Fact Find Meetings
Fact-find meetings are part of the bank’s disciplinary process, and Advance Union can support our members if they are invited to one. Advance Union can only attend with members who have been actively paying for at least three months.
What is a fact find?
A fact-finding meeting is critical in any investigation under the Disciplinary Policy. It is not a formal meeting, so in employment law, union representatives cannot attend. However, Advance Union has a partnership agreement so that accredited Advance representatives can attend to support our members. If you are not part of Advance Union or CWU (the other union Santander recognise), you cannot take anyone into this meeting with you.
The purpose of a fact find is to allow you to provide an initial response to some potential allegation(s) that have arisen. In many instances, the informal meeting will result in you being able to offer a clear and fair explanation or other mitigation that enables the matter can be closed.
During the meeting, an independent note-taker who is not a colleague and arranged by the investigator is usually there to keep notes. The investigator may be your line manager, but in some instances, another manager or the bank’s special investigations team may investigate.
Fact finds meetings will be undertaken privately and treated in strict confidence. Ahead of the meeting, it would be best practice for the investigator to advise you why you are under investigation, usually in the form of a letter. In certain circumstances that may prejudice the investigation, Santander may not notify you of the reasons.
Please do not discuss the matter with anyone other than the Advance Union representative or the investigator.
Remember, you can always ask for access to a telephone at work to consult with Advance Union in a private room if you don’t have a representative present.
What do I need to do in an Informal Fact-Finding Investigation Meeting?
During the fact find, the investigator will ask several questions about the investigated allegation (s). Advance Union would recommend the following:
- Ask for a clear explanation of the issues or allegations and what evidence supports them.
- Ensure you understand the questions and provide clear answers, being as open and honest as possible. If unsure, ask the investigator to repeat or rephrase the question.
- Remember, the investigator will have already researched evidence from other sources before asking you.
- Being honest and transparent will paint you better, as the bank already has as much evidence as they can obtain before speaking to you.
- If you can, explain why you took the course of action you did. We sometimes understand under pressure, you may not immediately recall, but if that’s the case, say so.
- Remember to include any mitigating factors, as this will help the investigator determine how best to proceed. These mitigating factors will also be significant if a formal meeting/hearing occurs.
- If the opportunity does not come forward, do not be afraid to add further information you wish the investigator to consider as part of their investigation.
- If required, you may adjourn the fact find, and during that adjournment, you can contact Advance Union on 01442 891122 should you feel you need to.
- You may also feel you need to take a break if you are stressed or unable to focus. You can ask for this within reason as often as you need.
- After the meeting, you should read any notes to agree that, whilst not verbatim, they accurately reflect the discussion that has taken place. In the rare event that you do not agree, the notes reflect the debate, then discuss the inaccuracy and, if necessary, annotate how you dispute the record.
What happens next?
The following steps will depend on a few different factors, and please ask the investigator what they feel is required. The investigating Manager should always advise you on the outcome without delay, even if the result is no further action. Please be aware that the investigator may need to conduct further investigations before deciding on any next steps. If at any point after the meeting you recall something you did not share, please email or contact the investigator with the additional information.
If the investigator believes there is potential misconduct at this stage, you will be invited to a formal hearing where you can bring a union representative.
If you have any further concerns or the matter does progress to a formal meeting following the fact find, please contact the Advance Union office as soon as possible. We strongly recommend you do not attend on your own.
Can you record the meeting?
No, whilst you can make handwritten notes, you are not under any circumstances able to record this meeting, which breaches the disciplinary policy. Please do not be tempted to make a recording on any device.