The VGSO conducts and provides advice on the conduct of prompt and thorough investigations in an integrity, regulatory and administrative law context. We understand the need to promptly investigate and document the processes adopted in a range of complaints and investigations-related situations and in response to a variety of integrity and regulatory processes.
We pride ourselves on being an extension of our public sector clients, so that we can provide the most effective support, no matter the client we are advising.
Investigations – advisory
We provide on-demand access to advice from investigations experts. The investigations practice at the VGSO understands the need to ensure that public sector investigations are undertaken in the public interest and for a proper purpose. Our team regularly provides advice on legal issues that frequently emerge in the conduct of public sector investigations, including with respect to:
- evidence gathering and related powers and procedures
- statutory interpretation
- information sharing
- procedural fairness
We are also often the first point of contact for the Victorian Public Sector when immediate strategy advice and a sounding board are required to determine the best approach and scope to a proposed investigation.
Our team is also experienced in the preparation of investigation guidelines and manuals to support Victorian Government Departments and public sector entities who undertake investigations internally.
Investigations – conducting
Our team is frequently called upon by Victorian Government Departments and public sector entities to assist in conducting highly sensitive and confidential investigations. We do so with empathy and technical competency, taking into account policy parameters and stakeholder expectations.
We understand that there is no one-size fits all with investigations. Some of the circumstances in which we regularly conduct investigations are where organisations are requested to do so as a result of integrity agency oversight, to assist regulators with complex matters or matters which require a measure of independence and to undertake investigations to assist with the reduction of backlogs. In this work, we liaise with witnesses, conduct witness and suspect interviews, draft coercive notices, investigation reports and risk assessments.
We bring to our engagements a project management approach, supported by technology solutions. This ensures that our instructors have regular status reports and updates, so as to facilitate internal briefings and stakeholder communications. We also have access to forensic experts who can support public sector organisations to analyse information or to capture it in a way that is discreet and/or to ensure that critical information is not lost or destroyed.
Our practice is also attuned to driving efficiency through the use of precedent documents for common communications such as interview requests.
Investigations – responding
We often work with Victorian Public Sector clients when they are tasked with responding to an investigation and/or proposed findings put to them by another regulatory body. In doing so, we bring to our engagements experience in complex and large-scale public sector processes and inquiries, which allows us to provide high quality, accurate and risk-assessed advice. Where issues touching upon criminal law, constitutional and workplace relations matters are identified, we also collaborate with subject matter experts to provide holistic expert technical advice and relevant support to our clients.