The Society of Forensic Interviewers

The Society of Forensic Interviewers (“SoFI” or the “Company) is a registered not-for-profit company set up with the purpose of establishing a self-regulatory quality standard for investigative interviewing across all sectors.

SoFi’s Mission:

SoFI’s strategic focus is to establish and administer a voluntary quality standard for investigative interviewing which is widely adopted and adhered to by practitioners and trainers across various sectors throughout the world.  The Company will also provide members with information and other services to improve the quality of their investigative interviewing knowledge and skills.

SoFi’s Aims:

  1. To promote and maintain ethical standards in forensic interviewing.
  2. To provide opportunities for education, training & development for forensic interview practitioners.
  3. To support and encourage research and development in the subject of forensic interviewing.

 
Interviewing witnesses and potential respondents is an integral and critical 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 its conclusion.  Currently, the quality of service or expertise provided by investigative interviewers in the private sector is considered variable and there is no benchmark against which said services and expertise can be measured.

The importance of high standards in interviewing cannot be overstated as they will improve the accuracy and veracity of the information obtained.  Improved quality through the introduction of standards will also ensure that interview dependent investigations will be more efficient and ultimately more cost effective.  Improving accuracy also improves ethical standards, which improves employer/employee relations in the work environment.

Conversely, poor quality or unethical interviewing can have a direct and detrimental impact on interviewees, and the value of their evidence.  It can also adversely affect the options available at the conclusion of an investigation.  This applies to interviewing for any purpose within the banking sector, including: HR discipline/grievance, Compliance, AML, Internal Investigations and Fraud.

The benefits to the sector will be:

  • 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
  • A product that will meet the standards of evidence required by the police service if a prosecution is sought
  • Reduction in the number of legally challenged interviews
  • Increased marketability of organisations, practitioners and trainers
  • Protection of investment in training by organisations and individuals

 
Additional societal benefits include the introduction of quality ethical interviewing.

Finally, self-regulation can ensure that stakeholders are involved in the development of the standards and SoFi will also be able to influence academic research pertinent to private sector interviewing – which is under-represented in research at present.


Press release: 1st July 2014

The Society of Forensic Interviewers (SoFI) are pleased to announce that they will be working with SFJ Awards to produce National Operating Standards for ethical Investigative Interviewing.

Currently, the quality of service or expertise provided by investigative interviewers in the private sector 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 importance of high standards in interviewing cannot be overstated as they will improve 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 and, accredited training to the marketplace, which will be of benefit to investigative interviewing practitioners, investigative interviewing trainers and organisations that employ either.

Jeff Shiplee, Managing Director of SoFI said “ SoFI has made tremendous progress since it was launched in October 2013. We firmly believe that interviews conducted outside of the law enforcement agencies should meet an acceptable standard of ethics and professionalism. We hope that the various sectors will share this view and choose to self-regulate by adopting these standards. SFJ Awards is a respected accrediting body, who worked to introduce National Operating Standards for Investigative Interviewing in the criminal justice sector. The experience and knowledge that they bring to this project is vital to ensure that we produce a meaningful and robust standard, and we are very pleased that we have reached an agreement to work together on this project.”

Adrian Jackson,  Managing Director of SFJ Awards said “We are very pleased to be working with SOFI to develop the Operating Standards and Accreditation for Investigative Interviewing, having had many years experience in the Justice and Community Safety sector we are very aware that not only do interviews form a critical part of the investigative process but that it is a skill that needs to be acquired and delivered consistently to the required standard to facilitate investigations.”


Further information about the Society can be found at www.so-fi.org
or
Contact Jeff Shiplee, Managing Director, SoFI at jeffshiplee@so-fi.org