An internal investigation isn’t really done until the final report is written, and getting the report right is essential. When done well it can help an organization move forward. If done badly, it can create new problems of its own.
Meric Bloch is the Corporate Director for Investigations at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Tampa. He is also Principal at Winter Compliance LLC. Many know him from the popular pre-conference workshop he gives with Al Gagne each year at the Compliance and Ethics Institute. He and Al also lead the SCCE’s annual Internal Investigations Compliance Conference, a two-day program focused on the nuts and bolts of this essential element of an effective compliance program.
In this podcast, Meric shares his insights into writing up the report on investigation. Key topics discussed include:
- Writing the report actually begins by having a good investigation plan that identifies the business conduct standard that you are measuring against
- The importance of including a coherent statement of what happened and why it happened
- The report has to do several things:
- First, it has to show that the organization responded timely and reasonably to the initial incident report
- Second, it has to document the procedural steps in the investigation
- Third, it has to report whether the allegation is substantiated
- Fourth, it has to lay the factual groundwork for any post-investigation activity.
- In some organizations, the report will include recommendations, but the question is how is it best to do that?
- The risks of going too far in the recommendations and saying management “must” do something
- The report should never include conclusions of law, advisory decisions about contacting the police, evaluations of whether the organization may be liable for something
- An investigation report can enable the organization to enhance internal controls to prevent a problem from reoccurring
- The report can also be used a shield in case a termination results in a wrongful termination suit
- The importance of including in the report things that had gone right