Case STudies

Positive Outcomes

We work with you as a Strategic Business Partner to ensure that our methods and your outcomes have a strong people and business focus

Our Case Studies

Case Study

Internal investigation after anonymous complaint

Organisation Development Project

Internal disciplinary investigations

Director level conflict resolution

Misconduct investigation

Complex Investigation

Leadership Development Programme

Sexual Harassment Investigation

Investigation into compliance with Care Inspectorate standards in a Care Service

Investigation into complaint raised with the Scottish Housing Regulator

Neutral Assessment

Case Study 1

Dorothy and the team undertook a complex investigation for us where we just couldn’t see a way forward, no matter what the outcome. However, they identified the key issues, analysed these in relation to allegations, individuals, policies and ways of working and prepared a report that allowed us to see a way forward whilst addressing the issues in a fair and robust manner… They brought great value to a very difficult situation and contributed a lot more than we expected.

The Challenge

A company (in the private sector) received an anonymous complaint through their whistleblowing mechanisms accusing three, very senior members of staff, of bullying, sexual harassment and sexist behaviour.

Given the seriousness of the complaint, the seniority level of the staff involved and the potential risk of reputational damage, they decided to commission an independent company to carry out an investigation.

Their lawyer recommended McKinney HR– we submitted an investigation proposal to the company, which they accepted.

The Background

Before working with McKinney HR, the company had been trying to deal with issues relating to ‘acceptable’ behaviour for quite some time. Therefore, given the nature of the anonymous complaint, they were concerned that their attempts to deal with these issues had been in vain.

The company had no prior experience of conducting an extensive investigation so, in addition to commissioning an independent company to carry out an investigation for them; they also needed guidance on investigation best practice.

Case Study 2

The organisation had reached a point where they felt that their staffing structure did not reflect what was required to ensure the implementation of their vision for the future

We worked with Senior Managers and the staff team to undertake the following:

  • Facilitated the senior team to identify their key areas of business as well as their key priorities
  • Developed a draft project plan for approval
  • Developed a communications strategy and supported delivery
  • Undertook consultation meetings with managers and left them with the tools to do the same with staff
  • Participated in the development of potential structures and provided tools to assess these
  • Drafted job descriptions and evaluations of posts
  • Undertook consultation meetings to support managers
  • Drafted all correspondence and supported managers with identification of and resolution of risk
  • Provided the revised management team with leadership development and coaching to support them to deliver the vision with the revised structure

Case Study 3

We were asked to investigate allegations of bullying.

We interviewed eight members of the organisation’s staff and reviewed a significant amount of paperwork. The resulting report addressed each of the issues in a robust manner, which, in turn helped the individual to understand the impact of their behaviour and the manager to make an informed decision on outcome.

The outcome of this was that the behaviour changed and staff involved were able to re-establish working relationships.

Case Study 4

We worked with a company where two senior managers were not getting on.

The situation escalated to the level where they were unable to talk to each other without high levels of stress and anxiety.

In this case we undertook a mediation process with them over the period of a day.

This supported them to understand each other’s workplace needs and how they were impacting on each other. We went back after three months to support them to reflect on how successful the mediation had been and whether there was any further mediation required.

We were very pleased to hear that both managers were working well together and needed no further input from us.

Case Study 5

We were asked to investigate allegations of misconduct relating to three employees.

We undertook a detailed investigation and produced reports relating to each of the employees.

We identified, as per the Terms of Reference, that there was a case to answer relating to two of the employees.

The two employees were later dismissed by the organisation for gross misconduct. The investigation report stood up to the test of an internal appeal process and an Employment Tribunal.

Case Study 6

Three senior managers had submitted a grievance relating to the chair of their Board.

Due to the seniority and complexity of the issues we were asked to undertake an independent investigation into the issues raised

This investigation was complex due to:

  • There were approximately 35 allegations in total
  • Each grievant providing us with
    • evidence including emails, notes, text
      messages and reports which they said were
      critical to the investigation. This meant we
      reviewed hundreds of documents.
    • additional witnesses were identified to corroborate each complaint which meant interviewing multiple people.
  • The need to measure the evidence gathered against company policy, ACAS Codes,
  • Statutory requirements, Board Codes of Conduct and Data Protection legislation.
  • The emotional impact of the situation being experienced by all involved.
  • Delays encountered due to one of the managers being absent and unable to attend their grievance meeting. Everything had to go on hold mid investigation until their health improved.
  • The need to have follow up meetings with all as we analysed the information gathered and cross-checked perception and understating of incidents.
  • The reputational risk to the business.

We completed the investigation and provided the company with a robust analysis of the evidence gathered in the form of a detailed report.

Feedback was that the report was in sufficient detail for the company to decide on next steps and feel secure that any potential risk could be managed effectively.

Case Study 7

The charity had gone through significant change over the previous year with new managers being introduced to a well-established senior team.

They felt that there was a need to enhance leadership capabilities and asked McKinney HR to support them with this

The charity had financial and resource challenges so we had to balance content with availability and affordability

After discussion on the specific needs of the charity we tailored our leadership development programme to fit the needs of the business and individuals, as well as financial restraints.

This programme was delivered on an online and where appropriate on a face-to-face basis

The programme consisted of the following:

  • Introductory one to one meeting with all participants to share the proposed programme, explore expectations and build trust
  • Workshop 1 for all looking at what a great leadership team would look and feel like, confirm expectations and introduce Myers Briggs (MBTI) etc.
  • MBTIs undertaken and one to one feedback given.
  • Workshop 2 for all reflecting on MBTI outcomes and working effectively as a leader
  • Coaching sessions for all members of the group supporting them to address gaps in leadership skills
  • Workshop 3 for all which concentrated on working in the leadership team
  • Coaching sessions for all members of the group concentrating on team style and development needs
  • Evaluation

This programme was undertaken over a period of six months and evaluation was that the senior team were developing into an effective leadership team

Case Study 8

When the Chief Executive of an organisation became aware that member of staff alleged that their manager, who held a senior position within the organisation, had behaved in a sexually inappropriate way towards them, she asked McKinney HR to conduct an independent investigation.

It became apparent upon meeting with the complainant that this was a serious and particularly sensitive and distressing issue for them.

Meetings with relevant witnesses established that the alleged behaviour was known to many of the complainant’s colleagues with some viewing it as entirely inappropriate and others viewing it as ‘office banter’.

An investigation meeting with the respondent necessitated questioning them on allegations of a sexually explicit nature

McKinney HR produced a comprehensive report which detailed the findings of the investigation which confirmed that there was evidence to support the allegations.

The organisation dismissed the individual and they and did not appeal.

In our de-brief with the client, we identified actions that could be taken to ensure that the attitudes and behaviours of staff reflected dignity and respect, policies and procedures as well as a positive workplace culture and the law.


Case Study 9

The care provider had a number of anonymous complaints and a range of practice issues which came to light through social work inspection processes

The company decided that an independent investigation was necessary due to the seriousness of the issues raised

On commencing the investigation, we were advised that the police had also been involved but had not identified any criminal activity

We agreed terms of reference which included measuring alleged behaviours against the relevant requirements of a registered manager of a care service as well as registered care staff in relation to both SSSC and Care Inspectorate requirements

We also identified the company’s own relevant policies and procedures

  • We reviewed the following:
  • Incident Books
  • Handover procedures
  • Staff rotas
  • Care Plans
  • Meeting notes
  • Previous investigations
  • Inspection Reports

We met with staff, managers, 3 service users, 2 families and the relevant person from social work

We identified numerous practice issues which could be easily addressed with training and more robust management

We identified a lack of effective communication which resulted in challenges covering shifts and resulted in standard of care issues

Our report was submitted to the client along with recommendations and they produced a plan for addressing the issues and send this and the report to the relevant body


Case Study 10

We were approached by a Housing Association (HA)who had been notified of a complaint which had been submitted to the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR)

The Regulator had indicated that it would be appropriate for the HA to investigate locally and send their findings to them for their consideration

Due to the complexity of the issues raised the HA approached DML to undertake it

We identified with the client the relevant statutory requirements and local policies and procedures which we needed to measure the evidence gathered against. This included employment policies, Board codes of conduct and regulatory requirements

It became clear that a number of the issues had been raised previously and resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant

On clarifying what we were required to investigate we agreed a detailed terms of reference and proceeded with the investigation

There were 3 grievants, 2 respondents and over 30 allegations which involved 10 individuals.

We reviewed the following:

  • Codes, statutory requirements
  • Policies and procedures
  • Reports
  • Minutes of board meetings
  • Emails, text messages etc.

We met with

  • The complainants
  • Respondents
  • Witnesses to events
  • Board members
  • Managers
  • Staff

We completed our report which was welcomed by the HA for its thoroughness and the knowledge that it would stand up to challenge

Case Study 11

We were approached by a leading provider of education and training who had concerns for one department following a prolonged period of change and unrest.

The organisation felt they had exhausted all avenues to try to rebuild the department and team morale.

They wanted to understand concerns, to help, to retain their staff however staff were weary to the number of processes and change and appeared closed to giving feedback or moving forward.

They asked McKinney HR for advice and after discussion agreed to try a Neutral Assessment with the team to find out the issues and for McKinney HR to include Recommendations on how to improve things.

The team consisted of 6 people of various positions within the hierarchy.

We provided a communication for the team selling the concept and benefits of Neutral Assessment for them. We assured them that as we were independent, we could support them and find new solutions. We urged them to see it as the positive process it was intended to be, it was both about them and for them, to hear their voice and their ideas.

We then designed a bespoke questionnaire based around various Themes that the client wanted to explore. The client was able to review and agree the questionnaire prior to the next stage.

Dedicated 1-to-1 interviews took place with a trained McKinney HR Facilitator. This focused on the Themes and each person was asked the same questions.

Everyone was advised that these 1-to-1s were totally confidential, there were no formal minutes, and anonymity would be protected. This created the safe space needed to find out the real issues and how to help.

A detailed report was then created for the client. This included % responses supported by real time feedback. Each theme had robust information that easily led to realistic recommendations.

After the client digested the report, there was a follow up call with McKinney HR to check understanding and agree any further steps.

Many clients find recommendations suffice; this client requested further McKinney HR support with some of the follow up. Specifically, they benefited from a workshop in “handling difficult conversations” and executive coaching for one of the more senior Managers.

The whole process only took 4.5 days over the space of a few weeks (to match client availability.)

workplace investigations

when you need us

You have received a grievance, complaint, dignity @work claim etc. or there has been an incident at work where you need to properly establish what has happened, what actions if any need taken and you need to move forward for the best interests of the people involved and your business

You don’t have the capacity or capability to undertake this yourself or you need independence due to others in your organisation being already involved in the case in some way

what we do for you

You will get a report which is proportionate to the seriousness of the issue/s, covering the evidence gathered, any breaches of policies or procedures, conclusions on each allegation and where there has been a grievance recommendation for resolution and any learning identified

benefit to you

You will receive a report which supports you to clearly see what you need to do next, which holds its own in relation to appeals and other proceedings,
the highest level of independence which is critical particularly when the issues are complex and the knowledge that you and your issues are safe with us