University Case Management -The Solution IS Out There!
For Universities, a report of “serious misconduct that might constitute a criminal offence” creates a ‘case’ that needs to be resolved over a period of time delivering fair and reliable justice for ALL University stakeholders.
Progression of that ‘case’ involves a series of processes, simple to complex, multiple persons inside and outside the organisation, and the collation and examination of documents, messages, digital data, and other third party material.
Case Management embraces the principles of investigation, an inquiry; a systematic and detailed examination to discover detail, checkable facts and information that fully and accurately informs the University decision-makers so that those business outcomes are as satisfactory as possible.
It is an ‘end to end’ holistic and transactional process, each component part potentially impacting on another, involving the transformation of intelligence into actionable information, or even evidence in the case of a discipline hearing, tribunal, or criminal prosecution.
Each one of these activities and processes is ‘judged’ in terms of quality and efficacy. Universities can achieve a minimum standard, be below expectations, or aim to be above expectations and achieve ‘Extraordinary Case Management’ (ECM®) as illustrated below:
The challenge for Universities is that if that serious misconduct is of such a nature that it triggers grave welfare concern and risk, most often sexual in nature, bullying or harassment for example, it actually creates two cases for a university, one to manage the welfare and well-being issues and one to manage the investigation issues.
Each is separate and distinct yet inevitably impacts on the other. They are not mutually exclusive yet demand very different skills and qualities in equal measure.
Herein perhaps lies one root cause of the sectors difficulties and avoidable failures.
Quite rightly exceptional effort and resource has been invested in welfare case management, an investment, with a few exceptions, not reflected in investigation case management where investigations have been allocated to internal staff based entirely upon their management level NOT capability, competency, or capacity to carry out such demanding and specialist inquiries. On occasion such staff sitting in judgement and ‘marking their own homework’.
Here’s what those respective case management responsibilities might include:
It is irrefutable that welfare case management merits an emotional and more subjective approach whereas, in contrast, investigation demands objectivity, empathy in bucket loads, ability to develop rapport, lots of emotional intelligence but, perhaps rather sadly for the investigators reading this, emotions and pre-conceptions have no place in robust and ethical investigation.
An objective perspective is one that is not influenced by emotions, opinions, or personal feelings – it is a perspective based in fact, in things quantifiable and measurable.
A subjective perspective is one open to greater interpretation based on personal feeling, emotion, and aesthetics.
When these requirements are conflated justice is rarely served.
Over 3 years, several dozen investigations behind us, and over 100 university staff trained the author is confident that the biggest transformation the industry could embrace is the adoption of the strategic approach illustrated below and summarised as follows:
- Train and qualify your staff to manage volume, low-risk, simple cases internally
- Commission and work with specialist external investigators to manage low volume, high-risk, complex cases
- Train your discipline panels to understand the investigation process and the validity of case outputs
As a result you will be so much more confident of delivering fair and reliable justice for ALL university stakeholders.
Intersol commission the services of a barrister to review cases and ensure quality and consistency; another layer of independence and assurance. As a litmus test the barristers advice is that if a discipline investigation were to attract a custodial sentence if pursued through the criminal courts specialist external investigators should be commissioned to manage that investigation.
At Intersol Global we train, support and qualify university staff to conduct and manage their own simple, low-risk, high frequency investigations and work with the university to conduct and manage complex, high-risk, low-frequency investigations. The ‘How to do it’.
Watch out for our next post on:
“Forensic Interviewing of Reporting and Reported Persons – Why It Must Be Right First Time”
If you’d like to learn more about how we do this and how we could help you please contact the team at email@example.com for more detail.