The SoFI Investigative Interviewer Accreditation Scheme
The Society of Forensic Interviewers (SoFI) is a not for profit membership organisation, registered in 2013, as a company limited by guarantee at Companies House, United Kingdom.
It is governed by an elected Members Council, and its membership is drawn from a wide range of disciplines and sectors, both in the UK and internationally.
The Societies aims are:
- To promote and maintain ethical standards in forensic interviewing
- To provide opportunities for education, training & development for forensic interview practitioners
- To support and encourage research and development in the subject of forensic interviewers
One of the key objectives of SoFI is to introduce a uniform benchmark for high quality, ethical, investigative interviewing skills in the private sectors working outside of the law enforcement agencies. The cornerstone of this will be the SoFI Investigative Interviewer Accreditation Scheme.
Investigative interviewing is a high frequency activity for all investigators. In the private sectors, where the investigative resources readily available to law enforcement agencies are more scarce, it is probably the most vital skill an investigator needs.
There are many different types of investigative interviewing, but we believe that ethical techniques are the only way to obtain the quantity and quality of information that professional investigations require. They also provide safeguards for decision makers who rely upon the product of interviews to decide upon the appropriate course of action to be taken at the conclusion of the investigation.
The interviewing techniques we endorse have been thoroughly and extensively tested by psychologists and academic researchers, and robustly scrutinised by the legal system in the United Kingdom. They have repeatedly proven themselves to be efficient, effective, and ethical.
These techniques can be applied across the whole spectrum of interviewing scenarios, across all disciplines, across all sectors, across the world. This includes, but is not limited to, Human Resources, Fraud, Compliance, Audit, Internal and External investigations of whatever degree of complexity or simplicity.
Research has shown that interviewing skills improve with proper relevant training. However, other research has suggested that the improvement gained from interview training deteriorates over a relatively short space of time. This effect can be reduced by frequent assessment and refresher training that reinforces the original skills.
Therefore, SoFI Accreditation is not a one-off process but involves a commitment to continue working to our standards and being re-assessed on both theory and practical skills at periodic intervals. By ensuring that investigation supervisors and managers have the necessary knowledge and skills, organisations and businesses will be able to undertake continual assessment of the interview product in the workplace. Formal re-assessment will be conducted by SoFI every two years.
This will protect the initial training investment, and prolong the benefits of that training, by reducing the effects of skills deterioration.
The Scheme has been designed to provide a thorough grounding in the interview skills that will be used most often by most investigators. It will also provide managers and supervisors with the knowledge required to confidently assess the interview product and provide feedback. A SoFI Accredited Member will retain full access to the learning materials, and any updates, and will be required to use them to re-sit the exam every two years. SoFI Accredited Interviewers will also have to complete an assessed practical interview at this time.
To be able to access the SoFI learning materials and resources, It is necessary to join SoFI, and retain membership for as long as you wish to be accredited. This also requires you to sign up to, and agree to abide by, our Code of Conduct. In return, we will allow you to use the appropriate post-nominals, the SoFI logo as a sign of our endorsement, and to show your accredited status on your CV.
SoFI has been granted Approved Centre (ALP Only) status by SfJ Awards to offer a professional vocational qualification in ethical Investigative Interviewing. This enables us to provide the SoFI Theory of Ethical Investigative Interviewing – ALP0053 course, as the benchmark standard for investigative interviewing in the private sectors.
This course is pitched at a Level 4 /Level 5 standard and covers five important aspects of interviewing:
- Ethical principles
- The memory process
- Questioning styles
- Legal issues
- The interview process
On successful completion of the course the member will receive certification from SfJ Awards and be eligible to become a SoFI Accredited Member. This is suitable for all investigative interviewers, investigation managers and supervisors, and investigation decision makers.
The SoFI Theory of Ethical Investigative Interviewing – ALP0053 course, can only be accessed as a distance-learning course, through the SoFI website and provides knowledge of the principles and processes required to conduct a professional interview. Managers, supervisors and decision makers will be able to differentiate between a good, reliable interview and an unreliable one, and enable them to properly assess the interview product and provide feedback
By making this available as a distance learning course unit, students can ensure they have the time to fully understand the materials and sit the on-line examination when they are fully prepared. It also enables the course to cover more subjects, and in greater detail, than a course requiring time away from the work environment.
A SoFI Accredited Member may then undertake a suitably accredited practical course with a SoFI Accredited Training Practitioner. On successful completion of this, they will be eligible to become a SoFI Accredited Interviewer. This is suitable for all practising investigative interviewers.
Any trainer who meets the criteria may apply to become a SoFI Accredited Training Practitioner which will allow organisations and business with in-house training facilities to submit their own practical course for SoFI accreditation. Otherwise, a list of SoFI Accredited Training Practitioners will be available on the SoFI website, and they will be able to tailor the practical course to meet any industry specific requirements.
If you are interested in joining the SoFI Accreditation Scheme please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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