What is an independent investigation and why does independence matter?

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When a serious issue arises within a business or organisation one of the first steps taken is often to launch an investigation into what has occurred. This is to reassure staff and external stakeholders that a matter is being taken seriously and to demonstrate that the business or organisation is seeking to fully understand what has happened, and will take appropriate action to ensure that a similar situation does not happen again. 

A crucial element that is too often overlooked is retaining appropriately experienced investigators who are truly independent. 

Too often we see law firms being hired to undertake investigations who are also providing legal advice to the business or organisation concerned. This is a clear conflict of interest. We also often see investigators retained who have a pre-determined outcome in mind, usually to protect the reputation of the business. They often also subcontract the actual investigative work to a third party, such as a private investigator. 

When we undertake an investigation we make sure that where relevant our process is survivor-centric. This should always be the case, but requires specific training and experience. Our independence is crucial and we guard it carefully. We report on what we find honestly and transparently rather than telling the client what they may want to hear. This allows us to identify issues and provide recommendations to address them. 

When you retain us, it’s the OSACO team itself that does the work. This means that you can be confident you’re getting the benefit of a highly experienced team who really knows how to investigate. 

When you see that an organisation or business has launched an investigation ask the following questions: 

  • Is the investigator experienced in this kind of work?
  • Is the investigator truly independent?
  • Who is actually doing the investigating?
  • Is the investigation survivor centric? 

A well run investigation has the power to not only help resolve the issues it identifies but also to rebuild people’s confidence in the business or organisation at its centre, but not if it’s a smoke and mirrors exercise.

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