An investigation is an action or process of investigating something or someone (may be crime, misconduct, problem, statement, etc.) especially to discover the related facts and the truth. It is a formal or systematic examination, study or research of the case.
Before initiating a departmental inquiry against an employee, management (generally the DA) wishes to confirm the misconduct, its gravity and persons involved, for which an investigation is conducted. Failure to properly investigate any incident in the organization's workplace can be costly. It may be important to investigate a matter to know:
- Who were involved?
- What were the facts? What happened?
- Where happened?
- When happened or committed?
- Why committed or why happened? (System deficiencies may be noticed)
- How committed?
To know the basis facts, it is usually better to investigate.
Following step-by-step process may be useful:
Step 1 - Determine whether an investigation is necessary. Appropriate authority should decide.
Step 2 - Determine an investigating officer - The person selected as an investigating officer should not be involved in the case. He should be independent. Appropriate authority should issue relevant orders.
Step 3 - Collecting relevant information - The investigating officer should collect relevant documents and information related to the case.
Step 4 - Determine date, time and place of investigation - The investigating officer should take appropriate decision with regard to date, time and place of investigation and inform to concerned persons.
Step 5 - Conduct investigation - Interview individuals with knowledge of facts. Written statements may be asked. A good approach is to ask open-ended questions that invite a person to provide information. Listen carefully to responses, and follow-up with narrower questions. Also ask each person to provide any related documents, if any, they have. Avoid close-ended questions. A better approach to use 5W1H (What, Where, Why, When, Who and How)questions.
Step 6 - Prepare investigation report - The investigating officer should prepare an investigating report containing facts gathered during interviews and written statements and by looking to the relevant documents. Analyze inconsistent or conflicting information and conclude your report with the investigation outcome.
Step 7 - Submit report - The investigating officer should submit the investigation report along with relevant documents to the authority.
With best wishes,
Keshav Ram Singhal
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IO = Inquiry Officer / Enquiry Officer / Inquiring Authority
PO = Presenting Officer
DR = Defence Representative
CE = Charged Employee / Charged Officer
DA = Disciplinary Authority
AA = Appellate Authority