By Press Office 10 May 2016

Director of the Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre (CDRC)

Reader in Consumer Policy at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

Carol Brennan is an experienced academic with expertise in consumer policy, complaint handling, dispute resolution, consumer empowerment, and customer service/experience. 

With a strong interest in knowledge exchange, Carol’s work bridges the gap between academia and policy/practice.  Her role involves leading a team on an extensive range of projects in both public and private sectors including researching the outcome of complaints for the Care Inspectorate; using complaints to drive innovation for the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA); the future of ombudsman schemes and models of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for the Legal Ombudsman.

Her work as Director of the Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre (CDRC) sees her participating in regular external roundtable events on vulnerable consumers, consumer policy, regulation of legal services and using complaints to drive innovation.

With a wealth of experience in consumer policy, Carol has often been asked to provide expert opinion and commentary to regulatory and ombudsman organisations at both UK and European level. For example, she commented on a European study of consumer education for the Directorate General Health and Consumers.

A significant part of Carol’s work is leading accredited training projects for a wide range of organisations including major banking groups, the Ombudsman Association, the Legal Ombudsman, the International Ombudsman Institute and the African Ombudsman Research Centre.

Professional roles include:

  • Chair of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Consumer Panel
  • Chair of the Qualifications and Awards Board and the Examination and Assessments Board of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute 


Publications include a policy brief developed in 2015 on Designing Consumer Redress: Making Redress Accessible for Consumer-Citizens by the CDRC team in partnership with the University of Oxford. Available online at:

Coming up there is an article developed by CDRC for Legal Studies on Designing consumer redress: a dispute system design (DSD) model for consumer-to-business disputes. Colleagues will be testing this model with organisations and welcome interest from organisations in this research.

Carol is also building on earlier work on consumer education and vulnerable consumers, to develop further articles related to consumer dispute resolution.

Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre (CDRC) – A Centre of Excellence

CDRC is a Centre of Excellence for continuing professional development (CPD), research and knowledge exchange in dispute resolution, complaint management and consumer policy. As the first academic institution to be licensed and approved for the provision of the Ombudsman Association case handler training courses, we hold a unique position in the university sector to run effective programmes for this sector and for organisations within the jurisdiction of ombudsman and complaint handling organisations. During the last five years, the Centre has provided training for over 2000 complaint investigators in the UK and internationally.

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 public engagement activities, including seminars and workshops, influence policy and practice to enhance the consumer experience of dispute resolution. We contribute innovative thinking and analysis for policy makers and academic networks.

Research conducted within CDRC is focused around the following strategic areas:

  • Consumer dispute system design
  • Consumer complaint behaviour   
  • Ombudsman practice
  • Conflict and mediation
  • Effective communication
  • Administrative justice 

Notes to Editor

If you require Carol Brennan or a member of the CDRC team for expert media commentary, please contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, E: . T: 0131 474 0000, M: ; or Jon Perkins, Press and PR Officer, T: 0131 474 0000.

If you wish to discuss research, knowledge exchange and commercial opportunities please contact Carol Brennan at E:   T: 0131 474 0000.

Media Enquiries

For media enquiries or to access one of our experts.

Show Contacts

Media Enquiries

Image Lynne Russell Communications Manager
Karen Keith Media Relations and Content Officer
0131 474 0000
07989 386 968

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