Internal Investigations - A Basic Guide Anyone canUse
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The book provides a simple but effective method for carrying out reliable and defensible internal investigations. This easy-to-use guide offers anyone asked to conduct such an investigation a working set of standards, set out in a BASIC approach that follows five main steps: Beginning the Investigation, Assessing the Issues, Substantiating the Claims, Investigating the Implications, and Communicating the results. Using the BASIC approach, all senior employees and associates will be able to to develop an important new skills-set that will help them conduct a credible internal investigation, as and when required.


KH Spencer Pickett is the author of 12 books published by John Wiley and Sons (Inc and UK), and a lecturer in internal auditing, risk management and investigations. He is a member of ACCA Corporate Governance and Risk Management Committee and of ACCA Internal Audit Members Network, and an executive committee member of the UK’s Control Risk Self Assessment Forum.


1 The context.

1.1 Why investigations?

1.2 Investigate what?

1.3 The line manager’s role.

1.4 A Basic standard.

1.5 Using the Basic standard.

1.6 To close.

Basic guidance.

2 Corporate accountability.

2.1 Why accountability?

2.2 Links to governance.

2.3 The outline TOR.

2.4 Focusing on results.

2.5 How big is the issue?

2.6 Complaints.

2.7 Staff discipline.

2.8 Fraud.

2.9 Health and safety.

2.10 Breach of procedure.

2.11 Whistleblowing.

2.12 To close.

Basic guidance.

3 Initial planning

3.1 Why planning?

3.2 Fact finding.

3.3 The quick fix.

3.4 Setting the detailed TOR.

3.5 Locating hot spots.

3.6 Establishing tasks.

3.7 The sponsor.

3.8 Appointing the lead investigator.

3.9 Other roles and responsibilities.

3.10 Resources.

3.11 Access rights.

3.12 Planning and control.

3.13 Publicity.

3.14 A short example.

3.15 To close.

Basic guidance.

4 Basic fieldwork.

4.1 Why fieldwork?


4.2 Considering the issues in more detail.

4.3 Understanding the processes and operations.

4.4 Practical examples.

4.5 Diary of the investigation.

4.6 Exploring Example 10.

4.7 Moving to the next stage.


4.8 Considering claims.

4.9 What is good evidence?

4.10 Sources of evidence.

4.11 Dirty tricks?

4.12 Using samples.

4.13 Setting an aim for the exercise.

4.14 Further practical examples.

4.15 Rules of evidence.

4.16 Establishing the context.

4.17 Exploring Example 10.

4.18 Moving to the next stage.


4.19 Getting to the implications.

4.20 What about politics?

4.21 The Evidence ‘C’ Scale.

4.22 Other considerations.

4.23 Further practical examples.

4.24 Exploring Example 10.

4.25 To close.

Basic guidance.

5 Basic fieldwork tools – interviewing.

5.1 Why interviewing?

5.2 Four dimensions of rapport.

5.3 Open forum inquiry panels.

5.4 Interviews and the Basic model.

5.5 Preparing the interview.

5.6 More on structure.

5.7 Getting results.

5.8 Exploring Example 10.

5.9 Is it that easy?

5.10 To close.

Basic guidance.

6 Communicating results.

6.1 Why communications?

6.2 Types of reports.

6.3 Structuring the report.

6.4 Timeline of events.

6.5 The investigator’s opinion.

6.6 Recommendations.

6.7 Recommending better internal controls.

6.8 Risk management.

6.9 Exploring Example 10.

6.10 To close.

Basic guidance

7 Quality assurance.

7.1 Why quality assurance?

7.2 Ensuring consistency.

7.3 Establishing a Basic approach.

7.4 Quality assurance checklists.

7.5 Standardised documentation.

7.6 It’s basically simple.

7.7 To close.

8 Beyond basics.

8.1 Why a risk management culture?

8.2 Risk scanning.

8.3 Establishing conduct.

8.4 Establishing controls.

8.5 Corporate reputation.

8.6 To close.