Local Government Ombudsman
You are here: Home : : Local Authority Training : : Effective complaint handling (ECH)

Sharing good practice

Contact information

Course details

"I’ve been on similar courses but this was the best"

"Excellent guidance provided by the presenter"

"A great day, very informative"

"Most informative course run by your excellent instructor"

"It was just what we needed…has helped us to prevent complaints from escalating"

"If it prevents one complaint from escalating through the whole process it has more than paid for itself"

Effective complaint handling: Investigating and resolving complaints

What it is

A one-day skills course in investigating complaints, developed by the LGO’s office. The course is presented by an experienced investigator who has genuine practical expertise in complaint handling. Participants can draw on a fund of knowledge gained from our experience of more than three decades of investigating complaints. (see How it is done)

Who it is for

It is for local authority staff whose jobs involve handling complaints in the higher stages of the authority’s complaints procedures, after the informal stage and up to the point of deciding the complaint. It is a course for managers, team leaders, departmental and corporate complaints officers. 

What it does

By the end of the course learners will be able to:

  • list five things that are important to people when they complain;
  • describe the complaint handling process;
  • accurately identify, define and summarise complaints;
  • list five sources of evidence;
  • investigate a complaint and reach evidence-based conclusions;
  • identify appropriate and proportionate remedies for injustice;
  • write a comprehensive decision letter/report;
  • explain how complaints can be used to drive service improvements.

How it is done

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 LGO. Participants will be asked to use their own expertise as well as drawing on that of the presenter to: 

  • define the complaint;
  • plan the investigation;
  • come to a reasoned and justifiable view about the complaint;
  • consider appropriate remedies; and
  • make and communicate decisions.

The presenter shares with participants our unique experience and knowledge, gained over some 30 years of dealing with complaints, of how to go about putting things right for a complainant when the authority has been at fault. He/she also explores with participants problems which commonly affect the complaint process, and ways of keeping the investigation on track in the face of them. 

At each point in the process the presenter offers guidance and insights on applying the Ombudsman’s principles of good practice in investigating complaints.

The presenter will be familiar with the authority’s complaints procedure.


One-day course for a group of up to 15, with one presenter:    £1,075 from July 2013

One-day course for a group of up to 30, with two presenters:  £1,785 from July 2013

No extra charge made for trainer’s travel and expenses. Prices assume you will supply the venue, lunch and refreshments for the course.

Authorities with fewer than 15 staff to put forward for training may wish to get together with neighbouring authorities to hold a regional LGO training event, and so share the costs.

Date Updated: 29/10/13