As required by the Anti-Bribery Management System (ABMS) standard, investigating and dealing with bribery is a management responsibility which has a major impact on the credibility of senior management and the ABMS.
Based on our years of professional experience in conducting internal investigations, this article proposes a framework for managers faced with the decision of initiating and managing an internal investigation.
Is the investigation necessary?
First, the senior management must determine whether an investigation is necessary. An internal investigation should generally be conducted when actual or credible allegations of bribery or violations to the ABMS are reported, detected or reasonably suspected. All complaints should be taken seriously, but there are circumstances when a full internal investigation is not warranted and a management review may be a better option.
Who, when and how?
The next important step requiring decisions is planning the internal investigation.
- Should outside counsel be part of the investigation team?
- Who will conduct the investigation?
- What will be the scope of the investigation?
- What is the timetable?
These are a few of the questions that must be answered in the planning phase of the internal investigation.
Senior management needs to be kept informed about the progress of the investigation. From our experience, top management is sometimes reluctant to be continuously informed of the investigation’s progress because it may be perceived as an intrusion into the investigation process.
Regular updates on the progress of the investigation is not an intrusion in the investigation itself. As mentioned previously, an internal investigation consumes tremendous resources, at a great cost to the organization.
Senior management or the compliance function of the organization must be informed on the investigation’s progress, without being made privy to confidential information directly related to the content of the ongoing investigation.
I invite you to read the full article in the 10th issue of the PECB Insights Magazine!