You spend a lot of time and energy conducting an investigation. Finally, just when you think it’s over, it’s time to put together the investigation report. Depending on how information was gathered throughout the investigation, this task can become a nightmare. The accuracy and information contained in an investigation report is critical to the outcome of the investigation. Developing a standardized report template within your organization will make it easier for investigators to prepare high quality reports that would be accepted by the authorities should the case have to go to court.
One of the questions we often receive is what information really needs to go in an investigation report?
Here is our answer to that question:
The first item in the report should be information to identify the case. This information should include the case number, name of the investigator, case entry date and the date the case was assigned to an investigator for further investigation.
Record information that helps identify the person lodging the initial complaint: the complainant’s work phone number and extension, email address, employee number, office location (city, region, etc.), department and job title.
Harassment, discrimination, retaliation, fraud? This section is to identify what type of issue is under investigation. Include as much detail as possible about the initial complaint by addressing the following points:
Gather the same information you did for the person lodging the complaint – this time, the information is about the person the complaint is against. Include their name and employee number, email address, work phone number and extension, office location (city, region, etc.), department and job title.
Answer the question “what is the investigation trying to prove?” Sum up the purpose of the investigation in a couple of sentences. This section must paint a clear picture of the investigation for the person reading the report.
The case notes section should document each of the tasks assigned and action taken throughout the investigation. Include information such as:
This section simply lists the following pieces of information about the investigation interviews:
In this section of the report, there’s no need to go into detail about the events of the investigation, as the details are included in the following section.
This section provides a brief overview of the key points from each investigation interview:
As simple as it sounds- list the evidence gathered throughout the investigation:
After reviewing the investigation materials, what type of action should be taken? Does evidence support that a violation of workplace policies occurred? Recommendations should remain inline with the consequences included in the company’s policies and procedures. As an investigator, submit your own recommendations for administering the consequences and what steps should be taken next. If the subject (the accused) is a repeat offender, include that point in the report, as it is justification for administering tougher penalties to someone who has no previous record of wrongdoing.
About the Author
Lindsay Walker is the Corporate Journalist at Customer Expressions Corporation, developers of the i-Sight investigative case management software platform, an integrated and customizable solution for corporate investigations. She maintains the company blog at i-Sight.com.