COVID-19 update

Our office is currently not open to visitors. We are responding to emails; however, our response times will be affected.  We are operating a limited telephone service for complaints related enquiries. Our Scottish Welfare Fund review service is still available by telephone as normal.  Please read our information for customers and organisations

Training courses

Our direct delivery training courses have been delivered to a broad range of public sector organisations.  We offer open courses (where you can book a few spaces and come along to a course with around 20 participants), or you can book us to come to your organisation to deliver a course directly to your team. The courses we offer are practical and flexible in their approach. Much of the course content can be adapted as needed if your organisation has a specific outcome you would like to achieve.  Our training coordinator, Nicola Driver, is happy to discuss options and what will work best for you and your organisation.

You can email Nicola via our Training Unit (link sends e-mail).

We deliver training courses in:

  • complaint investigation skills
  • good complaints handling
  • managing difficult behaviour

Forthcoming courses

We currently have no open courses available.  Sign up to our enewsletter or follow us on Twitter (@SPSO_Ombudsman) for the latest updates and notification of new courses!

Course content

Who should attend?

This course is for managers, team leaders, complaints officers and any other staff involved in the investigation of complaints. The course aims to develop their awareness of what makes the experience of complaining a good one or a bad one and explores the investigation process from initial receipt to conclusion.

What will I learn?

The aims of this course are to help participants develop their skills in complaints investigation, specifically in:

  • defining and analysing complaints accurately
  • planning investigations and making best use of information
  • evaluating information and evidence and making sound decisions
  • communicating findings effectively
  • identifying ways of resolving complaints quickly and appropriately
  • overcoming common problems
How is the course run?

The style is interactive, using a variety of activities and materials. The first part of the day deals with good customer relations, using participants’ own experiences. Most of the day is centred around a case study based on a real complaint to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

Participants will be asked to use their own expertise as well as drawing on that of the trainer. At each point in the process the presenter offers guidance and insights on applying the Ombudsman’s principles of good practice in investigating complaints.

What does it cost?

The cost is £180 per person.

Who Should Attend?

This course is for staff who have direct contact with members of the public and who receive complaints as part of their day-to-day work.  Frontline staff can play a vital role in the early resolution of complaints.  This course aims to help them to make the most of the potential in their roles.

What will I learn?

The aims of this course are to help participants to:

  • identify complaints early and get them on the right track
  • develop their understanding of what generates customer satisfaction
  • identify what makes the experience of complaining a good or bad one
  • build their confidence in dealing with complaints
  • recognise their role within the authority in handling and resolving complaints
How is the course run?

The course is interactive, using a variety of activities and materials including:

  • participants’ experience of making complaints and our experience of what can go wrong
  • research findings on what contributes to customer satisfaction
  • practical exercises including a case study to identify and resolve service failures
  • a troubleshooting exercise to consider the problems staff encounter and possible solutions

Who should attend?

Staff who might receive negative feedback from the public or other stakeholders.

What will I learn?

• why people complain and what they want to achieve by complaining
• how people react in situations of conflict and how this can give rise to behaviours that cause problems
• ways to de-escalate potential complaints and look at what can go wrong when concerns are responded to badly
• how an unacceptable actions policy (or equivalent) can be helpful in dealing with situations which become difficult

Participants will be given an opportunity to assess their own conflict styles and develop ways of managing their own personal ‘triggers’. We will consider a number of different theories and tools that can be helpful in managing conflict. The session will include a number of opportunities to put theory into practice and participants will be able to discuss their own particular concerns.


Updated: February 27, 2020