Why are Terms of Reference for Disciplinary and Grievance Investigations Important?

Terms of reference set out the reasons that lead to the investigation being initiated, any important background information, and how

the investigating manager should conduct the investigation. They are vital to ensuring the investigation is conducted in a transparent, coherent and timely manner,

and that the manager conducting the investigation is clear about the scope of the investigation.

What should be included:


  • A summary of the allegations or complaints, and any relevant background information
  • The purpose and scope of the investigation and who will receive the report
  • Any witnesses or individuals that the investigator should speak to
  • Other sources of information that the investigator may want to take into account including documents or other
    evidence referred to in the allegations
  • Referral to any relevant policies or procedures that the investigator should be aware of
  • The timescales for conducting the investigation and
    submitting the report
  • Expectations about what the written report will contain
  • Who the report will be submitted to

This list is by no means exhaustive, and the more complex investigation will require a fuller and more detailed

terms of reference.

As well as acting as an external investigator for businesses, I support managers conducting internal workplace investigations, with coaching,

templates and guidance. My template and guidance pack includes a terms of reference template, and guidance through the investigation process from start to finish.  If you would like to find out more please contact me for further information.