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Corporate Investigations

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What is a corporate investigation?

A corporate investigation is usually required to determine whether people in a business or an organisation, including employees, management or indeed third parties, have committed any serious wrongdoing. Any serious corporate issue needs a thorough investigation to fully understand:

  • exactly what happened
  • who or what caused the issue
  • why it happened
  • how to resolve it and ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future
  • who might be liable and whether is the organisation is at risk because of it

An independent corporate investigation is best suited to organisations that have to show their customers, directors, staff and external authorities that an issue is being taken seriously, and dealt with properly. Managing such issues thoroughly and rapidly can help an organisation to navigate through difficult situations and avoid incurring significant reputational damage.

Independent corporate investigations

Some organisations try to conduct their own investigations. However, quite often this can lead to conflicts of interest between various parties with different agendas. It is therefore advisable to seek independent investigative support from an established company like Verita.

Verita specialises in independent corporate investigations and has a team of senior, high-calibre individuals with exceptional credentials. They each have an impressive track record of getting to the bottom of complex issues and delivering evidence-based reports capable of withstanding challenges.

We have a wealth of experience providing corporate investigation services to nationally known commercial and public sector organisations. We cover all areas including governance and due diligence, financial management, people issues and crisis management.

Types of corporate investigations

The types of corporate investigations Verita can deliver include the following: 

1) People issues

We have conducted many investigations where people issues have been central to the issues affecting organisations.  We are often engaged to investigate the most serious of cases, especially when internal efforts to address the issues have failed. 

These investigations have included serious employee misconduct, whistle-blowing and poor performance.  We also deal with cases of widespread bullying and harassment, race and sex discrimination.  We are increasingly involved in organisation-wide investigations into toxic workplace culture where our independence often allows us to see more clearly the underlying causes of poor culture. 

2) Governance and due diligence

We have investigated governance concerns including misrepresentation of performance information, regulatory breaches, conflicts of interest, poor service delivery and matters concerning the leadership of an organisation. Recent high-profile investigations include our work for the global board of G4S into BBC Panorama’s expose of Brook House immigration removal centre and for NHS England into serious conflicts of interest among the leadership of a public body, including a non-executive director.  A major university appointed us to examine why and how they granted and then withdrew degree-awarding status to a small arts school. 

In many of these cases our clients have wanted a rigorous and thorough independent assessment of the circumstances, accompanied by practical and workable suggestions for improvement.  They also want to be able to publish our independent report. 

Our due diligence work includes assessing quality of care and safety for private equity firms wanting to buy health and education establishments.  Our detailed work carried out in advance of a transaction being completed includes assessing the organisation’s internal papers, external audits and reviews of the business and oral evidence against our clinical governance assessment tool. The tool is designed to review organisations against seven domains. Each domain contains an overall metric / positioning question as well as a series of industry standard benchmarks. Our benchmarks are based on current published ‘best practice’ set by the NHS in England and other UK regulators 

In this way, our benchmarking process can identify issues with efficiency, performance and safety as well as provide a ‘line in the sand’ against which to assess the impact of changes to the service. 

3) Crisis management

Organisational crises resulting from, for example, a sudden service failure or a damaging news story often require an independent investigation to help achieve a resolution.  Commissioning an independent assessment of the facts provides a board and leadership team with the time and space to manage the crisis and media and take control of the situation.  Critically, it provides you with an independent report which you can publish and share with interested parties at a time of your choosing. 

We have senior staff who can advise you about commissioning and conducting investigations during a crisis and who will provide you with the confidence to take control of a testing and potentially damaging situation. 

Our Approach

We focus on developing practicable solutions no matter how simple or complex the investigation. An authoritative and independent analysis of the facts will always be provided. Our findings and conclusions will be backed up by recommendations that address the key issues. We use our Verita operating framework to manage every investigation.  The key steps are:

Stage 1: Preparation and scoping

We engage with the client, agree the terms of reference, and put our team together. We agree with you at the outset whether the report is be put into the public domain.

Stage 2: Gathering and assessing evidence

We collect any documentation, interview those involved and analyse the evidence gathered

Stage 3: Report drafting

We produce a draft report that sets out our evidence, findings, conclusions and recommendations.  The draft report is always peer reviewed by a Verita director before it is finalised.

Stage 4: Final report, publication, and post-publication

The report is finalised with the client along with arrangements for its further use.

Our Reports

At Verita we ensure that all our written work is of the highest quality, and we deliver reports that are clear, logical and easy to follow. We clearly distinguish between evidence and opinions and ensure that our conclusions and recommendations flow from the facts we find. Our recommendations are practical and proportionate.

Every report will include:

  • a description of the methodology that we followed
  • a summary of evidence collected
  • a set of findings about the issues set out in the terms of reference
  • a set of conclusions based on the evidence
  • recommendations (where appropriate) for the client

We expect all our reports to be scrutinised by a wide range of stakeholders and they are written with this in mind. We have strong quality assurance systems that ensure our investigations and reports are fair, balanced and able to withstand challenge should it occur.

If necessary, we will mobilise quickly, and within 24 hours can make an initial assessment of a client’s issues, develop terms of reference and appoint an investigation team. By choosing Verita to handle your corporate investigation you can be sure that the quality of our impartial reports will allow you to resolve difficult issues and present an opportunity for real development.

Key Features

By choosing Verita to investigate, you can expect to receive the following:

  • Rigorous analysis and diagnostic skills
  • Rapid investigations
  • Clear understanding of clients’ needs
  • Consistent and expert reporting
  • Tailored to requirements whether small and simple or large and complex
  • High quality investigators
  • Option to add subject-matter experts
  • Specialist skills in many areas

We are experienced corporate investigators able to deploy, where necessary, specialist barristers with extensive expertise in communication and crisis management, legal, regulatory, whistleblowing and employment. So, you can be sure the service you receive will be trustworthy, authoritative and thorough, allowing you to confidently manage the issue and move forward.

For information on our tailored corporate investigation services, please contact Verita founder Ed Marsden via email at [email protected] or on 020 7494 5670

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