“An investigation is a process of seeking information relevant to an alleged, apparent or potential breach of the law, involving possible judicial proceedings. The primary purpose of an investigation is to gather admissible evidence for any subsequent action, whether under criminal, civil penalty, civil, disciplinary or administrative sanctions. Investigations can also result in prevention and/or disruption action.”


To maintain integrity in an investigation process, national government agencies must undertake workplace investigations in accordance with the Australian Government Investigation Standards 2011 (AGIS).

AGIS sets out the minimum standards required in an investigation including:

  • receiving and assessing referrals
  • evaluating potential breaches
  • when to investigate a matter
  • when to refer the matter to police

While AGIS are specifically applicable to all Australian Government Agencies, many state and local governments also apply the Standards to their own operations to maintain a minimum quality standard within investigations.

Key elements include:

  • having in place procedures for the collection of information about potential or alleged breaches
  • having a process in writing for the evaluation of potential or alleged breaches, including:
    who has responsibility for the process
    the use of evaluation templates
    timelines for the purposes of prompt actioning
  • when making decisions for matters to be investigated
    use and apply legislation appropriately
    be transparent, ethical, and efficient
    ensure complaints are handled in a timely, appropriate and comprehensive manner
    take action against respondents where appropriate
  • have a policy dealing with the recording of, and the creation and distribution of intelligence used in the investigation
  • refer matters to the police if a criminal breach is complex or serious, unless the agency has the skills and resources required
  • refer a matter to the relevant anti-corruption commission, where required

AGIS Minimum Investigator qualifications:

  • Certificate IV in Government (Investigation), or its equivalent, as set out in the Public Services Training Package (PSP04). This qualification should be obtained before an officer is primarily engaged as an investigator; otherwise, the officer should be under the supervision of a qualified investigator.
  • Diploma of Government (Investigation), or equivalent, as set out in the Public Services Training Package (PSP04) for staff primarily engaged in the coordination and supervision of investigations.


AGIS Standards are available online at: www.ag.gov.au/integrity/publications/australian-government-investigations-standards-2011


WISE Workplace investigators are qualified to conduct investigations in accordance with the Standards at federal, state, or local government levels. On commencing an investigation, we will review applicable legislative and policy documents, as well as assess the relevant legal and statutory frameworks under which the investigation will occur.

WISE Workplace also has extensive experience in supporting regulatory bodies with respect to allegations of workplace fraud or corruption.

We are also experienced in conducting investigations into alleged breaches of an organisation’s Values or Code of Conduct, including serious misconduct, policy and procedural breaches, and complex human resource issues.

WISE Workplace offers nationally recognised training in Government Investigations through our Registered Training Organisation.


For more information about how WISE Workplace can assist you with government investigations or investigations training please call us on 1300 580 685 or email [email protected]