The Investigations Division operates the Hotline on a 24-hour, confidential basis. The Division protects the confidentiality of all who exercise their right to make reports to the Division, whether the investigation substantiates the report or not. Systems and special controls have been established to limit the number of people who know the identity of the complainant on a need-to-know basis. In order not to jeopardize an investigation, the Division is mandated to have direct access to records, data, sites and staff without any hindrance or need for prior clearance. The Division also receives suggestions from staff members for improvements in working conditions and programme delivery.
The Investigations Division follows up on reports of possible violations of rules or regulations, mismanagement, misconduct, waste of resources or abuse of authority. When operations involve, e.g., large amounts of money or insecure locations, the Division can initiate its own investigation to assess the potential for fraud and other violations. It also provides investigation expertise and assistance to UN funds and programmes, which do not have independent professional investigators.
A separate independent investigations section has existed in the United Nations only since 1994. For almost five decades, the Secretary-General had few tools to gather evidence on criminal, illegal or improper conduct of UN staff members or contractors. It was, therefore, often difficult to conduct the type of inquiry, which would lead to successful corrective and administrative measures. Under OIOS, the Investigations Division has been developed into an organization staffed by highly skilled and committed men and women who probe allegations into, e.g., alleged payment of kickbacks, embezzlement of funds, serious and costly mismanagement or waste of the Organization's resources.