During our investigation stage, you’ll initially be contacted by an investigator, or a legal firm acting on our behalf, to make arrangements for an investigation interview. This interview will be where the investigator will ask questions about what you saw, heard or did.
The investigator will take notes of what you say in the interview. These notes can then be typed up into a document called a witness statement if necessary. The investigator will do this on your behalf and will let you know if it’s necessary after your interview.
When you’ll need to give evidence
We usually only ask you to provide an account of what you know or saw at the investigation stage.
We don’t expect you to remember every detail, especially if quite a lot of time has passed. The investigator will understand this and know you might need to refresh your memory. The investigator will know what they want to ask you about, and they often have copies of documents which may help you remember.
These could be documents that you saw at the time of the incident. They could include the statement you wrote for your employer, an incident report form that you filled in, a completed medication administration record or the patient’s care plan.
If you’re a member of the public and you made the initial referral, you may be shown a copy of your original referral form to help you remember or any other evidence you provided to us when you raised your concern with us.
If you’re worried about forgetting information that might be important, you should speak to your investigator and talk through what options could be open to you. In some cases, we can take your witness statement from you earlier but may need to confirm and clarify details with you again at a later stage.
Most of our interviews are done over the phone, however occasionally we might need to do them face-to-face.
If we conduct a face-to-face interview, this may take place at the hospital or care home where the alleged incident took place. We usually ask one of the people working there to make arrangements for the interviews. If you feel uncomfortable about meeting the investigator at work or the location of the incident, we’ll try to find an alternative location.
If you’re a member of the public, we try to organise a convenient and neutral place to meet. We’ll also reimburse all reasonable travel expenses.
Questions we may ask in our interview investigations
Most of the questions you’ll be asked in your interview will be about the incident like what you saw, what you did and why the incident caused concern. We might also ask you about your own employment history, experience, qualifications and criminal convictions or cautions, if we think this is relevant to the case.
We understand that sometimes these types of interviews can be daunting, but remember we’re not investigating you or your actions. We just need to have the clearest picture possible of what took place so we can make sure our investigation is fair.
Why do we need to know about convictions or cautions?
By law we have to investigate concerns in a fair and neutral way.
This means we have to know about anything that might be relevant to our case. Very occasionally, witnesses might have criminal convictions or cautions that are relevant to the case.
When this happens, the person under investigation has to be told about them. If the conviction or caution is not relevant to the case, we won’t tell anyone about it
You might be asked to provide any relevant documents in your interview too.
Any documents that are mentioned in your witness statement will be attached to it and called ‘exhibits’.
Exhibits help to tell the story of what happened and contain useful information that are often read alongside your witness statement.
Can someone sit with you during the interview
We’re more than happy for you to have a friend or colleague sitting in with you during the meeting if it makes you feel more comfortable. But this can’t be another witness in the same case.
The person who comes with you won’t be allowed to have input in the conversation and must keep all information confidential. The information you give us must be your own and must come from you.
You decide if you’d like someone to be in the room in your interview. If you’re uncomfortable with a colleague sitting in with you, but your employer wants this to happen, you should tell the interviewer so that they can make your feelings clear.
Keeping our cases confidential
You shouldn’t discuss the case with anyone else involved while the investigation’s ongoing.
It’s important that any evidence given by each witness is their own individual recollection of what happened. Discussing the case with another witness could affect the investigation.
What happens after an investigation
After an investigation, our case examiners may decide that a hearing needs to take place and it’s likely that you’ll need to give evidence. Hearings can take place virtually, physically or a mixture of both.
It’s important the panel hear your evidence first hand as it helps them understand the case better and allows them to ask questions about your account.
Getting in touch with you
We’ll need your contact details, so that we can keep in touch with you throughout the case. If your contact details change, please tell us as soon as possible.