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


Case Study One: Workplace Investigation


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 Dorothy McKinney Ltd – we submitted an investigation proposal to the company, which they accepted.


Before working with Dorothy McKinney Ltd, 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.

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.


Case Study Two

This organisation wanted to improve organisational performance as well as ensure that staff were aligned to the values and goals of the organisation.

We worked with the Board of Directors, Senior Managers and the Staff Team using  our ‘Beyond Staff Engagement Tool’ to support the following;

  • A review of values and goals and what they meant to the organisation, teams, individual staff and clients
  • Undertook a team diagnostic and development session to identify levels of staff engagement, what actions were needed of staff and managers to improve levels as well as establishing priorities moving forward
  • Reviewed their performance management system  and processes and trained staff on their use
  • Undertook training with the senior team on their role in managing conflict and undertaking difficult and/or coaching conversations
  • Provided coaching support for senior staff
  • Undertook a workshop with all staff on the impact of alignment with values and goals on them, their team and their clients.

Initial outcomes are really positive and the diagnostic tool will be run again as often as needed to measure changes in engagement levels and enable the organisation to continue to move forward positively.

Case Study Three

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 Four

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 Five

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 Six

This organisation wanted to introduce a Harassment Adviser service and asked us to design and deliver training to the Advisers.

We designed a two day workshop to cover all aspects of the role including;

  • The law relating to harassment at work
  • Understanding the role
  • Practical skills and case studies
  • Dealing with difficult emotions and challenging behaviour

To support wider understanding of the service we developed a flowchart showing informal and formal routes and where the Advisers fitted within this.

We also designed  a range of handouts to supplement the workshop and support the Advisers in their role as well as a ‘Meeting Model’ to give structure to the meetings and increase the confidence of the Advisers in their ability to undertake the meetings constructively.

Case Study Seven

We were asked to undertake an investigation into a complex complaint received from a client.

We interviewed the client and relevant staff, gathered evidence on policies and procedures and information from the customer services system. After analysing the information it was clear that whilst the client had not been treated inappropriately by staff the Team Manager did not have a system in place to inform staff of changes to product cost and in fact the organisation had lost a significant amount of income due to this.

A draft response was prepared for the Director in relation to the complaint and guidance given to him on the issues which needed addressed within the team.

The organisation were very surprised at the extent of the issues which were identified and welcomed our robust approach.

Case Study Eight

We were asked to investigate a grievance from a member of staff relating to a work colleague in a small charitable organisation.

The investigation outcome was that there was no evidence of misconduct, but that staff and management involved had not dealt with issues quickly enough and therefore problems had escalated.

As a result, we undertook a short session for managers on understanding their role in managing workplace conflict and undertaking the “difficult conversation”.

Managers now feel more confident dealing with issues and staff feel that issues are being addressed and decisions are consistent and fair.