Getting support to solve a tricky issue

6th September 2018

Sometimes an incident occurs where a formal investigation must be carried out in order to resolve the tricky situation.

These investigations must be carried out fairly, efficiently and in line with the authorities disciplinary and grievance procedure. The East of England Local Government Association can carry out these investigations on behalf of the authority, using resources from the Talent Bank. These associates have years of experience in investigations, mediations, tribunal advice and exit negotiations. Due to their expertise they can determine how a case will be best solved, how to engage with those involved and produce a well-executed service.

The East of England Local Government Association understands the needs of the local authorities because we are all in the same sector. There are significant benefits of using an investigator from the Talent Bank, rather than from the private sector. This is because the Talent Bank team have conducted over 100 assignments for our councils and have been well regarded by the people they have worked with.

The more serious the matter the more detailed and extensive the investigation should be, this could be very time consuming for councils and costly to conduct internally. Using an external investigator can be hugely beneficial to the local authority. Often it can be assumed that hiring an investigator will be expensive, however in some cases it works out as cheaper. As Marilyn Smyth (part of the East of England Talent Bank team) explains ‘an external investigation was 3.8 times cheaper than conducting it internally due to the much shorter time that the employee is suspended for on full pay’. Additionally an external investigator can reduce the stress and time spent on dealing with these situations. Marilyn clarified that ‘Sometimes a case conducted internally can take months, due to the full workload of the managers who are trying to fit in the amount of work that an investigation takes’.

Importantly the employee in question must be able to give their side of the story in the investigation, if it was conducted internally they might know the person and feel less at ease. Adrian Bush (another of our experienced Talent Bank Team) points out ‘that the individual will, from my experience, not trust anyone from their own Council and that the EELGA is well placed to be that impartial, independent third party’. There is a need for investigations to not be flawed as this could undermine the disciplinary process, therefore both sides have to be able to tell their story. External investigators are able to devote their time to the case, working round employee’s tight schedules and commitments.

Extensive experience allows the investigators to spot any particular themes. For example in cases where complaints have been made by an individual, that are viewed as trivial by others, external investigators and mediators can assist. Adrian Bush discusses how confirmation bias occurs in some investigations ‘in that the individual can only see situations negatively, while the situation could be insignificant to the others involved in it’. The benefit of an external investigator not involved with the council is that they can offer mediation, coaching or just the ability to talk to someone.

Feedback from the Councils:

“The support provided was excellent and the associate provided a clear outline of the programme of work and timeline with clear
outcomes.”


“A swift and professional service from both the talent bank and the associate.”

Want to learn more?
Over the past few years the team of mediators and investigators have conducted over 100 assignments for our councils and have been well regarded by the people they have worked with.
Contact the Talent Bank on 01284 758300 or talentbank@eelga.gov.uk to find out more.

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