Currently, the quality of service or expertise provided by investigative interviewers, outside of the police service, is variable and there is no standard against which quality can be measured. Interviewing witnesses and potential respondents is an integral and important part of any investigation, and the product obtained from the interview will be used to guide the direction of the investigation and inform the decision maker at it’s conclusion.

The police service in the UK has been at the forefront of investigative interviewing development and uses interview frameworks and techniques that have been developed and researched by psychologists and other academics over decades. These standards are acknowledged as being lawful and ethical by the criminal justice system. They can also be effectively applied to all types of investigative interview conducted in the private sector, including HR disciplinary proceedings and internal and external investigations.

The importance of high standards in interviewing cannot be overstated as they will improve the quantity, accuracy and therefore veracity of the information obtained. Improved quality through the introduction of standards will also ensure that interview dependent investigations will be more efficient, and therefore more cost effective. Improving accuracy also improves ethical standards, which improves employer/employee relations in the work environment. Additionally, poor quality or unethical interviewing can have a direct, detrimental impact on interviewees, but also can directly affect the options available at the conclusion of an investigation. For example, in employment law, misconduct procedures rely on factual, properly evidenced allegations which have been fully put to the employee.

SoFI has been established to introduce minimum standards, quality benchmarking, accredited training and other members’ benefits to the marketplace which will be of benefit to investigative interviewing practitioners, investigative interviewing trainers and organisations that employ either. SoFI is focussed on the non-police sectors and does not  involve itself in investigative interviewing conducted by the Police and associated law enforcement agencies.

The benefits to the sector are:

  • Recognised professional status
  • Access to quality and accredited training
  • Uniformity of standards
  • Peer support
  • Access to up to date, relevant legal and academic information
  • Increased consumer confidence and public awareness of quality
  • Recognised benchmark for recruitment standards and competencies for organisations
  • Increased reliability in the interview product for organisations
  • Increased efficiency and cost effectiveness in investigations
  • Increased options available at the conclusion of an investigation
  • Reduction in the number of legally challenged interviews
  • Increased marketability of organisations, practitioners and trainers
  • Protection of investment in training by organisations and individuals

There are additional benefits to society in general through the introduction of quality ethical interviewing.

Finally, self-regulation can ensure that stakeholders are involved in the development of the standards. The organisation will also be able to influence academic research pertinent to ethical investigative interviewing in the non-police sectors which is under-represented in research at present.

 

Interviewing Standards

The minimum standards are based upon the guidance in the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Investigative Interviewing Strategy 2009, the PEACE model, the National Operating Standards held by Skills for Justice (CJ101 – CJ103, CJ201 – CJ203, CJ301), and the Home Office document, Achieving Best Evidence. The interview techniques are based on Cognitive Interviewing, Enhanced Cognitive Interviewing and Conversation Management.

 

The Society Structure

In order to successfully introduce self-regulation, SoFI must be representative of the membership, independent and focused purely on furthering the aims of the business, rather than to create profit. Consequently, SoFI has been set up as a non-profit membership society, registered as a company limited by guarantee (see attached Articles of Association).

 

The Membership Package 

Associate

Eligibility:

– Anyone

– Agree to SoFI Articles of Association

 

Benefits:

– Access to Members area of website

– Voting rights

– Some discounts for events

– Eligible to be selected for sub-committees

– Eligible to enter the SoFI Theory of Ethical Investigative Interviewing (Foundation Level) course leading to a qualification accredited by Skills for Justice Awards

Not eligible to sit on MC or Committees

Not eligible to use the SoFI logo

 

Costs:

Membership fee@ £70 p.a.

 

 

Professional Member

Eligibility:

– Relevant Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

– Agree to SoFI Members Code of Conduct

 

Benefits:

– Access to members area of website

– Voting rights

– Discounts for events

– Eligible for MC and Committees

– Eligible to apply for any Accreditation level

– Not eligible to use the SoFI logo

 

Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

– UK police interview training or equivalent

– External interview training equivalent to the above

– External specialist interview training (on merit)

– Relevant professional training e.g.

Solicitor / Barrister

Psychologist registered with British Psychological Society (BPS)

– Special cases not covered above (on merit)

 

Costs:

Membership fee@ £90 p.a.

 

 

Academic Member

Eligibility:

– Masters Degree or above in a relevant subject

– Currently employed as Lecturer or above in relevant subject

– Agree to SoFI Articles of Association

 

Benefits:

As Professional Member

 

Costs:

Membership fee @ £90 p.a.

 

SoFI Accredited Member

(Level 3 Skills for Justice Awards qualification – to be confirmed)

 

Eligibility:

– Associate, Professional Member or Academic Member

– Pass SoFI Foundation Level Theory Unit

– SoFI Theory Exam every 3 years

– Agree to SoFI Accredited Members Code of Conduct

– No APL route

 

Benefits:

– As Professional Member

– Inclusion on Accreditation list

– Use of post-nominal letters SoFI AM

– Use of SoFI logo

 

Costs:

Membership @ £120 p.a.

(Upgrade from previous level @ £50 / £30)

 

SoFI Accredited Interviewer

(Level 3 Skills for Justice Awards qualification – to be confirmed)

Eligibility:

– Associate, Professional Member or Academic Member

– Pass  SoFI Foundation Level Theory and Practical Units

– SoFI Theory Exam and Practical Assessment every 3 years

– Agree to SoFI Accredited Interviewers Code of Conduct

– No APL route

 

Benefits:

– As Professional Member

– Inclusion on Accreditation list

– Use of post-nominal letters SoFI AI

– Use of SoFI logo

 

Costs:

Membership @ £120 p.a.

(Upgrade from previous level @ £50 / £30)

 

 

SoFI Accredited Training Practitioner

Eligibility:

– Associate, Professional Member or Academic Member

– Pass the SoFI Foundation Level Theory Unit

– (Pass Advanced and / or Specialist Theory Unit Levels as appropriate)

– Evidence of relevant APL

– Pass Accredited Trainer Skills for Justice assessment

– Theory Exam and Practical Assessment every 2 – 3 years

– Agree to SoFI Accredited Trainers Code of Conduct

 

Benefits:

– As Professional Member

– Inclusion on Accredited Training Practitioners list

– Use of post-nominal letters SoFI ATP

– Use of SoFI logo

– Use of Skills for Justice logo?

– Promotion by SoFI

APL:

– Police Tier 2 trainer or above

– Other courses considered on merit.

– Recognised educational training qualification

 

Costs:

Membership @ £120 p.a.

(Upgrade from previous level @ £50 / £30)

 

Membership Package:

  • Membership of a cross-sector group of professional interviewers
  • Uniformity of standards
  • Peer support / networking
  • Access to ethical interviewing training courses
  • Recognised qualifications accredited by Skills for Justice Awards
  • A transferable qualification status for Accredited Interviewers
  • A tiered approach to training ensuring your skills are relevant to your needs
  • Access to up to date, relevant legal and academic information
  • Increased reliability in the interview product for your organisation
  • Increased efficiency and cost effectiveness in your investigations
  • Increased options available at the conclusion of your investigation
  • Reduction in the number of legally challenged interviews
  • Increased marketability of your interviewing skills
  • Protection of investment in training for you and/or your organisation
  • Technical guidance/best practice guides – Knowledge Bank
  • Code of Conduct/ethics
  • Annual conference
  • Online forum – access to members’ area of website
  • Newsletter
  • Regular accreditation of trainers and training courses
  • Regular accreditation of practitioners
  • Use by organisations/individuals of the quality mark


Partnerships

SoFI is keen to align itself with organisations and individuals who have, and continue to make a significant contribution to the development and maintenance of standards in Investigative Interviewing, and to that end will actively seek out and develop relationships with public and private sector organisations, and academic institutions that share our vision.

The primary objective for SoFI will be to obtain endorsement of our mission, values, interviewing standards and aims. It is envisaged that any such endorsements would allow us to display on our website:

  • the partners logo;
  • a link to their website and;
  • an agreed statement indicating that the partner has endorsed us.

We would also ask that the partner reciprocates, where appropriate, on their website.

Where applicable we would also be seeking to establish agreements with our partners regarding the use of facilities, such as lecture rooms, meeting rooms, interview facilities, etc, and to offer discounts to our members for products and services offered by our partners.

If you would like your organisation to join in a partnership with SoFI ior if you have any other queries about the Society please contact us.

What to do next…

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Gain access to additional resources, knowledge, experts and discounted events.

Ask us for advice

Contact us with your questions about Forensic interviewing and the services we provide.

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