Introduction

The HSC Compliance Office has primary responsibility to ensure that incidents of actual or suspected violations are investigated.  As such, the HSC Compliance Office is charged with coordinating and overseeing compliance activities at all of the entities that make up the HSC. 

Once a suspected violation or concern is received by Compliance, the matter is reviewed and a threshold determination of the need for a formal investigation is made.  Some matters reported are solved quickly and informally, without an investigation.  Some matters are referred to other departments to conduct the investigation; such as Human Resources when hiring issues are involved.

While some professions, such as accounting, have their own auditing standards, it is understood that not everyone that is asked to do an investigation has such training.  This document is not intended to be a how-to for managers or supervisors that are being asked to conduct investigations, but rather to give information and practical advice.  Every investigation will have unique issues and circumstances, challenges and outcomes.  Following the guide ensures that each of our investigations is conducted in a professionally consistent manner. 

The HSC Compliance Office is always available to help the department develop an investigation plan and work with the department before and during the process.  

Before the Interview

  • Identify the exact issue to be investigated;
  • Review any University Policies or Procedures that are in question of being violated;
  • Review Policy #2200 Reporting suspected misconduct, whistle-blower, and retaliation;
  • Plan questions:
    • Keep questions simple
    • Ask questions that require narrative answers
    • Avoid negative questions (e.g. “Why didn't you…”)
    • Refrain from leading questions
  • Interviews should be done as promptly as possible, while memories are fresh;
  • Identify an interview space that is private, and allows for a confidential interview.

Guidance for Interviewing Complaint

  • Investigations should be conducted within a reasonable timeline;
  • At the beginning of the interview, explain the context of the interview and that the interview is not a formal hearing but rather a fact gathering;
  • Remind participants about Policy #2200 Reporting suspected misconduct, whistle-blower, and retaliation;
  • The interviewer should be non-judgmental, impartial and open;
  • The interview should be not be rushed.  Allow the person to take their time to tell you what occurred, in their own words.  They are likely nervous and feeling stressed;
  • Get background information to establish facts.  Ask:
    • Who was involved?
    • When and where did event occur?
    • Is this an isolated event or part of a pattern?
    • Do you have specific examples?
    • Did the person keep a journal, diary or records of the events?  If so, ask for a copy.
    • Are there any witnesses?  If so, ask for names and contact information.
    • Did you tell anyone else your concern?
    • Do you have any documentation relating to your complaint? If so, ask for a copy.
    • Are there any other people that have the same or similar concern?
  • Once questioning is complete, summarize the main points to ensure accuracy;
  • Ask the complainant to avoid discussing the matter with others in the work place.  Inform complainant that any witnesses that are interviewed will be asked the same;
  • Remind the complainant that they can add to their statement in the future if they remember any additional information.

Guidance for Interviewing Witness

  • Inform the witness that a complaint has been made, but do not share the details beyond what is necessary to enable witness questioning;
  • Explain to the witness that this is a fact gathering session;
  • Remind the witness about the HSC policy on whistle-blowing and retaliation;
  • Once questioning is complete, summarize the main points to ensure accuracy;
  • Emphasize the need for cooperation and discretion.  Ask the witness to not discuss the matter with others;
  • Ask the witness if they have any additional concerns related to this matter.  Remind them that they can contact you if they remember any additional information. 

After the Interview(s)

  • Notes should be typed up as soon as possible after the interview;
  • The interview memo should be factual and not contain your opinions;
  • Upon review of interview notes, if clarifications are needed, clarification questions should be asked as soon as possible.
  • Interview notes should be sent back to the individual to review for accuracy. 

Final Report 

The Final Report is created at the conclusion of the investigation and a should contain a summary of the facts gathered from the investigation.  The report should state whether the findings were substantiated, unsubstantiated or inconclusive.  If the report is substantiated, it should cite the policies violated. 

The report should contain:

  • The nature of the report;
  • A summary of the facts gathered;
  • The people interviewed and documents reviewed;
  • Whether the report was substantiated or unsubstantiated or the results were inconclusive;
  • Specific conclusion(s) reached on each key issues;
  • Whether a breakdown of internal controls occurred to allow the problem to occur;

The department must take prompt remedial action consistent with the severity of the offense, if any, and all applicable university rules and regulations.

A copy of the final report should be submitted to HSC Compliance.