Research / Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre

Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre

The Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre (CDRC) is a Centre of Excellence for continuing professional development (CPD), research and knowledge exchange in dispute resolution, complaint management and consumer policy.


We are a leading provider of ombudsman and complaint handling courses including:



  o Professional Award   in Ombudsman and Complaint Handling Practice

This two day course will be running on the 8th & 9th February 2017 in London.

Full details of the course and early bird booking form are available from


  o NEW - Financial Services Complaint Management Award

We will be introducing this two day course on the 28th &   29th March 2017 at the QMU campus

Full details will be available soon.


  o Public Services Complaint Management Award

This two day course will be running on the:

o  28th and 29th March 2017 in London

Full details of the course and early bird booking form are available from


  o Introduction to Conflict Resolution (A FREE ONLINE COURSE)

We will be running this free online course between Monday 3rd April 2017 and Friday 28th April.

The course is open to anyone with an interest in conflict and how it is resolved. It is available online and throughout the world.

More course information

Enrol now


  o Professional Certificate in Ombudsman & Complaint Handling Practice

We will be running this three day course on 19th 20th & 21st September 2017 in Reading

Full details of the course and early bird booking form are available from



  o Public Services Complaint Management Award

This two day course will be running on the:

17th & 18th October 2017 in Manchester

Full details of the course and early bird booking form are available from


Our Research & Impact

This Centre contributes to the evidence base for policy and practice, providing world leading multidisciplinary research. Through the provision of high quality CPD and consultancy, our research and knowledge exchange activities contribute to the professionalisation of complaint handling throughout the UK and internationally. Our activities influence policy and practice to enhance the consumer experience of dispute resolution. We contribute innovative thinking and analysis for policy makers and academic networks.

Our focus is on CPD, research and consultancy.


Continuing professional development (CPD)

The Centre provides industry-relevant learning in dispute resolution and complaint management for practitioners and policy makers. We offer a range of open and ‘in-house’ courses. Our complaint management courses include such topics as investigations, interviewing, root-cause analysis, the value of apology, dealing with difficult behaviour, decision making and effective communication. We work in partnership with organisations and networks to meet their needs. We also run a range of short courses in mediation, negotiation, communication and conflict resolution.



This is an exciting time for research in consumer dispute resolution. Our research in this area covers a number of important themes, which seek to bridge theoretical perspectives and the concerns of dispute resolution practitioners. Current areas of interest within our research team include: understanding consumer perspectives in relation to dispute resolution, the design of effective dispute mechanisms, using complaints as a source of learning and innovation, and the impact of current dispute resolution policy for dispute resolvers.

Our research has been funded by a number of organisations, including NESTA (National Endowment for Sciences Technology and the Arts), the Nuffield Foundation, and the Economic and Social Research Council. Much of our research work is funded by dispute resolution organisations themselves and is tailored directly to meet their needs.

We collaborate with a range of scholars and practitioners in the United Kingdom and internationally. We maintain close relationships with practitioners and Centre staff hold senior positions on a range of external committees.



We also offer an advisory service for consumer dispute resolution (CDR) service providers. Consultancy projects have included conducting complaint process reviews, advising on legislative changes, evaluations, and complaint review services.


Areas of expertise:

• Complaint Handling

• Effective Investigation

• Dispute Resolution

• Ombudsman Practice

• Mediation

• Conflict

• Customer Service/Customer Experience

• Communication and Persuasion

• Regulatory Enforcement

• Decision Making

• Consumer Protection and Trading Standards

• Law and Regulation

• Governance



Since 2010, the Centre has provided CPD courses for over 2000 external students, mostly on accredited courses.

 Our research has been cited in parliamentary reports and team members have provided advice to organisations about research and evidence at Parliamentary Committees.

Our research reports have influenced the strategic direction of organisations in the dispute resolution sector, and provided the context for policy development and practice.

Our CPD, research and consultancy work is helping to shape the agenda for future practice and aims to drive innovation in dispute resolution services. We are currently working on an innovative model for dispute system design which we are developing in collaboration with our stakeholders.


Sub Themes

The Centre focuses on the following research themes:

• Consumer perspectives on dispute resolution

• Dispute system design

• Complaint management

• Mediation

• Administrative justice

• Consumer policy

• Public policy

• Effective communication

• Ombudsman schemes

• Access to justice

• Consumer complaint behaviour

• Negotiation

Postgraduate Study

The Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre (CDRC) offers opportunities for postgraduate study for an MSc Dispute Resolution, Masters by Research (MRes) and PhD degrees. Members of the CDRC team are experts in consumer/citizen dispute resolution and combine both professional expertise and academic insight. They are active researchers and their teaching draws on the latest developments in dispute resolution research, policy and practice.

The team offers supervision of postgraduate study and we welcome enquiries and applications relating to consumer behaviour in disputes, dispute system design, complaint management, mediation, administrative justice, consumer policy, effective communication,  ombudsman schemes,  access to justice, consumer complaints and negotiation.

Consistent with the applied focus of research conducted within CDRC, we especially welcome applications for research that involves collaboration with practitioners, policy-makers and other research users.

Initial enquiries can be made to the Director, Carol Brennan, or to individual members of the Centre who are engaged in the relevant area of research.

Useful Links:

Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre - courses


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