Quality Handbook













Corporate and Professional Development (CaPE)







Undergraduate Certificate of Achievement


Investigation and Conversation Management Skills


Level 6














1.Market Rationale


Increasing numbers of public and private sector organisations have developed investigative capabilities and there is a growing requirement for training to meet the skill needs of these organisations. Consultation with global business partners has highlighted the need for increased training and consistency of standards across investigative functions. A short course accreditation provides a cost effective means of raising standards of investigation whilst also providing a transferrable qualification.


This is an emerging area and it is currently anticipated that there will be 2-3 cohorts per annum with between 8-12 students per cohort.



2.Core Information


Course title: Investigation and Conversation Management Skills

Target award: Undergraduate Certificate of Achievement

Interim or exit awards: N/A


Awarding body: University of Sunderland

Course Assessment Board: Undergraduate Assessment Board


QAA subject benchmark(s) applicable: N/A


Accrediting body / bodies (if applicable): N/A


Collaborative partners and models of collaboration, if applicable: N/A

Location(s) at which programme is delivered: On and Off-campus at private business premises




Tick all that apply

Min number of years

Max number of years

Intake dates (months)

Any other issues































Distance learning






Work-based learning


12 months

2 years













a)Short Course definition by module


Module Code

Module Title

Credit Value

Core/ Option


Investigation and Conversation Management Skills

20 credits











b)Indicative delivery structure


The short course will contain 1 module and will be delivered within a 12-month period.


The course is offered as either a 5-day intensive teaching course or can be split into 2 x 3-day courses delivered over a maximum of a 12-month period allowing students to apply the learning back in the workplace between classroom based sessions.






Session 1

Investigation – key note lectures and group exercises to cover the enquiring mind, structure of an investigation, decision-making, gap analysis and compiling reports, includes pre-course reading material

35 hours


Session 2

Conversation management skills – key note lectures, group exercises, role play practice to cover structured conversations, preparation, questioning and listening skills, note taking, reflection and preparation of personal development plans, includes post-course reading material

30 hours

Up to 12 months after session 1

Session 3

Reading weeks, workplace reflection, gathering workplace evidence for portfolio & submission of assessments


Within 24 months of initial enrolment on session 1




4.Aims, objectives and learning outcomes to be achieved.


The overarching aim of this short course is to develop the skills, confidence and knowledge to be able to conduct efficient and effective investigations within the students’ workplace in order to deliver high quality service to those affected by the investigation.


The objectives of the short course have been developed to:

  1. Support the student to develop knowledge and skills around investigative practice and how to structure and conduct an investigation
  2. Support the student to explore the ways that conversations with witnesses and persons who are subject to the investigation can be managed to maximise the quantity and quality of information retrieved
  3. Provide models to support the students in decision-making, gap analysis, investigation & conversation planning, investigation structure and conversation management structure
  4. Provide students with the opportunity to practice planning an investigation, collecting and analysing information and preparing reports
  5. Explore personal experiences from their workplace to identify opportunities to develop their professional practice





Upon successful completion of this short course students will have demonstrated the ability to:




S1.Plan, conduct and evaluate an investigation following a structured approach

S2.Plan, conduct and evaluate an investigative interview following a structured approach




K1.Identify the key stages of an investigation and interview and demonstrate an ability to utilise these in workplace practice

K2.Critically reflect upon their own performance in the workplace and devise strategies for continuous professional improvement




5.Student Experience


The module consists of a combination of taught lecture sessions, workshops and role-play exercises. Small and large group discussions will also be used to facilitate the ethos of teamwork and enhance communication and presentation skills.


Scheduled learning and teaching activities includes:


  1. Lectures
  2. Formative assessment activities
  3. Presentation skills
  4. Group discussion
  5. Group work
  6. Tutorials


Independent study (guided learning which is not directly supervised) – all the study activity that is not covered above, including:


  1. Private study
  2. Preparation of/for assessments
  3. Problem-based learning (students identifying gaps in their knowledge and skills and defining ways to bridge the gaps with new knowledge, understanding and behaviour)
  4. Work-based learning (drawing on experiences in the workplace)


The assessment for this short course is:


  • Reflective Essay
  • Portfolio



The assessment criteria are the University’s generic undergraduate assessment criteria (see Appendix 3).


All students will be fully supported by the Module lead and the Corporate and Professional Education team at UoS. Students will be given a tutorial in the use of Canvas and the library services as part of the short course.


The module lead will offer one to one tutorial sessions via web conferencing facilities (e.g. Skype/Webex etc.) to students. A one-hour allocated time slot will be available for students who wish to take this opportunity.


Students wishing to apply for extenuating circumstances will follow UoS policy, and detailed guidance regarding this process will be included within the student handbook.





The following pages provide a detailed insight into how the short course will be delivered and assessed.



Module descriptors


TITLE: Investigation and Conversation Management Skills




FACULTY: Business, Law and Tourism

MODULE BOARD: Corporate and Work Based Learning







Upon successful completion of this short course students will have demonstrated the ability to:




S1.Plan, conduct and evaluate an investigation following a structured approach

S2.Plan, conduct and evaluate an investigative interview following a structured approach




K1.Identify the key stages of an investigation and interview and demonstrate an ability to utilise these in workplace practice

K2.Critically reflect upon their own performance in the workplace and devise strategies for continuous professional improvement





This module is focused on conducting investigations in the workplace and managing conversations with witnesses and subjects of investigations. A flexible learning approach will be adopted to assist in the development of specific knowledge relating to the way that investigative strategies are developed in varied workplace investigations. The student will consider the needs and requirements of all those involved in, or affected by, the investigation including victims, witnesses, subjects, external decision-makers (e.g. disciplinary hearings, judicial proceedings etc.), the investigator and the organisation/business.


Students will reflect on and explore personal experiences from their workplace practice, and investigation case studies in order to consider how they can develop practice. Students will be introduced to models and structures designed to support the investigative process and will explore how to gather, analyse and interpret information. Students will also explore the value of effectively managing conversations with witnesses and subjects in investigations in order to maximise the quality and quantity of information obtained.


Lectures from practitioner experts, discussions with peers and practical exercises will enable students to develop ideas about their own practice allowing them to draw on and develop existing theoretical and practical knowledge in order to link the module content to their professional practice. Directed and independent study will focus on reflection and lifelong learning.




  • The enquiring mind
  • Bias and assumption
  • Investigation Structure
  • Decision-making theories and models
  • Gap analysis tools and generating enquiries
  • Investigation and conversation management planning tools
  • Structuring conversations
  • Questioning and listening skills
  • Conflict management
  • Review and reflection skills





This module will provide students with the opportunity to develop the following transferable skills:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Communication skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Inter-professional and team working skills
  • Self-management and lifelong learning skills
  • IT and literature search skills
  • Reflective skills
  • Linking theory to practice





Scheduled activities

Directed and independent study

Work-based learning

Total hours









Pre-course and post-course reading and activities


Independent study


Work-based learning drawing on experience from the workplace



Lectures and seminars


Directed reading and study, problem-based learning


Gathering evidence and completion of portfolio






















Required For KIS return to HESA



% of module assessment weighting


Element Qualifying Mark

Overall ModulePass Mark


Written exam – central timetable

(% of the element)

Written exam – local timetable

(% of the element)


(% of the element)


(% of the element)



















Reflection on professional practice















Portfolio of evidence demonstrating the ability to conduct effective investigations and interviews



S1, S2, K1











Assessment 001


Students will produce a 1,500 word (guide) essay reflecting on their performance in the workplace. Students will use a model to critically reflect on an investigation or interview they have conducted and analyse their performance. They will identify strategies to develop their workplace performance and will explore the importance of continuous professional development and will identify a personal development plan.


To meet learning outcomes: K2


30% weighting of total mark


Assessment 002


Students will complete a portfolio of evidence relating to at least 2 investigations they have undertaken. Students will include evidence of planning the investigation and conversations with witnesses and subjects, evidence of reasoned decision-making in the investigation, evidence of identification and collection of appropriate investigative evidence types, evidence of analysis and interpretation of the investigative evidence and identification of gaps or further enquiries and preparation of a summary report detailing the key points from the investigative process.


To meet learning outcomes: S1, S2, and K1


70% weighting of total mark


The assessment criteria for the written assessment with be the University’s generic Undergraduate assessment criteria for Level 6


MyModuleResources List link.


Reading List


Indicative reading (subject to availability):


Bolton, G. (2014). Reflective practice: writing and professional development (4th Edition). London: SAGE

Kovacs, L. & Corrie, S. (2017). Building reflective capability to enhance coaching practice. The Coaching Psychologist, 13(1), 4-12

Moon, J. (2005). A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning: Theory and Practice. [Online]. Routledge. Available from:

Wain, A. (2017). Learning Through Reflection. British Journal of Midwifery, 25(10), 662-666

Alison, L. & Crego, J. (2011). Policing Critical Incidents: Leadership and critical incident management. London: Routledge

Cook, T. & Tattershall, A. (2014). Senior Investigating Officers' Handbook (Third Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press

Djikstra, M., Beersma, B. & Evers, A. (2011). Reducing conflict-related employee strain: The benefits of an internal locus of control and a problem solving conflict management strategy. Work & Stress, 25(2), 167-184

Fahsing, I. & Ask, K. (2013). Decision-Making and Decisional Tipping Points in Homicide Investigations: An interview study of british and Norweigan Detectives. Journal of Investigtaive Psychology & Offender Profiling, 10, 155-165

Jaiswal, B. & Srivastava, P. (2013). The effect of Transactional Analysis Ego States on Conflict Management Styles. The IUP Journal of Soft Skills, VII(2), 7-12

Moeller, C. & Kwantes, C.T. (2015). Too much of a good thing? Emotional Intelligence and Interpersonal Conflict Behaviours. The Journal of Social Psychology, 155, 314-324



Investigation and Conversation Management Skills


Is the programme delivered On Campus or Off Campus:


On and Off Campus


College(s): N/A


Work based learning: Yes


Professional Accreditation: No


Module Leader: Emma Spooner


Lead Deliverer: Emma Spooner


JACS Code: N290





The assessment for this short course is split into two pieces of work. Firstly, a reflective essay examining personal performance during an investigation in the workplace. Secondly, a professional portfolio of evidence demonstrating an ability to conduct investigations and interviews in the workplace. For further details see Section 6 (Module Descriptor). The assessment criteria are the University’s generic Undergraduate assessment criteria (see Appendix 3).


8.Student Support and Guidance


The Short Course Leader will meet all students as a group to establish their understanding of the need to actively engage with the specific learning outcomes required for learning across the short course. Once established, the short course leader will maintain regular contact with the cohort throughout and following the module attendance. Students will be advised that any major concerns about the short course can be raised with the short course leader and a resolution to any perceived problems will be found as soon as possible.


The face-to-face meetings will serve as a means of defining the cohort in terms of social identity and specific educational needs within the cohort specifically and the University generally. Education as a social activity will underpin the ethos of the whole course, with social interaction an embedded yet palpable part of the academic curriculum. Networking and sharing ideas about best practice and practice development between practitioners/peers is a very important benefit of the short course



9.Admissions Criteria


Students will have a minimum of 12 months previous experience within the field of work in which they will be conducting investigations.



10.Learning Environment and Resources


Students will have remote access to University of Sunderland IT provision, including Canvas.


Staff from Corporate and Professional Education (CaPE) will assist with module administration and VLE and Canvas IT queries.


University Library Services support both staff and students through the provision of a high quality learning environment and information skills sessions.



11.Programme and Quality Management


The short course is managed and quality assured through the University’s standard processes.


Short courses are overseen by a studies board in the appropriate academic area and each year each short course leader provides a brief report on the delivery of the short course, identifying strengths and areas for development.


The Corporate and WBL Board, which includes short course leaders, student representatives and, where applicable, typical employers, is responsible for the course as a whole, ensuring the coherence of the course overall, its currency, progression, and alignment between the learning outcomes and modes of teaching, learning and assessment.


Student achievement is kept under review so that students may be best supported in maximizing their potential.


The short course is reviewed annually and a report is sent to the Programme Studies Board that in turn reports issues to Academic Board via the University’s Quality Management Sub-Committee (QMSC) and SDAG.


External examiners are appointed to oversee and advise on the assessment of the short course. They verify the comparability of the standards of the modular content with the standards of similar short courses elsewhere in the UK and the quality of the assessment process. They are also invited to comment on proposed developments to the short course. Their reports are sent to the DVC (Academic) as well as to the Faculty; they require a report from the Faculty on any major issues of concern raised by the external examiner.


All short courses and programmes are reviewed by the University on a six-yearly cycle to identify good practice and areas for enhancement. This short course would also be revalidated through this review process. These reviews include at least one academic specialist in the subject area concerned from another UK HEI.


Students’ views are sought through short course questionnaires. The feedback informs short course leaders’ annual reports on their short courses.


12. Evaluation and Feedback

Evaluation and feedback are provided by the University's systems for course evaluation and monitoring. Evaluation and monitoring reports are considered by the Student Success Committee (SSC), which is attended by the appropriate Site Librarian.


Students’ views are sought through module questionnaires. All programmes within Corporate and Professional Education are subject to ongoing review with feedback regularly sought from both students and employers. Feedback sheets will be produced and students will be required to complete these after each session and at the end of the programme. Feedback in regard to the programme will be sought and fed into review and evaluation to ensure the programme is relevant in delivering learning back into the workplace.



13. Regulations


Standard University Undergraduate regulations apply.



Appendix 1




Appendix 2





(Form to be completed electronically by the Faculty and forwarded to the Quality Support Officer supporting the Approval event, or sent to Planning & MI for faculty devolved processes before sending to Quality Support (with the exception of Short Courses and GRS))

This form is to be completed when a new programme has been validated and approved so that the programme codes and progression and awards rules can be set up in SITS.  This also needs to be completed at periodic course review when there have been significant modifications to the course.


Please note that all details entered onto this form will go onto every student’s record that is attached to this programme and it is therefore imperative that the information is correct. 


1 Programme Details

New/ Modification/Review:

Please ensure the minor modification document is included


Full Programme Title:

Undergraduate Certificate of Achievement in Investigation and Conversation Management Skills

If replacement for existing course, specify title and course code:


Qualification Aim:

eg Foundation degree of Science, Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

Undergraduate Certificate of Achievement

Qualification Level (NQF level):


JACS 3.0 code

JACS code = e.g. (V100) History, (I100) Computing Science, etc. See HESA Website


Is the programme Open or Closed:

A course is defined as closed when specifically designed for a certain group of people and not also available to other suitably qualified candidates. It may be designed for a particular company however if the same course is also run for other suitably qualified candidates, not employed by the company, then the course is not closed.


Faculty and School:

Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism

Sunderland Business School

Location of study:

e.g. SAGE, Sunderland in London, Sunderland

Sunderland & possibly off campus

Last Date Registration (PBI) Number of days:

The number of days after the start date of the course that it is possible for students to register onto it. It is also referred to as the migration date.


Programme Leader:

Emma Spooner

Academic Team for the programme:

Corporate and Work Based Learning

Date of Approval/Modification/Review:

May 2018

Date of next review (QAE to complete):


Accrediting Body or PSRB
If yes please attach completed form AQH-Ciii2



Programme Specific Regulations

If yes, please attach completed form AQH-B3 Appendix 2 or AQH-B8.



Does this programme come under the Key Information Set return?

If yes, please attach a completed KIS form


Is this an undergraduate programme whose primary (but not necessarily only) purpose is to improve the effectiveness of practitioners registered with a professional body? If yes, please specify which body:,2014/Content/Pubs/2016/201622/HEFCE2016_22.pdf  (Page 88, paragraph f)

e.g a short course aimed at registered nurses

Yes/No:  No, this course is not to satisfy a professional body however its purpose is to improve the effectiveness of practitioners

Professional Body:



Interim  Awards

If a student does not achieve their qualification aim, what lower awards might they be entitled to, assuming they have the credits?  The subject title for any lower level award should be given where this is different from the subject of the qualification aim.


Interim Award Title

Credits Required

Interim Structure

Please show mandatory requirements if applicable e.g. core module codes














Combined Subjects Programmes only

Will the subject run as Major/Minor/Dual:


Any subject(s) not permitted to be combined with this subject:










2 Mode Of Attendance

01                          Full-time

Full-time students are those expected to study for more than 24 weeks per year, for a minimum of 21 hours per week and are paying the full-time fee.


02                          Other Full-time

Students who attend full-time for a period less than 24 weeks per year



Students who are expected to study for less than 21 hours per week.


31Part-time at Full-time Rate

Students who are studying full-time credits over part-time attendance




3 Admissions

An admissions or MCR code will be created to allow student applications.

Tick appropriate


Universities and Colleges Admission Services

Required for full-time undergraduate programmes only.


DDirect Entry

Required for FT, PT, PG and PGR, only where students will be admitted though the admissions teams or where the programme needs to be advertised on the web



Graduate Teacher Training Registry

Education only, where applicable




4Collaborative Provision






Collaborative Model

Funding Arrangements










5aCourse Block

Full-time - Overall length of the programme in months:


Part-time - Overall length of the programme in months:

12-24 months

Does this course offer a sandwich placement?

If yes, please indicate which programme year this placement is to take place.


Programme Year:

Is this compulsory or optional?


Does this course offer a study abroad year out? If yes, please indicate which programme year this placement is to take place.


Programme Year:

Is this compulsory or optional?





6   Major Source of Funding

Please note this relates to funding for the programme and not individual students


Higher Education Funding Council for England


Skills Funding Agency/EFA/Degree Apprenticeship



National College for Teaching and Leadership


Wholly NHS Funded

Partially NHS Funded

Departments of Health/NHS/Social Care. For all Health funded programmes please indicate whether the programme is eligible for an NHS Bursary

-  Eligible for NHS BursaryY/N




Other Funding:


– Please Specify:

This will be funded by an employer





7   Education Programmes Only

This section must be completed for any programmes marked above as ‘NCTL’ funded

Teacher Training Identifier:


Teacher Training Scope:


Qualification Aim:

QTS and academic award, QTS only, QTS by assessment only




   DETAILS SUPPLIED BY:………………………………………        DATE:………………………..



Module List

Award, Route (if applicable) and Level

New/Existing/ Modified  Module (N/E/MM)

Module Title

Module Code

Module Credit Value

Whether core or option

Must choose (ie designated option):

Assessment weighting – give % weight for each assessment item


Module leader

Other comment (if required)

Date of Entry on SITS.

N/MM only

( After event)


Academic Team

Undergraduate Certificate of Achievement in Investigation and Conversation Management Skills Level 6


Investigation and Conversation Management Skills





Essay 30%, Portfolio 70%


Emma Spooner















































































































































































































Matrix of modes of teaching, learning and assessment



NB Text in the table below is an example. You will need some means of cross-referring to each of the learning outcomes specified for the programme. Here they are labelled LO / S (for skills) / 1, 2 etc; LO / K (for knowledge) / 1, 2 etc but you do not need to follow that approach. One matrix sheet must be completed for each stage of the programme.


Stage 1




Core / optional

Modes of T&L

Modes of Assessment








Investigation and Conversation Management Skills



Lectures, private study, group exercises

Essay & Portfolio



































Appendix 3












Quality Handbook



AQH-B8 Programme Specific Regulation/s

Version 4.0 August 2013


PART A – not to be included in programme Specification




Programme Award and Title:


Programme Leader:


Rationale for attached Programme Specific regulation:





Approval Process - as part of a university event.




Approval at Faculty level, Programme Studies Board (PSB), Faculty Quality Management Sub-Committee (FQMSC), or other

signature or event notes.


Faculty attach PART B only as appendix to the Programme Specification in event documentation and also send this complete form to Quality Assurance and Enhancement (QAE) officer.



QAE Officer send to Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC)



Approved by  DVC



QAE checked ;

a)       copy of document returned to faculty

b)       copy of document kept on QAE Programme regulations file

c)       copy sent to Quality Management Sub-Committee QMSC for note








Approval Process - when not part of a university event




Chair of Programme Studies Board



Approval of Faculty Quality Management Sub Committee



Document sent to QAE by Faculty Quality Officer (FQO)



QAE Officer send to DVC



Approved by DVC



QAE checked ;

d)      copy of document returned to faculty

e)       copy of document kept on QAE Programme regulations file

f)        copy sent to QMSC for note







Faculty attach PART B only as appendix  2 to Programme Specification








Name of programme:

Title of final award:

Interim awards[1]:



Stage 1


Core modules:













Progression Regulations: N/A




[1]9 Same as main award unless agreed otherwise at validation – e.g. to meet PSRB requirements