Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman - Public Affairs Skills

Fri 15 Apr 2016

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman - Public Affairs Skills

Client: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Programme: Public Affairs Skills

(Delivered in London, UK, 2016)

The client

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) was set up by Parliament to provide an independent complaint handling service. They are the final stage for complaints about the NHS in England and public services delivered by the UK Government.

The problem

PHSO was looking for a programme which combines knowledge and soft skills relating to public affairs and working with different stakeholders. Dods Training put together a proposal for a two-day training programme, focusing on the overview of Government and legislation on the first day, and stakeholder engagement skills on the second day.

Our actions

We first identified two expert trainers who would lead on each day of the programme and worked together with them to update and tailor the materials. To ensure the training is pitched at the right level we designed a pre-course survey and asked the delegates to outline their experiences and what they hope to achieve through the programme. We shared the pre-course survey report with the trainers so they can familiarise themselves with the delegates’ backgrounds and adjust the content and delivery styles accordingly. Another part of the pre-course learning support we provided was a short introductory video on the overview of Government and legislation. Within the video our trainer took the opportunity to introduce himself and his background, outline key topic areas he will be covering throughout the day, and ask the delegates to come to the training with some questions that would be applicable to their daily roles and responsibilities. We shared the video with the client and the delegates a week before the training.

Day one of the training set the context for Parliamentary procedures and focused on how the delegates can engage with the legislative process. We also invited a guest speaker from the House of Lords who spoke about the vital importance of the House of Lords and how the Peers’ involvement differs from the MPs’. Day two of the training focused on the essential requirements for effective stakeholder engagement. The trainer introduced a range of practical tools and techniques delegates can use and looked at individual behaviours that underpin the most effective relationships. The delegates also took part in a practical exercise in the afternoon which also looked at managing difficult conversations and using relevant communications skills.


The training was delivered successfully and together the two-day training programme covered a wide range of theoretical and practical learnings that the delegates can apply to their day-to-day work.

View all Case Studies