by Andrea Chedas

Building Blocks to a Global Investigation Program

Delving into the realm of Corporate Security, Investigations, Safeguarding Organisational Integrity and the well-being of Individuals.

How we as a Security Community tackle internal threats and investigations is vital to preserving the integrity of organisations worldwide. By maintaining an impartial and objective approach, these investigations provide a powerful platform for upholding morale, segregating responsibilities, and conducting fair assessments. In today's complex and interconnected business landscape, robust corporate security investigation programs and processes are essential elements in safeguarding against internal threats and preserving an organisation's culture and values.

One of the most important attributes of corporate security investigations is their impartiality and objectivity. By operating independently from the business line, these investigations bring an assurance of fairness, objectivity and transparency to all stakeholders This objective separation allows investigators to assess incidents and potential misconduct without bias, ensuring that truth prevails.

When allegations arise, employees can be confident that a fair and unbiased process will unfold. This assurance protects the rights of those involved and fosters a healthy work environment built on trust and accountability. Any organisation can mitigate legal, reputational and operational risk by proactively addressing misconduct, internal fraud, and code of conduct breaches.


7 power house building blocks to delivering global excellence:


1. Clarity is paramount: It is critically important to establish clear policies and procedures that outline the organisation's position on the code of conduct; acceptable use of company assets; employee manual, policy as defined by the respective organisation etc. These guidelines must be openly and clearly communicated to all employees, ensuring everyone fully understands the organisation's standards and the consequences of non-compliance.


2. Establishemnt of a Whistleblower (WB) Program: Regardless of whether it is mandated or regulated in your field of business. A confidential and secure whistleblower program should include first a policy, secondly a 24/7 hotline and an online portal. The gold standard for managing the 24/7 hotline/online portal is best served when outsourced to an experienced third party. The most successful Whistleblower programs are managed by skilled professionals, often a collaboration between Corporate Security. Legal, Audit, and HR, and not from anyone in the affected business unit. This separation ensures objectivity, fairness, and credibility throughout the investigative process.


3. Build a Confidentiality Vault: It is essential to prioritise the confidentiality and protection of individuals being investigated and the reporter. Create a vault by carefully selecting your investigative team, ensure that the team understands the importance of privacy and discretion at all levels are invaluable to mitigating risk for the organisation.


4. Conduct Timely and Thorough Investigations: Timeliness cannot come at the expense of thoroughness. To address internal issues effectively, promptly initiating and conducting thorough investigations is crucial. Delays can lead to potential escalation and further damage the organisation's reputation. Investigations should focus on gathering all relevant facts and evidence to ensure accurate decision-making.


5. Implement Investigative Interview Protocols: The key to success is the conducting of the interview by qualified investigators, typically with HR in attendance or nominally another investigator. Again, detailed notes must be taken, or a alternitabely a recording of the interview. These are vital to employment recommendations post-interview.


6. Ensure Transparency and Communication: Open and transparent communication with stakeholders is crucial during and after the investigation.


7. Make excellent Note taking a priority. Sounds trite but the reality is that frequently investigations are derailed as a result of poor note taking. The simple process of accurately noting from the onset protects the company and the investigators. Include, date, time, steps taken, allegations, witness names and titles, findings, stakeholders who were advised. More information documented is better than less.


At the end of the day the corporate security department are the gate keepers of the integrity of the organisation. We many not always be the most visible or popular team but if we carry out our investigations with professionalism, integrity and thoroughness we will be considered as an essential guardian to any organisation’s long term success.