The Value of Apology Across the UK, we’re not very good at saying we got it wrong. Although extreme, the tragedies at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust are testimony to what happens when complaints are ignored and spiral out of control. It is possible for complaints to be resolved early on, but from small doctors’ surgeries to large local authorities, organisations often fail to grasp the value of a well-constructed apology. R ESEARCH FROM QMU’S Consumer Insight Centre shows that there are real benefits for organisations that fully understand the power of apology and that put resources into developing effective complaint handling procedures. 14 QMU’s Consumer Insight Centre is a leader in the provision of ombudsman and complaints handling training to organisations in the UK and internationally. The Centre’s academics have developed an QMYOU / Sustainable Business innovative masterclass for forward-thinking organisations that understand the merit in improving complaint handling. ‘Managing Complaints: The Value of Apology’ is a one-day masterclass that is delivered at QMU or at a location of choice. The course allows individuals to explore the power of apology in providing genuine and positive remedies for complaints. Carol Brennan, Director of the Consumer Insight Centre, explained: “Providing meaningful and lasting solutions to complaints is a significant challenge – particularly in the complex world of health and social care grievances. There are risks attached to a failure to handle a complaint effectively. Managers and governance staff – in both private and public sector organisations – need to learn that a well-constructed apology can turn around a troubled situation so that it has a positive outcome for both the organisation and the consumer.” She continued: “Poor complaints handling is a continuous source of negative headlines. The Francis Report, published in 2013, highlighted the need to avoid formulaic, insensitive, patronising language in apologies that would be more likely to exacerbate wounds rather than heal them.