Submitting a proposal for a professional investigation in the UK is an important step in ensuring the success of your investigation. Whether you are a sole trader or larger agency, there are a number of factors to consider when putting together your proposal on an assignment.
The Proposal will form the basis of the relationship with the client, not least it will:
1. Form the contract terms on its acceptance.
2. Demonstrate your professionalism.
3. Show transparency.
4. Indicate your clear understanding of the issues and requirements.
5. And possibly of greatest importance, manage the client’s expectations.
In addition, compliance with relevant laws and regulations is of utmost importance to avoid any legal issues.
Here are some key steps to consider when submitting a proposal for a an investigation assignment in the UK:
1. Identify the objectives of the investigation:
Before you can submit a proposal, it is important to identify the objectives of the investigation. This will help you determine what information you need to gather and how to go about doing it.
2. Determine the scope of the investigation:
Once you have identified the objectives of the investigation, you need to determine the scope of the investigation. This includes identifying the individuals or entities involved, the time frame for the investigation, and any other relevant details.
3. Identify the methods and techniques to be used:
Depending on the scope of the investigation, you may need to use different methods and techniques to gather information. This could include research, surveillance, interviews, or computer forensics.
4. Develop a budget:
5. It is important to develop a budget for the investigation to ensure that you have the resources to carry out the investigation effectively. This means not only calculating a fair and proper fee to the client but that you have the resources available to meet your costs to meet the client’s expectations.
6. Prepare a proposal:
Once you have identified the objectives, scope, methods, and budget, you can prepare a proposal. This should include a summary of the objectives and scope of the investigation, the methods, and techniques to be used, the timeline for the investigation, and the budget.
When submitting a proposal for an investigation, it is important to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations. In the UK, professional investigators must comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Whilst there remains no statutory licensing for investigative activities in the UK, you should however be accredited, be able to show commitment to good practice and bound to a code of ethics and professional standards. It will help you to achieve this accountability by your membership of the Association of British Investigators.
The Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR regulate the collection, use, and storage of personal data. Professional investigators must ensure that they comply with these regulations when gathering and using personal data during an investigation.
In summary, submitting a proposal for an investigation assignment in the UK requires careful consideration of the objectives, scope, methods, and budget of the investigation. Compliance with relevant laws and regulations, such as those in the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR, is also essential to avoid legal issues.
To further ensure compliance, professional investigators in the UK should also consider the following:
1. Ensure you or the client has established a lawful basis for the processing of personal data:
There are six lawful bases under the UK GDPR, and the most likely to apply in investigation assignments is consent or legitimate interests.
2. Consider the need to obtain a data subject’s consent:
When gathering personal data, it is important to obtain the consent of the individuals involved. This includes informing them of the purpose of the investigation and how their data will be used. This may not always be possible or appropriate, and when not, it is likely the lawful basis will be your or the client’s legitimate interests. The legitimate interest must be balanced against the data subject’s rights and freedoms.
3. Use ethical practices:
Professional investigators must adhere to ethical practices when carrying out investigations. This includes ensuring that their actions do not infringe on the privacy or rights of individuals.
4. Maintain accurate records: Professional investigators must maintain accurate records of their investigations, including the data they have collected and how it has been used.
5. Protect data:
Professional investigators must take steps to protect the personal data they collect during an investigation. This includes ensuring that data is stored securely and only accessed by authorised personnel.
6. Follow the law: Professional investigators must comply with all relevant laws and regulations, including those related to privacy, data protection, and surveillance. Ensure that your investigation, when it includes processing personal data, falls within the seven principles of data protection, lawful purpose, purpose limitation, data minimisation, accuracy, storage, security, and accountability. This should be reflected in your proposal.
In addition to compliance considerations, it is also important to choose a reputable and experienced professional investigator as your sub-contractor when outsourcing any part of the assignment. When your role in the relationship with the client is that of processor, it is compulsory that any outsourcing of data processing activity has the controller’s permission.
It is therefore important that you look for an agent that also has your level of accreditation and accountability. Professionally, they should have a proven track record of successful investigations in the area of work involved, such as trace, asset research, insurance fraud, process serving, or infidelity.
In summary, submitting a proposal for a professional investigation in the UK requires careful consideration of the objectives, scope, methods, and budget of the investigation, as well as compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Choosing a reputable and experienced subcontractor investigator is also essential ensuring the success of the investigation.
Here is a sample of a proposal for a trace when your role is processor and your legitimate interest assessment concludes that the data subject’s rights and freedoms outweigh the controller’s legitimate interest:
Tony Imossi - Secretariat@theABI.org.uk