It seems that the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee did not think much of the report prepared by Clifford Chance into RBS. Investigations are a powerful tool in dealing with a crisis. Their primary purpose is to find out what went wrong and identify what changes should be made to make sure it can't happen again. This is not only the right thing to do but also demonstrates to the regulator that the organisation is taking its obligations seriously and reduces the risk of an adverse regulatory reaction.

Where there is media interest enquiries are answered by an assurance that: "we are going to get to the bottom of this" and by the time the report is available often much of the initial heat has gone out of the situation.

However, the appointment of an investigator also brings risks. What if that person does not understand the problems and instead of providing a measured sensible report in fact makes things worse? Addressing this risk points towards appointing someone whom the organistion knows well.

There are no easy answers, and each case is different, but the starting point must be to find someone who has a genuine expertise and credibility in the subject matter of the investigation. This significantly reduces the risk. Often independence will be the obvious element of this selection. If not, there needs to be careful analysis of any existing links from both sides. If it feels a bit too close it probably is.