on the subject and really engaged me on the course. I felt I could come forward with any thoughts or feedback at any point. The course had great content in the areas of investigations and report writing.”

HR Director Aitch Group

“TCM provided an excellent and highly professional external investigation service for us. The team was always available when we needed anything, and the investigator was incredibly efficient, thorough and personable. All in all – it was perfect!”

Corporate People Manager The Children’s Society

“I would also like to mention that I have had lots of superb feedback about your investigation – most people that were interviewed were very impressed by the investigator’s professionalism and the quick turnaround of their statements. My boss – the interim HR Director – said to me yesterday, “I do not know where you found TCM but they are good.”

HR Manager Nationwide Charity

“TCM conducted a very complex racism investigation, you were superb, it was money well spent. We would spend the money and use your company again if we were to face the same situation.”

Lyn Elliott Head of HR at Cygnet Health Care

“I am very happy with the service provided by TCM. Often in Operations we are so busy ensuring that our Service Users are well cared for, it is difficult for us to assign Managers to investigations. TCM do a fantastic job supporting us with investigations and by using TCM, we ensure investigations are impartial and outcomes are fair. The turnaround on investigations is really quick, which again is sometimes a struggle for us at Cygnet Health Care. I would thoroughly recommend TCM to support businesses.”

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What happens during a specialist or complex case investigation?

Each investigation is different and is tailored to the specific needs and circumstances in each case. However, our unique “TRIAGE Approach” sets out a basic framework for the investigation:

Step 1
Terms of Reference

The most important aspect of an investigation is to understand what is to be investigated. This is why the terms of reference for the investigation are paramount.

  • Our investigator will review the complaint clearly and identify what is being alleged.
  • We will then agree with your commissioning manager on what is to be investigated and within the scope of your remit.
  • For such complex cases, our investigator will identify common themes, to provide succinct areas for investigation.
Step 2
Review

Our investigator will next review all the necessary documentation. This includes the initial complaint or allegation, and all relevant organisational policies and/or procedures.

  • We will make a list of all the individuals who are to be interviewed as part of the investigation process.
  • Our investigator will then outline realistic, achievable timescales in light of the complexity of the case.
  • Before commencing interviews, we will ensure that we have available, and have read, any and all policy documentation which is relevant to the case.
Step 3
Interviews

A good proportion of evidence that the investigator will analyse will be drawn from witness interviews, so excellent interviewing techniques are essential. Our person-centred approach focuses on creating an open and safe environment that enables witnesses to feel comfortable sharing as much information as possible.

  • We interview the complainant(s) first, followed by any witnesses they put forward, followed by the respondent(s), then witnesses they put forward, and subsequently any final parties.
  • A typical interview will begin with open questions to allow each party to give an open account of what has happened, before using closed questions to address key details.
Step 4
Analysis

Analysing the documentary evidence at hand prior to undertaking any further interviews, or evidence gathering enables the investigator to establish any potential flaws in the early stages of the investigation.

  • We will draft a list of additional evidence that you require based on the initial information gathered. This may include digital evidence such as emails and CCTV footage.
  • At this stage, we may also explore alternative solutions. Although rare for more complex issues, it may be evident that, for example, mediation may be a more suitable resolution approach.
Step 5
Gathering

Gathering evidence in a timely manner is important, particularly if such evidence is time-critical. Some organisations only store CCTV images, for example, for a set time period and so it is important that we identify and gather evidence swiftly.

  • Our interviews are used to identify any additional evidence that may be important to the process.
  • We will then request additional pieces of evidence as soon as possible, to prevent unnecessary delays.
Step 6
Evaluation

In all workplace investigations, the investigator will collate all the information and evaluate their findings based upon the “Balance of Probabilities”. The commentary of our rational and findings will be clearly constructed within an investigation report in a way that a layperson could read.

  • We always include an initial ‘Executive Summary’ at the beginning of the report, that outlines the key findings in a clear and concise manner.
  • Another expert investigator will proofread the Investigation Report prior to its final submission.
  • Our team will be on hand to answer any questions you have in relation to the report after it has been submitted.

The FAIR Investigation Model™

Advocating a compassionate, empathetic and non-confrontational approach

TCM’s FAIR Investigation Model™ advocates a compassionate, empathetic and non-confrontational approach for interviewing and investigating. That’s not to say the process isn’t rigorous, challenging and highly effective. However, experience has taught us that parties who feel threatened in an interview release high levels of adrenaline and cortisol which means that they can become defensive, creating hostility or withdrawal.

Using the power of Positive Psychology during our interviews, we enable the parties to feel safer and more secure which has significant benefits for them, for the interviewer and for the investigation process as a whole:

  • The investigation is less stressful, damaging and corrosive for the parties.
  • Creating less stress, fear and anxiety means that we protect relationships between colleagues and managers.
  • We may be able to interview less people to identify the truth which means that working relationships stay intact.

Online Investigation Services

The same high quality process, delivered remotely.

There are few industries that have remained untouched by digitalisation, and the field of workplace investigations offers no exception. The global coronavirus pandemic first forced us to migrate our services to the virtual space, but the offering remains a popular choice amongst our customers.

Sometimes, it simply isn’t possible to get all of the parties involved in an investigation into one location at a convenient time. Many businesses now have employees dispersed across continents; with managers leading team members who might have never met at all.

In other, more ‘traditional’ working environments, a customer may choose to have their investigation conducted in the virtual space. The process can help to put people at ease, speed up the process, and achieve exactly the same results as a face-to-face interview.

The key benefits of using our online investigation services include:

  • A speedier and less disruptive process. It is often possible to arrange interviews more quickly online than it would be face-to-face, allowing for minimal disruption to parties’ daily roles.
  • It can be more cost-effective. There is no need for travel/ venue/ accommodation expenses.
  • The environment may be more comfortable for parties who are feeling vulnerable or stressed.
  • The process allows for a global reach. Individuals, based anywhere in the world can be interviewed and participate in an investigation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Investigation Services Enquiry