An internal investigation is an important mechanism an organization can use to address an allegation of wrongdoing, determine legal liability, identify individuals or parties with culpability, comply with regulatory requirements, develop corrective measures and enhance operational efficiencies. Buckner is pleased to continue its blog series highlighting best practices, strategies and techniques that can be used by organizational leaders and counsel during an internal investigation. Today’s post will cover the most important elements of an internal investigation policy and procedure. An organization should have a documented policy and procedure for conducting internal investigations. A comprehensive investigation policy and procedure should address: (a) what specific event triggers an inquiry; (b) how complaints, tips, rumors, and anonymous reports concerning possible misconduct are received and reviewed; and (c) who conducts the inquiry. Overall, an investigation policy and procedure should include the following elements:
- Expectation statement documenting the obligation of organizational officers, personnel and agents to report possible misconduct or violations of law or policy to a designated office or official.
- Procedures designed to impose immediate and severe consequences for failing to report alleged misconduct or violations or to act immediately once an alleged violation is discovered.
- Regularly scheduled compliance education and training meetings for organizational officers, personnel and agents.
- Procedures governing how internal investigators will be retained or appointed.
- Procedures to conduct an independent and thorough investigation and plan the investigation report. The procedures also should require the report’s submission to the organization’s chief executive officer or designee (e.g., general counsel).
- Procedures defining clear duties and responsibilities for organizational officers, personnel and agents during an investigation.
- Procedures to address and correct identified deficiencies in policies, procedures, and processes within the organization.
- Procedures for reporting violations, corrective measures, and self-imposed penalties to the applicable regulatory agencies or member/trade associations.
- Procedures to incorporate the investigation policy and procedure into the organization’s compliance education program.
For more information on conducting internal investigations, please contact Michael L. Buckner at +1-954-941-1844 or firstname.lastname@example.org.