The "independent investigator" who did such a questionable job investigating our complaints about Bournemouth and Poole College was not a current solicitor so was not entitled to be an Employment Lawyers Association member

(Post made at 0055 UK BST time on 8 Sep 2018 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).

The investigator (from ViewHR Limited) who in my opinion did such a questionable job of “independently investigating”:

  • my wife’s complaint (about the way the College and Centre for Wessex Young Musicians had treated her), and 
  • my complaint (mainly about poor treatment by the College and Centre for Wessex Young Musicians of other schools, some members of staff and some children including one with a disability)

was a member of the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) both at the time of the investigation and until a few days ago.

Incorrect claim on his/her ELA member page that he/she was a practising solicitor. Was an ELA member despite not being entitled to be one

Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) members self-certify that they are practising solicitors or barristers who spend at least 25% of their time practising employment law (see the bottom left of https://www.elaweb.org.uk/membership).

Evidence shows that the investigator has not been on the roll of solicitors since at least June 2016, so was not entitled to membership of the ELA at any time since at least June 2016.

Evidence also shows that despite this, from at least June 2016 View HR Limited’s webpage about the investigator has included the clear claim that he/she “is a member of the Employment Law Association (ELA)” and the investigator’s member page on the ELA website included the claim that he/she was a qualified solicitor:

The ELA website makes clear that to be a qualified solicitor for the purposes of membership, the solicitor must be currently on the roll of solicitors.

Conducting a search for ELA members within 20 miles of Bournemouth showed a list of 20 members, 19 of whom appear to be current practising solicitors, and one (the investigator) who is not.

I contacted the ELA 4 days ago to query (given the above) whether this person was entitled to membership, or to have claimed on his/her ELA member page for the past two or more years that he/she was a solicitor if (as evidence shows) he/she ceased to be on the roll of solicitors at least 2 years ago.

I also said that I had very significant concerns about the quality of the work performed by him/her in an “independent investigation” carried out last year. They promised to investigate, having previously thanked me for bringing the matter to their attention.

The investigator’s membership has now ceased

I noticed earlier this evening that a) his/her member page on the ELA website has been removed, b) he/she no longer comes up in searches of ELA members, and c) the View HR Limited website no longer claims that he/she is a member of the ELA.

I think the 19 remaining members of the ELA within 20 miles of Bournemouth, and all other genuinely qualified ELA members can be relieved that a bogus “Employment Lawyers Association” member, someone who was not qualified to be a member (and whose work in my opinion was highly questionable) is no longer part of the organisation.

(I should make clear that as far as I know the ELA only investigated the question of whether this person was entitled to membership, not the work carried out by him/her).

The integrity of the “independent investigation” carried out last year is further discredited

This further discredits the integrity of the “independent investigation” carried out by this person (someone who was claiming at the time on their ELA member page to be a qualified solicitor, despite not being so), and of the Bournemouth and Poole College relying on the outcome of that investigation and in the College having refused to consider any appeal.

Poor quality investigations by unregulated HR practitioners

If View HR Limited were regulated I would have made a formal complaint to the regulator, but neither they nor the investigator seem to be regulated, something that seems to be a failing of the “independent investigator” process generally in HR.

It is very important that investigations are carried out without bias and considering all relevant evidence.  It is my belief that View HR.Limited completely failed in their duty in this regard.

At least if this company are involved in any other “independent investigations”, they will no longer be able to claim that they are members of the Employment Lawyers Association.

2 thoughts on “The "independent investigator" who did such a questionable job investigating our complaints about Bournemouth and Poole College was not a current solicitor so was not entitled to be an Employment Lawyers Association member

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