Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

Information requests 1 to 8 relate to information on the following page of the PHSO website:

https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/making-comp...

1. Please provide for the year 2017/18 the number of telephone calls your received to your dedicated MP helpline 0300 061 4953.

2. Please provide for the year 2017/18 the number of cases to which the calls you received to your dedicated MP helpline related.

3. Please provide for the year 2017/18 the number of emails you received at the address [email address] (MP[at]ombudsman.org.uk).

4. Please provide for the year 2017/18 the number of cases to which the emails you received at [email address] (MP[at]ombudsman.org.uk) related.

5. Please provide for the year 2017/18 the number of requests received at [email address] (publicaffairs[at]ombudsman.org.uk) for a meeting with "the team". How many of these meeting were cancelled, if any?

6. Please provide (pseudonymized) the number of meetings with the team that were held by each of the five MPs and/or individuals acting on their behalf who had the most meetings.

7. Please provide the total expenses claimed in relation to meetings with MPs and/or individuals acting on their behalf, if applicable.

8. Please provide (pseudonymized) the expenses claimed in relation to each of the five MPs and/or individuals acting on their behalf referred to in (5).

9. Please provide a blank copy of the health form referred to in paragraph 12 of the employment tribunal judgment between H Rashid and PHSO dated 14 January 2019, in which PHSO was found to have directly discriminated against the claimant:

https://www.hsj.co.uk/download?ac=3040650

10. For each of the years 2016/17 and 2017/18, please provide the number of PHSO staff who declared a disability. Specify the number for dyslexia.

11. For each of the years 2016/17 and 2017/18, please provide the number of disabled PHSO staff who benefited from workplace adjustments.

12. For each of the years 2016/17 and 2017/18 please provide the amounts spent by PHSO on workplace adjustments for all disabled staff.

13. Paragraph 64 of the Rashid judgment refers to “training for managers and colleagues on issues related to dyslexia”. (I) For each of the years 2016/17 and 2017/18, please provide the amounts spent specifically on training for managers and colleagues related to disabilities of all kinds. (2) Where training was provided by anyone other than PHSO, please specify the total costs paid to external providers. (3) Please also provide details of the total expenses claimed by PHSO staff in relation to disability training. Include information on travel and accommodation costs, if applicable.

Yours faithfully,

D Moore

informationrights@ombudsman.org.uk, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Thank you for contacting the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s (PHSO) Freedom of Information and Data Protection Team. This is to confirm we have received your request.
If you have made a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Environment Information Regulations 2004, we will respond to your request within 20 working days in accordance with the statutory time frames set out in both Acts.
If you have made a request for personal information held by the PHSO, your request will be processed as a Subject Access Request under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018 and will be responded to within one calendar month in accordance with the statutory time frame set out in the Act.
We may contact you before this time if we require further clarification or if we need to extend the time required to complete your request.
For Subject Access Requests, we will send any personal information via secure email, unless you instruct us differently. To access the information on the email we send, you will need to sign up to our secure email service. Details can be found on our website using the link below:
www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/being-open...
If you require us to post your personal information to you instead you will need to inform us of this and confirm your current address as soon as possible.

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Gadawodd J Roberts anodiad ()

The employment tribunal judgment is an interesting read. Lost evidence does not just concern individuals who complain to PHSO:

"96. On the face of it, the claimant has satisfied us that outwith further credible explanation from the respondent (which was not forthcoming), there is a case of direct discrimination in the change in the box marking. This is the one area where we struggled to believe Ms Hodgson* and Mrs Guandalini**. There were no minutes in support of the meeting and their accounts were surprisingly unfocussed. The one piece of evidence that may have assisted has been lost.

"97. We therefore find that the claim of direct discrimination is well founded."

* countersigning officer to the claimant

** claimant’s second line manager who "gave evidence that she had no management experience" (see para. 37).

InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

3 Atodiad

Dear D Moore

 

RE: Your information request: R0000584

                            

I write in response to your email regarding your request to the
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) for information which
has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

Your request has been considered vexatious under Section 14(1) of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Section 14 (1) states: ‘Section 1(1) does
not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if
the request is vexatious’.

 

We consider that your request is burdensome with a level of unjustified
disruption. To respond to this request is considered to be disruptive,
burdensome and the PHSO would have to expend a disproportionate effort to
meet the request which engages section 14(1) whereby we cannot reasonably
be expected to comply.

 

If you believe we have made an error in the way I have processed your
information request, it is open to you to request an internal review.  You
can do this by writing to us by post or by email to
[1][Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman request email]. You will need to specify that the
nature of the issue is and we can consider the matter further. Beyond
that, it is open to you to complain to the Information Commissioner’s
Office ([2]www.ico.org.uk).

 

Yours sincerely

 

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

W: [3]www.ombudsman.org.uk

 

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Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's handling of my FOI request 'Activity with MPs/disability training for staff'.

I do not accept that my request is 'burdensome' and would cause 'unjustified disruption'.

The threshold for a finding of vexatiousness is a high one, and I consider that you have lowered the bar considerably.

It is my sincere wish that you change your mind and thereby avoid placing an unncessary burden on the ICO.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Yours faithfully,

D. Moore

informationrights@ombudsman.org.uk, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Thank you for contacting the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s (PHSO) Freedom of Information and Data Protection Team. This is to confirm we have received your request.
If you have made a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Environment Information Regulations 2004, we will respond to your request within 20 working days in accordance with the statutory time frames set out in both Acts.
If you have made a request for personal information held by the PHSO, your request will be processed as a Subject Access Request under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018 and will be responded to within one calendar month in accordance with the statutory time frame set out in the Act.
We may contact you before this time if we require further clarification or if we need to extend the time required to complete your request.
For Subject Access Requests, we will send any personal information via secure email, unless you instruct us differently. To access the information on the email we send, you will need to sign up to our secure email service. Details can be found on our website using the link below:
www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/being-open...
If you require us to post your personal information to you instead you will need to inform us of this and confirm your current address as soon as possible.

Gadawodd D. Moore anodiad ()

I suspect this s14 will morph into a s12 by next year.

Gadawodd J Roberts anodiad ()

You might be interested in this ICO decision notice:

https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

The Home Office cited section 14(1) of the FOIA (grossly oppressive burden to comply). Although it is bad news for the applicant, there is some interesting comment on the Kirkham decision (Upper Tribunal) concerning whether a public authority that uses the s14(1) exemption is required to provide S16 assistance.

'43. The Commissioner interprets the above differently to the complainant; she considers that the ‘duty to assist’ is only referenced in relation to section 12.'

If it is a matter of interpretation, then a court ruling on the matter could contribute to clarity.

Gadawodd J Roberts anodiad ()

PHSO is now displaying the following message on its website:

'We are a Disability Confident organisation playing a role in changing attitudes for the better. We make sure that disabled people and people with long term health conditions have the opportunities to fulfil their potential in the workplace.'

https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/jo...

Signing up to Disability Confident helps:

"improve employee morale and commitment by demonstrating that you treat all employees fairly"

https://disabilityconfident.campaign.gov...

I'm not sure about the use of the word 'demonstrating'.

Gadawodd phsothefacts Pressure Group anodiad ()

That's probably a bit of window dressing as they have recently lost an ET to a disabled member of staff and I do believe there are others in the pipeline. Don't suppose they would be taken to be 'demonstrating' though.

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

On 4th April 2019 I requested that you internally review your decision not to provide the information requested in my FOI request 'Activity with MPs/disability training for staff'. You have provided no substantive response.

If I receive no satisfactory response soon I shall have no option but to contact the ICO.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

D. Moore

informationrights@ombudsman.org.uk, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Thank you for contacting the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s (PHSO) Freedom of Information and Data Protection Team. This is to confirm we have received your request.
If you have made a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Environment Information Regulations 2004, we will respond to your request within 20 working days in accordance with the statutory time frames set out in both Acts.
If you have made a request for personal information held by the PHSO, your request will be processed as a Subject Access Request under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018 and will be responded to within one calendar month in accordance with the statutory time frame set out in the Act.
We may contact you before this time if we require further clarification or if we need to extend the time required to complete your request.
For Subject Access Requests, we will send any personal information via secure email, unless you instruct us differently. To access the information on the email we send, you will need to sign up to our secure email service. Details can be found on our website using the link below:
www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/being-open...
If you require us to post your personal information to you instead you will need to inform us of this and confirm your current address as soon as possible.

Gadawodd D. Moore anodiad ()

InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear D Moore,

I write in response to your request for an internal review of your Freedom of Information request. I would like to apologise for the long delay in responding and for any inconvenience this may have caused. We have taken steps to ensure that this will not happen again.

I have reviewed the request and our handling of it. We refused the request engaging section 14(1) FOIA. This means we found your request to be vexatious. I uphold this decision as a full response to your request would place a significant burden upon PHSO which would cause an unjustified level of disruption and distress.

You have the right to appeal our decision if you think it is incorrect by submitting a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (www.ico.org.uk).

Angharad Jackson
Data Protection Officer & Assistant Director Information Assurance
Office of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd D. Moore anodiad ()

The ICO has informed that it will be writing to the PHSO about my complaint:

"Once I receive its arguments, I will consider its reply before either contacting you to discuss the matter further or preparing a decision
notice."

Gadawodd D. Moore anodiad ()

I was contacted by the ICO about this in early April. Because of the Covid-19 crisis it was suggested:

"In the meantime you may wish to reconsider your complaint and decide not to pursue it further. If this is the case please let us know and your case will be closed."

I did not take them up on their suggestion.

Gadawodd D. Moore anodiad ()

Notified of new IC reference number.

Gadawodd D. Moore anodiad ()

The IC agrees with the PHSO and considers my request vexatious.

I've sent the GRC my Notice of Appeal.

Gadawodd M Boyce anodiad ()

Like day follows night.

Gadawodd J Roberts anodiad ()

The decision notice is now available:

https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

Gadawodd M Boyce anodiad ()

The ICO considers that this request is vexatious solely because it is motivated by a desire to scrutinise the workings of the PHSO. They claim the requestor is not interested in information, only scrutiny. How can you have scrutiny without trying to obtain information? Answers on a postcard ICO. Without information the only thing you would be scruinising would be your own navel.

The PHSO is subject to very little scrutiny - it has a 2 hour a year shindig with PACAC, and that is it.

But don't take my word for it, here's what the judge said in appeal EA/2019/0189 - Nicholas Wheatley v ICO and PHSO:

'28. There is a lack of oversight and accountability of the PHSO, which means that members of the public ATTEMPT (emphasis mine) to carry out scrutiny themselves.'

Yes, they ATTEMPT to carry out scrutiny which they can be assured will be defeated by the ICO who will label such scrutiny as vexatious. Sadly, the FTT more often than not agrees with this.

So the PHSO is subject to almost no scrutiny at all. And we are all much worse off for it.

Gadawodd J Roberts anodiad ()

'28. There is a lack of oversight and accountability of the PHSO, which means that members of the public ATTEMPT (emphasis mine) to carry out scrutiny themselves.'

It is good to see something being acknowledged by a judge that many people have known about for years. If ordinary people said such a thing they'd risk being categorised as “time-wasters, liars, idiots, fantasists, egotists, and objects of ridicule".

https://thecritic.co.uk/democracys-accou...

The Commissioner's argument does indeed seem flimsy, and could be used to defenestrate campaigners seeking information. For example, appeal EA/2019/0138P relating to Section 1 was allowed. The Appellant was a member of a group called “Defend Enfield NHS”; therefore 'scrutiny' was written on the tin, so to speak.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d... (see comment dated 30/8/20)

The Commissioner can swiftly send any campaigner to the gallows.

Gadawodd M Boyce anodiad ()

A judge acknowledging that the PHSO is subject to very little scrutiny is one thing, but acting constructively on this acknowledgement is the only thing that really matters: the appellant's attempts at scrutiny were after all defeated by that judge.

Another issue here is how section 12 FOIA (cost) and section 14 FOIA (vexatious) are designed to act in concert to defeat scrutiny of the establishment by the little folks. A requestor can only ask for a small amount of information at any one time (section 12), which means they have to make multiple requests, which are then defeated by section 14.

The FOIA has been designed to ensure that legitimate scrutiny of the establishment will always be defeated with the help of its shock troops the ICO.

Gadawodd J Roberts anodiad ()

As Sir Arnold said to Sir Humphrey:

“Open government is a contradiction in terms: you can be open, or you can have government”

https://www.oic.wa.gov.au/Materials/Open...

It seems at times that the ostensible reasons behind the FOIA are nothing more than window dressing.

Recent ICO survey: 'Information Rights Strategic Plan: Trust and Confidence':

https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/d...

'Q18. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

The more information I can access about Government, public authorities and/or publicly owned companies the more trust and confidence I am likely to have in their work

2019 net agree 58%

2020 net agree 45%'

Does the ICO agree with this statement?

Gadawodd D. Moore anodiad ()

The ICO has written to the F-tT requesting that the appeal be heard together with another appeal of mine:

"The Commissioner has now been notified of the above two appeals.

The first appeal (EA/2020/0256) concerns the Appellant’s request to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (“PHSO”) of 16 March 2019. The Commissioner’s decision notice was issued on 21 August 2020 in which she upheld the PHSO’s claim of section 14. In accordance with the Registrar’s Directions of 26 August 2020, the Commissioner’s Response is due on 19 October.

The second appeal (EA/2020/0277) concerns the Appellant’s request of 4 August 2019 to the PHSO. The Commissioner’s decision notice was issued on 29 September 2020 in which she upheld the PHSO’s claim of section 14. The Commissioner’s Response is currently due on 29 October.

As the two appeals concern the same Appellant making requests to the same public authority who refused both requests under section 14 which was upheld by the Commissioner; the Commissioner considers that it would be appropriate for these two cases to be consolidated. As such, the Commissioner invites the Tribunal to exercise its case management powers under rule 5(3)(b) of its Rules to consolidate the above appeals.

Further, the Commissioner considers it would be a proportionate use of her limited resources to prepare one Response replying to both appeals particularly given the very minimal delay between the deadlines for the two Responses. Accordingly, the Commissioner seeks an extension until 30 October (as 29 October is a non-working day for the writer) by which to serve a Response to both appeals."

The Registrar’s Directions of 26 August 2020 referred to above concerns an incomplete Notice of Appeal that I submitted Saturday 22 August 2020. I realised my mistake immediately and resubmitted my Notice about 30 minutes later. I assume that because of Covid, wires got crossed which resulted in the Direction.

"Directions:

1. By email sent on 22 August 2020 at 16:12 (therefore received by the Tribunal on 24 August 2020), Mr Moore sent:

1.1 A notice of appeal form which is unsigned (i.e. there is not even an electronic signature) but records his name, his address and his email address and the details of the decision he seeks to appeal against;

1.2 Decision notice number IC-45212-W1F2.

2. It is a requirement of the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (General Regulatory Chamber) Rules 2009 that an appellant, when lodging an appeal, states the grounds on which they rely to appeal the decision (see rule 22(2)(g)).

3. It appears that Mr Moore has not provided any grounds of appeal and, therefore, there is, at present, no reason to believe that the Information
Commissioner’s Office Decision Notice is wrong and should be substituted.

4.1 Mr Moore has until 21 September 2020 to provide to the Tribunal his grounds of appeal. If by the date he sends in his grounds he has the Information Commissioner’s Office contact email address, he must copy the grounds to the Information Commissioner’s Office; if he does not have the relevant address, the Tribunal will forward the grounds to the Information Commissioner’s Office on his behalf.

4.2 Failure to comply with paragraph 4.1 above may, pursuant to rule 8(1), lead to the striking out of Mr Moore’s appeal."

Other appeal:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

Gadawodd D. Moore anodiad ()

"3. The following directions apply:

3.1 These appeals will be heard together;

3.2 If it is better for a party to provide one document dealing with both appeals, they may do so;

3.3 Each party must ensure that any document provided clearly shows whether it is about both appeals or only one of them (and if so, which one);

3.4 The Information Commissioner’s response for both appeals will be due by 30 October 2020."

Gadawodd D. Moore anodiad ()

I have submitted my reply to the Commissioner's Response. For those unaware of the process, the appellant MAY reply to the Commissioner's Response within 14 days of receiving it.