The Society of Forensic Interviewers (SoFI) has introduced an Accreditation Scheme to enable investigators to obtain a professional qualification in ethical Investigative Interviewing. This will also provide employers with a uniform benchmark that they will come to recognise as providing high quality skills.
We are an international Society and the Scheme is applicable worldwide. Our qualifications are verified, and approved, by an independent and nationally recognised accrediting body in the United Kingdom, Skills for Justice Awards.
We are also a non-profit organisation, registered as a company limited by guarantee at Companies House in the United Kingdom, and comply with their strict rules allowing us to have the word ‘Society’ in our name.
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. It is necessary to join SoFI, and retain membership for as long as you wish to be accredited, as this 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.
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.
Unlike some other types of interviewing, the 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.
The Accreditation Scheme provides a tiered approach to interview training. The Foundation Level has been designed to provide all the knowledge and practical skills required by the majority of interviewers, in the majority of situations. The Advanced Level will allow employers to select their best interviewers to progress to learn further skills which will be applicable in a smaller number of cases. Finally, the Specialist Level will provide thorough training for those undertaking the most difficult interviews, in the most difficult circumstance e.g. dealing with vulnerable children.
The Foundation Level is available in two units, the Theory Unit and the Practical Unit. The Theory Unit can 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. Whilst this is compulsory for those who wish to become an Accredited Interviewer, it also offers an opportunity for managers, supervisors and decision makers to gain an insight into the workings of an interview, and be able to differentiate between a good, reliable interview and an unreliable one. This will be of tremendous value to staff employed in these roles, especially where practical interviewing skills are not required. 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.
The Practical Unit is a classroom based course and will be provided by SoFI Accredited Trainers. A list of these can be found on the SoFI website, and course details, including price, location, facilities and duration will vary form individual to individual. Each Accredited Trainer must satisfy the SoFI and Skills for Justice Awards requirements to deliver the necessary skills to meet the Accredited Interviewer criteria, and complement the Theory Unit. However, they are all independently employed, and it will be necessary to contact them directly to enquire about availability. Most Accredited Trainers will be able to modify the course to suit any industry specific requirements.
Details of the Theory Unit can be found on the ‘Courses’ page. Details of how to join SoFI can be found on the ‘Membership’ page.
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