Appendix 5: Fact-finding investigation – model structure
A downloadable version of this appendix is available for anyone who would like to save or print it out.
The main points, findings and conclusion summarised for quick reading.
Purpose of the report
Clearly identify the remit. Agree this with the person commissioning the report and get it in writing. Is it just to report findings (what happened) or to make recommendations (what needs to be done to address the findings)?
The process of producing the report
Details about who has written it and the process e.g., who was interviewed and when, supporting information such as the write-ups of the interviews, other agencies who contributed, examination of case records and files, telephone calls etc.
Two or four key questions for the investigation to address
It is useful to identify 2-4 key questions for the investigation to address. Write them down. This helps to maintain the focus and ensures that at the conclusion, the investigation achieves what it set out to do.
Background and contextual information
Brief history of the circumstances and background leading up to the incident.
Detailed description of the alleged harmful event
Write this up in detail. Sources will include interviews with the reported victim, staff, witnesses and significant others. What happened before, during and after the event?
Assessment of the impact of the alleged harmful event on the reported victim
Identify the emotional, psychological, social and physical impact on the reported victim, e.g., withdrawal, injuries, changes in mood and behaviour that are out of character, effect on mental health and relationships, impact of loss of property or money etc.
Chronology of events, actions and decisions
This is a key tool.
Insert a two-column table that briefly summarises (1) the main events and what happened, who was involved and where and (2) when, with day, date and time.
This enables an at-a-glance summary of events and can be used like a map to find your way around the report. (Otherwise, it is too easy to lose track of what happened, who was involved and when).
The facts that were established
State what facts were established using your 2–4 key questions.
What can you say happened with (1) certainty (2) is likely to have happened on the 'balance of probabilities' or for which 'there are reasonable grounds for belief' or (3) did not happen because there is no evidence to support it?
Separately identify corroborated, uncorroborated and disputed statements or facts.
Possible explanations for key questions
Suggest possible explanations based on the above section.
Opportunity to make other observations that may be strictly out with the original remit but have emerged and are relevant
Who will do what by when, resources needed and arrangements for review to ensure that change will be lasting.