What is an investigation meeting?
You may be invited to attend an investigation meeting if you have been alleged of misconduct at your school. The investigation meeting will be the first step of the disciplinary process, potentially leading to a disciplinary meeting and a sanction.
This article outlines what an investigation meeting is, the role of the investigatory officer and what can happen after the meeting.
What is an investigation meeting?
Essentially an investigation meeting will be organised by your school to gather the facts and to hear evidence from you about any alleged misconduct you might have conducted. Your school will have a disciplinary policy and procedure that will set out the various stages and responsibilities when investigating and deciding upon alleged occurrences of misconduct.
Edapt recommends reading and understanding your disciplinary policy before attending an investigatory meeting.
Edapt has published another article which provide an overview of the disciplinary process.
What is the role of the investigatory officer?
Following allegations of misconduct the headteacher or delegated staff member will appoint an investigating officer. This is usually another member of teaching staff or someone from human resources. ACAS explains that the person investigating should do their best to:
- be fair and objective
- follow any policies or guidelines your workplace might have
- get as much information on the case as is reasonable
- not try to prove guilt, but get balanced evidence from both sides
- keep the case confidential
The role of that person is to interview all relevant people surrounding the alleged misconduct, including gathering all evidence, from paperwork, digital media, and witness statements with the aim of establishing the facts concerning the alleged misconduct.
Potentially, you may be suspended from your post while the investigatory process is taking place.
Edapt has produced another article which looks at your employment rights if you are suspended from school.
In addition, the investigation should establish the teacher’s previous employment record, appraisal information and any previous disciplinary action or warnings. The officer then produces a report of their findings and presents it to the headteacher who will decide based upon the contents of the report if there is a case to be answered.
If so, the headteacher will determine the allegations to be answered and arrange for a disciplinary meeting to be carried out.
Can I be accompanied at an investigation meeting?
ACAS explains although there is no statutory right for an employee to be accompanied at a formal investigatory meeting, such a right may be allowed under an employer’s own procedure. It would not be appropriate to be accompanied by someone who might have a conflict of interest or whose presence would prejudice the meeting.
Ideally your companion will have knowledge of the school’s rules and procedures so that they can ensure that the correct procedures are being followed and that your rights as an employee are adhered to.
The investigating officer may or may not be accompanied by someone. If they are it is usually a member of staff from human resources.
Edapt has published another article on how to request accompaniment during disciplinary or grievance hearings.
What will happen if i am interviewed by an investigation officer?
You will be formally invited to attend the investigation meeting. You will receive a letter outlining the time and date of the meeting. If you have someone accompanying you, agree who will take notes of what is asked and answers given. This will usually be your companion so that you can concentrate on the questions being asked.
Listen carefully to the questions and provide clear and unambiguous answers. If you are not clear what is being asked then ask for it to be reworded. You can confer with your companion during the meeting.
What happens after the investigation meeting?
The investigating officer will provide you with a copy of their record of the meeting, the questions asked and your answers within a set number of days after the meeting. You will be required to sign a copy of this as your agreement to the contents of the record of that meeting.
However read through this carefully and compare with the notes you had taken. If there are any statements or details that you disagree with ask for those to be amended before you sign the document as a true and accurate record of the meeting. You are entitled to have a copy of that document.
The investigating officer will then produce a written report on their findings and submit it to the headteacher. Should the matter under investigation proceed to a formal disciplinary meeting then the record of your meeting will form part of the presentation made by the investigating officer at the meeting, along with any other statements and information gathered. The investigatory meeting may also prove that you have not conducted any wrongdoing.
Edapt will be able to support you with the next steps after the investigation meeting and will be able to accompany you if it proceeds to a disciplinary hearing.
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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.