The key purpose of an investigation is to discover all the relevant facts and information in a fair, reasonable and objective manner.

If a manager is confronted with a situation that needs to be actioned, but fails to carry out a proper investigation within a reasonable time, it could lead to valuable evidence being destroyed and potentially costly claims.

When a manager is confronted with a difficult situation, unless the manager conducts a proper investigation before making a decision, it is unlikely that he or she will make an accurate decision about what should be done next, and be able to back up the decision with evidence. A thorough investigation is important to determine what the next steps should be and whether or not any formal action is required.

Before starting an investigation, a manager should prepare an investigation plan, setting down who will be conducting any subsequent discipline hearing (if necessary), whether or not suspension should be considered (where relevant), who needs to be interviewed, what documentary or other evidence is required and what the timescales are.