The professional investigation sector spans every jurisdiction in the world and is largely dependent on a trusted network of accredited agents, such as members of the Association of British Investigators, the World Association of Detectives and the member organisations affiliated to the Internationale Kommission der Detektiv-Verbände.
A letter of engagement is a document that outlines the terms of a professional engagement, including the scope of work, responsibilities of each party, payment terms, and other important details.
When professional investigators subcontract work to other professional investigators, a letter of engagement is necessary to ensure that both parties understand their roles and responsibilities, and to protect both parties in case of any disputes or issues that may arise during the course of the engagement.
The letter of engagement serves as a formal agreement between the two investigators, and it should cover important aspects of the subcontracting relationship, such as the scope of work to be performed, the timeline for completion, the expected deliverables, and any fees or expenses associated with the work.
The letter should also specify which investigator will be responsible for what tasks, and how any confidential or sensitive information will be handled. In addition to outlining the terms of the engagement, the letter of engagement can also help to establish a professional relationship between the two investigators.
By setting clear expectations and communicating openly and honestly about the work to be performed, the investigators can build trust and mutual respect, which can be beneficial for future collaborations.
Overall, a letter of engagement is an essential tool for professional investigators who are subcontracting work to other investigators. By clearly defining the terms of the engagement and establishing a professional relationship, the letter can help to ensure that the work is completed to the satisfaction of both parties, and that any issues or disputes can be resolved quickly and efficiently.
Here is an optional example of a letter of engagement:
We are pleased to engage your services as a professional investigator on behalf of our client, [Client Name].
As part of this engagement, you will be responsible for carrying out investigative work as directed by our client.
For the sake of clarity, we confirm our (UK) GDPR status in the relationship with our client is processor and your role is sub-processor. Nothing in this engagement authorises you to make any decisions as controller.
This engagement is subject to our usual terms of business [add hyperlink to terms of business or to ABI model terms, found here] and the following additional conditions:
1. Scope of Work:
You will be responsible for conducting investigations related to [brief description of the scope of work]. You will carry out the work in a professional manner and in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.
2. Fees and Expenses:
Your fees for this engagement will be [insert fee structure], which will be invoiced to us on a [insert frequency] basis. You will also be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in connection with the engagement, provided that such expenses are pre-approved by us in writing.
You will maintain strict confidentiality in all matters related to this engagement, and will not disclose any information, documents, or other materials related to the engagement to third parties without our prior written consent. This includes any sub-contractor you wish to engage, which will require our permission.
You will provide us with regular updates on your progress, and will provide us with a final report upon completion of the engagement no later than [date]. The report will be in a format agreed upon by us, and will include all relevant findings and conclusions.
5. Representations and Warranties:
You represent and warrant that:
(a) you have the necessary skills, expertise, and resources to perform the work required under this engagement;
(b) you will perform the work in a professional and competent manner in accordance with industry standards; and
(c) you hold a criminal conviction certificate equal to or greater than Basic Disclosure as defined by the Disclosure and Barring Service (UK) no older than 3-years and conforms with the Policy Statement of the Association of British Investigators found here.
(d) you hold professional indemnity insurance for your agency at a minimum level of cover equal to the maximum value of the subject matter of these instructions, or as agreed, but in any event no less than £250,000 or equivalent.
(e) notwithstanding and without prejudice to your (UK) GDPR status as sub-processor, your agency is duly registered with the appropriate data protection supervisory office ( in UK it is the ICO).
(f) you and/or your agency is free of any unsatisfied monetary judgments or other insolvency legal process.
(g) we have disclosed the client’s details to you in good faith but under no circumstances will you communicate directly with our client on this matter without our express permission or solicit the client for business for a period of 12-months following the conclusion of these instructions.
You will indemnify us and our client from any and all claims, damages, liabilities, costs, and expenses (including reasonable legal fees) arising out of or in connection with your performance of the work under this engagement, except to the extent such claims, damages, liabilities, costs, and expenses are directly caused by our or our client's own negligence or wilful misconduct.
Either party may terminate this engagement at any time upon written notice to the other party. In the event of termination, you will be entitled to receive payment for all work performed up to the date of termination, as well as reimbursement for any pre-approved expenses incurred up to that date.
8. Governing Law:
This engagement will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of [insert governing law] without regard to its conflict of law provisions.
If you agree to the terms and conditions set out above, please sign below and return a copy of this letter to us.
Sincerely, [Your Name]
I agree to the terms and conditions set out above: _____________________________ Subcontractor’s Signature
Tony Imossi – Secretariat@theABI.org.uk