It would be helpful if you can find out the following:

  • Details of who will be conducting the investigation:

    • their names;
    • their background;
    • their role in the Trust;
    • whether there is any degree of independence (ie. what connection they have with the service etc.); and
    • their experience/expertise in conducting investigations.

  • What the 'terms of reference' for the investigation will be. This sets the scope and areas to be covered by the investigation.

  • What the trust knows about the circumstances so far. It is usually best to ask for this in writing.

  • The trust’s timeframe for conducting the investigation, and whether you will receive a draft of the report before it is finalised.

  • Who you should contact for questions and information sharing through the investigation process.

  • How and when they intend to keep you updated.

  • Confirmation that they will fully disclose to you all relevant records and documents i.e. all evidence they will use to write the final report.

  • You may also want to ask them about their internal processes for organisational responses and learning. How do they approach learning lessons? How does learning get shared? At what stages does this happen?
Other things to consider
You may also want to share any information you think may be relevant, and to raise any questions and concerns you have. You should be given more opportunities to feed into the process once you receive more information, but unfortunately this does not always happen as it should.

It may be worth asking if a face to face meeting is possible. This can help overcome the tendencies towards a more remote, paper-based approach. 

Lastly, always try to bring a friend or someone who can take notes, as these meetings can be really emotional. You can also ask if you can record the meeting. The investigators will be used to such requests and will often agree to this.