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  Background: Provide relevant background about the complaint or issue to be investigated 
(eg: who it was received from and when). 
  Allegations: detail the allegations the investigator is being asked to investigate, including: 

the nature and seriousness of the alleged misconduct; 

whether it has occurred in the past or is still occurring; and 

whether there are any known witnesses, documents and/or physical evidence to 
support the allegations. 
  Investigator’s Role: define the investigator’s role to obtain and present evidence in 
relation to these allegations in order to make findings of fact. 
  Deliverables / Reports: clearly articulate the deliverables (reporting requirements), who 
the report should be provided to, and specify timeframes / milestones. This could include 
an overview of what the report should contain. 
  Support: outline any support that will be provided to the investigator e.g. administrative 
support, facilitating site visits, legal advice etc. 
  Communications: clarify communications & reporting channels 
  Integrity and Confidentiality: Clarify any guidance on the integrity of the process, including 
by conducting the investigation in an impartial and objective manner; ensure procedural 
fairness is applied throughout the process; and by maintaining appropriate confidentiality. 
  Contacts: identify key contacts. 
[See example TOR at Appendix 1. B of Managing workplace investigations publication). 
For external investigations, it is recommended the terms of reference require the 
investigator/s to prepare an investigation plan articulating their approach, timeframes, and 
their terms of business e.g. hourly rates, estimate of hours required, other costs. The 
investigation plan should provide an overall expected cost of the investigation, and be 
accepted by the decision maker prior to the investigator being engaged. 
Investigator Suitability 
Factors to consider when determining the suitability of an investigator: 
  identifying the skills required from a prospective investigator prior to engagement 
  conducting a preliminary interview to determine skills and capabilities, ascertain relevant 
expertise and verify qualifications 
  undertaking referee checks, if required 
  ensuring they have relevant insurances and licences if the external investigator is not 
listed under a panel or other arrangement. 
  identifying and managing any actual or potential conflicts of interest. 
When engaging an external investigator, it is recommended that the contract manager: 
  identifies the decision maker, determines the authority for the investigation, governance 
of the investigation and the authorisation channels. 

  briefs the investigator and provides them with a copy of the APS Values and Code of 
Conduct and any legislation, policies, procedures and/or guidelines relevant to the matter 
being investigated 
  advises the investigator of any internal agency supports to be afforded to parties such as 
access to a support person and provision of a copy of the electronic recording or 
transcript of their interview 
  maintains regular communication with the investigator and manages their performance 
throughout the period of the contract 
  determines and agrees upon the process regarding the retention of records and 
documentation with the investigator in accordance with agency record keeping 
requirements and legislation 
  creates a plan to provide agreed regular updates on the progress of the investigation1 to 
both the decision maker and participants. 
The investigation plan 
  The first step for an investigator after reviewing the terms of reference and information 
sent as part of the investigation referral is to formulate an investigative plan. 
  An investigation plan is as critical as the terms of reference and allows an investigator to 
determine that they are on the correct path. 
  As part of planning for an investigation, the order of the investigation should be 
considered. Whilst there may be occasions where the order changes to accommodate 
extenuating circumstances, the order in which an ideal investigation is conducted is as 
follows:  
1. Obtain a detailed complainant statement.
2. Undertake a site inspection where relevant.
3. Review all documentary evidence.
4. Obtain witness statements (interviews).
5. Interview the respondent.
6. Review and analyse all material/evidence obtained during the investigation
(this may include documentary and physical evidence, or require visits to
relevant locations).
7. Conduct further investigation as required.
8. Prepare a report, including findings of fact, for the delegate.
  Whichever way an investigator conducts an investigation, it is important that the 
investigator obtains sufficient evidence and facts in order to make a finding on the 
balance of probabilities.  
  Investigators should only take into account relevant information, and any conclusions 
reached should be logically formulated. To this end, investigators need to ensure that the 
employee and all key witnesses provide all relevant information. The decision to follow up 
witnesses or consider additional material put forward by an employee is to be made by 

the investigator in the context of the requirement to ascertain, as far as possible, the truth 
of the allegations.  
The investigation report 
The investigation report should be succinct and clear. It should: 
  outline the authorisation, scope and purpose of the investigation 
  detail the complaint and set out the allegation/s 
  set out the evidence that supports or does not support substantiation of the allegation/s 
  outline if on the balance of probabilities each allegation is capable or not of substantiation 
  include relevant attachments. 
[Refer to Appendix 2: Investigation Report suggested headings] 
REFERENCES: 
  Managing workplace investigations: A practical guide for the Queensland public sector 
(QLD) 
  A guide to engaging and providing workplace investigation services (QLD).
  ACTPS Guide to Managing Workplace Behaviour (ACT). 
  https://www.ibac.vic.gov.au/publications-and-resources/article/investigations-guide (VIC). 
  https://www.ashurst.com/en/news-and-insights/insights/guidance-on-conducting-
investigations-remotely 

Appendix 2: Investigation report suggested headings 
Executive Summary 
Terms of Reference 
Background 
Investigation Summary/Methodology  
Decision on who to interview, the list of interviews conducted, documents 
examined. 
Allegations 
For each of the allegations, include the 
following headings: 
  Summary of evidence 
  Analysis of evidence 
  Findings and reasons 
Summary of Findings 
Recommendations (if relevant): 
Attachments: 
Attachments, including all documents relied on by you and any relevant policies 
and procedures, should be indexed and numbered in the order they are referred 
to in the investigation report (e.g. “Attachment 1”), and attached.