Needing to investigate concerns formally can be difficult for any organisation – but done well, it can ultimately strengthen your operations.

The circumstances that can prompt investigations can vary widely. There could be a complaint or an allegation of wrongdoing, or a query from the board. It may relate to something quite recent, or events that may have happened a long time ago.

Whatever the context, we know that investigations can seem overwhelming, with plenty of bear traps along the way. Sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start and what to consider.

We can guide you on managing an internal investigation, advising on everything from setting the scope, to record keeping and reporting requirements, to providing professional support. We can guide you through tricky data protection and confidentiality questions and we are experienced in managing reputational issues,

Alternatively, you may decide to commission someone external to conduct an investigation, for impartial advice and an expert perspective.

At Bates Wells, we’ve acted as external investigator for countless organisations, from membership organisations dealing with member complaints, to managing internal investigations around allegations of sexual misconduct following the #metoo movement.

We don’t just bring legal expertise. Our experienced team understands that investigations can be as much about interpersonal dynamics as complex legal issues. We bring a holistic perspective to ensure a thorough, balanced, expert-led process which takes into account crucial data protection considerations.

We can advise on how to embed lessons learned and safeguard against future similar issues.

How we help

If you are carrying out an investigation internally, we can help to draft terms of reference, review documents and offer advice on process, and on any subsequent legal or regulatory action.

When appointed as investigators, we can:

  • Audit all relevant policies, procedures and documentation
  • Advise on the data protection considerations and any legal or regulatory angles
  • Prepare a detailed report, making findings of facts
  • Make recommendations on next steps – both specific to the matter in hand and more broadly about organisational practices and policies (if relevant)
Meet our team
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