Workplaces are fraught with new sensitivities and complexities. HR need to make sure their approach to workplace investigations is rock solid: that the best available standards have been followed, there’s transparency and an explicit trail of fair and reasonable judgments. An organisation’s reputation and employer branding, as well as people’s jobs and future careers, are all at stake.
At CMP we’re determined to help employers create positive workplace relationships through the coming challenges: encouraging a culture of fairness, openness, and trust. And a critical pillar when it comes to dealing with those most testing and public of disputes is watertight workplace investigations.
Last year, CMP became BSI 102000 (Provision of Investigative Services) accredited and has developed its own best practice standards that go above the beyond the ACAS code. Now, building on the excellent work by Tim Kingsbury over the past 15 years, CMP has appointed a new Head of Investigations to meet the growing and increasingly complex demands from employers for investigations support and expertise.
Ele Wilson began working with CMP in 2017 as an associate investigator, having spent 22 years as an officer in the Royal Military Police. A qualified workplace mediator, she has vast experience of conducting and managing workplace investigations in both the public and private sectors, including student and staff complaints in academic organisations and complaints from within high-performance sports.
From the regular failures reported at Employment Tribunals, from the years of anecdotal evidence of working with employers, we know that sensible practices aren’t being followed. The gap between what HR say is being done and reality is a chasm. Investigators will, at best, receive a day of training – in other words, the people involved with working out the evidence for a complex and painful sexual harassment case will have far less training than those looking into a health and safety case of staff falling off a ladder. And that training might only be about process and guidelines, not the actual skills needed to be an effective and fair investigator, able to stand up to increased scrutiny.
There are no formal standards for investigations – which means you need to be even more careful in terms of considering training and the use of external expertise, given the greater potential risks to the organisation from poor practice in serious cases.
“Taking on the role of Head of Investigations at this time of growth for CMP is incredibly exciting,” said Ele. “I am really looking forward to ensuring CMP is at the heart of efforts to improve investigations standards among employers, creating a benchmark across the industry.
“My initial focus will be to review the current form, expand on what is good and consult across all areas of the business to see how we can make what is already an amazing service even better.”