Effective Complaint Handling (Local Government Ombudsman)

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About the course

Start – 10:00

Session 1 – your experience of making complaints Looking at the complaints process from the complainant’s point of view. Session 2 – customer care issues What is important to complainants? What makes pursuing a complaint a better experience for the complainant?

Break – 11:00-11:15

Session 3 – overview of the complaint handling process: defining the complaint; planning the investigation; collecting, evaluating and analysing information A case study which simulates the process of investigating a complaint, based on a real complaint that was investigated by the Ombudsman. Participants start with a letter about a complaint which has been through the complaints procedure but is to be reinvestigated following representations from a very dissatisfied complainant. Working in pairs/groups, they are asked to define the complaint, plan their investigation, identify useful sources of information, collect evidence, and come to some conclusions.

Lunch – 13:00-13:30

Re-start – 13:30

Session 4 – analysing and evaluating information (case study continued) Following on from session 3, a debriefing to look at what conclusions the participants have reached on the case. Was there fault? If so, what result did this have? An exercise in applying the key principles for assessing information and evidence. Session 5 – complaint resolution and remedies A presentation and discussion drawing on the Ombudsman’s recommended principles for resolving/remedying complaints, which are then applied to the case study. Session 6 – making and communicating the decision What decision is going to be communicated to the complainant in the case study, and how? What makes a good report or decision letter about a complaint?

Break – 14:45-15:00

Session 7 - learning from complaints The final part of the case study: an exercise in which participants are asked to identify what can be learned from the complaint and what service improvements they would recommend. Session 8 – troubleshooting Common problems in complaints handling and ideas for dealing with them. Session 9 – the benefits of complaints to your organisation How complaints can bring you positive benefits. Session 10 – review of the day, questions and answers about the course and about the work of the Ombudsman.

End – 16:00