How to Write an Investigation Report - Tips for your Managers
Man sitting at a desk interviewing an employee

How to Write an Investigation Report: Tips for your Managers

A good investigation report is one that is impartial, based on facts and stays true to evidence. Now, all organisations do their reports differently, but here’s our two gold-standard tips from our team of experts, which will give your managers a good shot at writing a great report:

Start with the end in mind

“I don’t know where to begin!” is one of the most common challenges managers identify about writing an investigation report. So, we always advise to visualise how they will present the evidence from the beginning.

How? This interactive investigation report tool is popular in our investigations training as it gives managers a structure to work towards.

HR teams can decide whether to ask managers to simply gather the evidence, or to go one step further to reach conclusions on the evidence gathered.  You can ask your managers to also recommend the next steps:  so, whether a disciplinary hearing should be arranged or other recommendations. 

We’ll explore that with you as we design the training and then develop your managers’ competence to deliver. 

Remember, no-one is marking their work

With mountains of documents to pull together, don’t worry about it being perfect – just get writing!

We find the best way is to arrange the summary allegation by allegation. Summarising first what witness X said about the first allegation, then what witness Y said about that same issue. Then, add in a finding about that allegation after they have summarised each witness’s evidence: which is whether or not they are satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to sustain a reasonable belief that the alleged course of events happened.

In their conclusions, give their opinion on whether there is, or is not, sufficient evidence from which a chairperson could form a view that the alleged misconduct occurred.

In their recommendations, talk about what the next step should be (not what the outcome of that step should be), based on the evidence.

And that’s a wrap, they hand their investigation report over to HR. Job well done!

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