Dispute Resolution Principles

The Dispute Resolution Principles are high level good practice guidance developed from the Ombudsman's experience of resolving disputes, for use by everyone involved in the complaints process.

There are only three principles driving effective dispute resolution:

  • Be fair - treat people fairly and follow fair processes
  • Put things right
  • Learn from outcomes

To find out more about how to use the principles try our free online dispute resolution training

For more background on the principles click here

For a print friendly version click here.

For guidance on applying the principles please click on the diagram.


Actions or reactions of individuals which are likely to affect the outcome of a complaint.


Be Fair

A conciliatory approach in which principles are applied consistently in every case whilst ensuring that each case is considered on its individual facts, and every complainant is treated justly and without favour.

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Put It Right

Remedy the wrongdoing by restoring the complainant to the position which existed prior to the service failure.

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Learn From Outcomes

Identify what went wrong and why. Make appropriate changes to service, systems, policy and procedure.

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The character of the organisation which captures its values and forms the bedrock of its operations.

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A course of action by which a complaint is investigated and resolution sought.