Investigating Complaints Part 2

Investigating Complaints Part 2 – Developing the Investigation Plan.

This part 2 of a series is a step by step guide to help you investigate employee complaints.  The guides can also be used to investigate complaints from stakeholders including clients and customers.

This process is by no means the only process, it is however the process I use and have been using successfully for a number of years.

Once you have completed your analysis of the complaint the next stage of the investigation is to develop your Investigation Plan.

The Investigation Plan is the how, who, when and why of the investigation.  It is a useful document that should be flexible and change as the investigation progresses.  Even if you are the only person working the investigation, the plan gives you a road map of where you are going and how to get there.  If you are working in a team the plan allows you to nominate parts of the investigation to teams members and provides clarity as to what is happening.

Also if you are working solo the plan is useful in case someone else has to take over so they know where the investigation is up to.

Remember the old saying – “failing to plan is planning to fail”

I prefer the layout of the investigation plan to be chronological.

The Investigation Plan should include the following;

  • Contact details for clients/managers
  • Details of the complainant, respondent and the issues.
  • Details of all of the investigation activities
  • Details of documents, policies etc that are required to be reviewed
  • Details of witnesses who need to be interviewed
  • All other evidentiary sources required to be obtained
  • If it’s a team effort, who will be doing what.

As an external investigator my Investigation Plan is also my Cost Estimate that includes the hours that each item will take, the associated hourly rate and total cost.

As the course of an investigation is often changing, I will provide an initial Investigation Plan and Cost Estimate based on the information I have on hand at the commencement of the investigation.  This initial plan is usually to the point of interviewing the known parties, but it is common that other witnesses are nominated during the investigation by the complainant, the respondent and the client. In these cases I will provide updated plans as necessary.

If you would like a copy of my Investigation Plan, please email me and I will send you one.

The Investigation plan is also part of the 39 documents included on the AWPTI Workplace Investigation Document Toolbox that is available for purchased on our website –

AWPTI – workplace investigation Sydney and through-out NSW, QLD and Victoria. Workplace training national wide

Misconduct investigations, bullying investigations, harassment investigations & sexual harassment investigations, complaint investigations, grievance investigations, discrimination investigations