From bribes to sex scandals, lawyer investigations scrutinised over ‘whitewash’ claims – Bell Yard

How robust is our probe? That’s the question organisations may now have to ask themselves when they commission an “𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭” 𝐢𝐧𝐯𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐠𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 in the wake of uncomfortable allegations being levelled against them.

Can employees, partners, clients, funders, regulators – let alone the general public through the lens of the media – really rely on the integrity of the following aspects of an investigation, when the business or firm’s alleged misconduct, systemic shortcomings or governance failings are put to the test?

–   independence of investigators;
–   sufficiency of investigation’s scope;
–   cooperation of all relevant parties;
–   reasonable timeframe of reporting and remedial action;
–   transparency of findings;
–   implementation of recommendations.

To what extent can the 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑐𝑒𝑠𝑠 of an internal investigation, let alone its recommended resolutions, be relied on to uncover all the facts? If you can’t handle the truth, why would you expect others to accept the investigation? If the process is flawed, rather than resolving an issue it’s likely to provoke even greater reputational damage.

The FT has neatly outlined some of the shortcomings within the industry of investigations, and the SRA is soon to publish guidance to help uphold confidence in the process. However, in Bell Yard’s view, transparency lies at the heart of a good investigation, and it’s transparency that will ultimately drive reputation restoration. Fortunately we’re here to help with that!

By Melanie Riley

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