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Conference: Regulatory, Compliance and Fact-Finding Investigations: Best Practice, Common Challenges and Future Direction

24th October 2019

We at Forensic Investigation & Training Solutions Ltd were delighted to host this Conference in association with The School of Law, University of Limerick at the A&L Goodbody Appellate Court, University of Limerick.

There was a great turnout with over 50 public and private sector bodies represented. Delegates included public sector investigators and managers, Financial Sector Professionals, Legal Professionals, Child Protection Professionals, Auditors, Insurance Sector, HR Managers, Students of law, criminology and psychology.

The Conference presented fundamental advances and best practice in the field of investigations, fact-finding enquiries and work-place meetings. It also served as a platform to foster networks among practitioners, researchers and experts working in a broad variety of investigations, compliance and integrity roles and with a common interest in improving investigative practices and exchanging/exploring ideas and enabling collegiality.

Delegates heard from Heads of leading investigative and compliance bodies and subject-matter experts including:

  • Professor Shane Kilcommins, School of Law, UL.
  • Mrs Justice Mary Ellen Ring, Commissioner of Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.
  • Mr Kevin Foley, Chairman of The Labour Court.
  • Chief Superintendent Pat Clavin, Criminal Assets Bureau.
  • Mr Ian Drennan, Director, Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement.
  • Robert Smyth, Investigations and Fraud Manager, Aviva Insurance
  • Dr Geraldine Noone, Director of Forensic Investigation and Training Solutions Ltd.

Professor Shane Kilcommins set the tone for the day with a provocative and inspiring talk on the Rule of Law and decision-making. Mrs Justice Mary Ellen Ring’s presentation on Protected Disclosures examined the nuances of the legislation on Protected Disclosures and provided practical advice and guidance relating to the management and investigation in the context of this sensitive area. Mr Robert Smyth of AVIVA provided delegates with a rare insight into insurance fraud investigations, its risks and challenges including collaborating with partners and the benefit of rapid responses.

Prof Kilcommins

Prof Kilcommins

Ian Drennan Director of ODCE reinforced the theme of the conference with his insightful presentation outlining the complexities, challenges and opportunities associated with multidisciplinary investigations. Chief Bureau Officer Pat Clavin, provided delegates with a fascinating insight into the investigative work the Criminal Assets Bureau does to stem the flow of the proceeds of crime and the valuable role of intelligence in this endeavour. Mr Kevin Foley, Chairman of the Labour Court, shifted the focus of the conference to the context of workplace investigations and provided a timely reminder of the inherent risks involved in using employees’ personal data in investigations and the requirement for policies that are clear as well as investigative processes that are fair and based on the principles of natural justice. Reinforcing the requirement of fairness and appropriate investigative processes, Dr Geraldine Noone’s presentation discussed the central role of investigative interviewing in all investigative contexts. She emphasised the need to deploy investigators who are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to conduct effective, ethical interviews with witnesses and suspects.

Dr Geraldine Noone

Dr Geraldine Noone

Delegates also attended workshops devised to ensure optimum expertise and practice-sharing as well as networking opportunities. Our topic selection was based on existing cross-sectorial challenges and current gaps relating to investigations in Ireland including:

  • Managing Child Safety Investigations.
  • Protected Disclosures.
  • Effective in-house investigation of workplace accidents/incidents.
  • Effective interviewing techniques.
  • Leveraging Electronic Evidence to enhance your case.
  • Understanding the complexities of Sports Integrity Investigations.
  • Brand Protection Investigations

The Conference concluded with a lively panel discussion chaired by Dr Geraldine Noone. Mrs Justice Mary-Ellen Ring and Mr Kevin Foley were joined by Professor Raymond. J Friel of the International Commercial & Economic Law Group and Ms. Patricia Gilheaney, Inspector of Prisons and member of the Board of the Association of Chief Executives of Non-Commercial State Agencies (ACESA).

The discussion focused on the need for a professional emphasis on investigations in all contexts and the value of preparing persons to carry out investigations and to conduct such investigations within the terms of natural justice.

We are very grateful to our wonderful contributors for their valuable and generous participation. We were delighted so many delegates could attend in the adverse weather conditions. We were thrilled to meet them all and look forward to hosting a similar event in the near future.