QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 80 - Page 14

Focus on Consumer Insight Centre World’s first masters degree for professional complaint handlers T HE CONSUMER INSIGHT CENTRE at QMU has launched the world’s first postgraduate degree for professional complaint handlers. relationship with the Ombudsman Association and the International Ombudsman Institute and regularly delivers courses on dispute resolution for professionals across the UK and beyond. The new MSc Dispute Resolution is an accredited qualification for professionals in the workplace who deal with disputes between consumers and businesses and between citizens and the state. QMU is aiming to raise standards across the complaint handling industry by drawing on insights from its research and consultancy work. This includes the development of the University’s new MSc Dispute Resolution. Complaints about public services and private industry are big business. The UK central government alone spends around £1.5 billion a year on professional dispute resolution. The private sector also spends a significant amount on customer care and complaint handling activities. The Financial Ombudsman Service received a whopping 2,357,374 complaints and enquiries last year. QMU’s Consumer Insight Centre has been collaborating with colleagues from the ombudsman and complaint handling world to develop accredited qualifications for professional complaint handlers. The University has a long standing 14 QMYOU / Sustainable Business Chris Gill, MSc Dispute Resolution Course Leader at QMU’s Consumer Insight Centre, said: “There is clearly work to be done to improve standards across the complaint handling industry and the provision of professional education is only one piece in an undoubtedly complex puzzle. “We feel that it’s now the right time to speed up effort to develop professionalism in the complaints sector. Ultimately, good complaint handling provides better public services and fair consumer markets. It’s a crucial activity, which affects the everyday lives of consumers and citizens. “It’s in everyone’s interest to ensure that – in years to come – a consumer can expect the same level of publicly assured professionalism when dealing with a complaint handler as they can when dealing with a lawyer, doctor or accountant. It is time to make this aspiration a reality.” QMU welcomed its first MSc Dispute Resolution students in January 2015. The unique course is available as a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or MSc according to each student’s preferred outcome. The Postgraduate Certificate is available entirely online, while the Postgraduate Diploma and MSc are available by a mix of online and campus-based modules. The MSc Dispute Resolution will provide students with a qualification which is relevant to the workplace and will maximise students’ potential to develop within their existing or new careers, including public health services, housing associations and banking.