How to Deal With Anonymous Statements

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investigation report
During an investigation sometimes a witness will request for their statement to be confidential and request anonymity. This can be a difficult issue to deal with and know whether the right thing to do is to allow a statement to be anonymised or not.

When conducting an investigation and gathering statements, the investigation officer needs to ensure the information they are collating is reliable. The investigating officer will need to question the witness to understand their concerns and why they are asking for anonymity. Is there a genuine cause for concern and fear of reprisal and what can the employer do to alleviate the concern.

The problem with keeping witness statements anonymous can mean the employee who is under investigation can be disadvantaged and not able to respond to allegations if information is withheld. The investigation officer should consider if the witness statement is anonymous is the whole investigation still fair and reasonable.

Promising confidentiality should be avoided and only given as a last resort and if the witness is vital without jeopardising the whole investigation. Corroborative evidence should also be sought to verify what the anonymous witness is saying so that the investigation is fair and impertinently the employee under investigation is able to respond fully.

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