Open courses

SPSO training


These courses are open to individual participants from all public sector organisations in Scotland.

We currently can offer training courses on the following topics:

1. Complaint investigation skills (stage 2 of the model CHP)

2. Managing Difficult Behaviour

To register, please email

1. Complaint investigation skills (stage 2 of the model CHP)

Next course date: TBC


 Develop your skills in 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.

Who Should Attend?

This course is open to all sectors. It is for managers, team leaders, complaints officers and any other member of 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.

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 SPSO.

We will use a variety of case studies but examples will be mainly drawn from housing and local authority areas. Delegates from other areas will have an opportunity to discuss their specific issues.

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.

Delegates will have the opportunity to:

  • work a complaint logically through the complaints procedure
  • learn how to prepare great complaint responses
  • share experiences and learning with fellow complaint handlers
  • access investigation and planning tools
  • get to work on practical case studies.


Price: £180 pp – to apply for the course, please email

2. *NEW COURSE AVAILABLE*  Managing Difficult Behaviour

Next course date: TBC.

Who should attend?
Staff who might receive negative feedback from the public or other stakeholders.

What does it cover?
• 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.

Price: £180 pp – to register interest, please email


Classroom size

We have a maximum number of 20 delegates for each course. Places will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. If there is demand for more, we may be able to run a second open course.

Get In Touch
Please email Kerry Flinn, SPSO Training Coordinator, at if you wish to attend or to find out more about this course.