There has been a bit of a discussion of late around the requirement for ‘independent workplace investigators’ to be licensed as Private Investigators under relevant security providers legislation.
Whist some within the IR/HR profession do believe that it is required, there are others who are not so sure, and some who steadfastly refuse to even consider the possibility. This is made even more confusing by the recent article by Josh Bornstein in the Australian Financial Review where he claims that the field of workplace investigations is largely unregulated.
It isn’t unregulated, there is legislation governing investigations, it just isn’t enforced.
Whilst it is my belief that in Queensland, workplace investigations fall under the Security Providers Act 1993 and that those doing the ‘investigation’ need to be licensed, he does raise some interesting points about the quality of the investigation provided.
Licensing requirements aside, there appears to be a bizarre level of resistance by those from a Human Resource/Industrial Relations background to obtaining the minimum standard of training required to become a licensed investigator.
I am wondering if it is because these people have been caught up in the law unto themselves mentality that exists within HR.
After all, this is THE department that creates the rules that all the employees have to follow, and they’ll be damned if someone else is going to tell them how to do their job.
Whilst there are plenty of competent people in the role of HR/IR manager, there are just as many incompetent ones.
Sadly for the rest of us, it will be those managers who believe that because they have been in HR for x years that they know what they are doing and don’t want to be told otherwise that have created the coming nightmare.
I guess that is why it has always intrigued me about why the suitability and ability of the ‘investigator’ hasn’t been questioned in the past.[GARD]
If the ‘investigator’ hasn’t actually done an investigation course, what makes them suitably qualified to perform ANY sort of investigation in the first place, let alone one that could potentially cost someone their job?
Despite there being no formal qualification required for someone to be able to work within the sphere of industrial relations, with regards to this I do think it is time that we were proactive rather than reactive. We should be encouraging everyone to get some sort of formal training on how to perform investigations.
With there being a number of reasons why would should get licensed, and none why we shouldn’t, is there any harm in doing all that you can to provide the best level of service to our clients, rather than the least you can get away with?
There is no way that becoming licensed/qualified is going to hurt or negatively impact on your ability to perform workplace investigations, whereas failure to could. And not just to you as a consultant, your inability to adequately perform the role of workplace investigator could have serious implications for your client too.
If we take the advice of those who say we don’t need to be licensed, we better all cross our collective fingers that we aren’t the ones the legislation is tested on.