Policy documents, [if any exist] in relation to the definition, and 2012-2015 reasonable/average amounts, of financial compensation payments that are associated to maladministration.
Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,
q.] could I have a copy of your policy documents, [if any exist] in relation to the definition, and 2012-2015 reasonable/average amounts, of financial compensation payments that are associated to maladministration,by government departments (particularly upheld complaints of maladministration committed by HM Courts Service, the DWP Job Centre Plus Office, and Work Program Providers)?
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Dear Ms Johnson
Your information request: FDN-229516
Thank you for your email of 28 July 2015 in which you requested
information in the following terms:
“Could I have a copy of your policy documents, [if any exist] in relation
to the definition, and 2012-2015 reasonable/average amounts, of financial
compensation payments that are associated to maladministration, by
government departments (particularly upheld complaints of
maladministration committed by HM Courts Service, the DWP Job Centre Plus
Office, and Work Program Providers)?”
We currently do not have any internal policy relating specifically to
making recommendations for financial compensation. Our general approach to
financial remedy is in accordance with the Parliamentary and Health
Service Ombudsman (PHSO)’s Principles for Remedy (2009)
This document gives our views on the principles that should guide how
public bodies provide remedies for injustice or hardship resulting from
their maladministration or poor service. It sets out for complainants and
bodies within PHSO’s jurisdiction how we think public bodies should put
things right when they have gone wrong and our approach to recommending
Our Investigation Manual
contains a broad reference to remedying injustice and compensation:
70. Recommendations in a report are used normally to obtain a remedy
for injustice arising from maladministration or poor service. The basis
for our recommendations is normally the unremedied injustice arising as a
consequence of maladministration or service failure. In those
circumstances, recommendations must be relevant to the injustice found:
whether this is to the complainant concerned; to others who have been
affected or to those who might be so affected in the future.
71. The remedy is to put right the injustice resulting from
maladministration. It is not compensation for the maladministration.
72. All remedies must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable and
realistic, with a timescale).
73. Discuss the proposed or requested remedy with the complainant and
manage their expectations if they are seeking a remedy that would be
unachievable or disproportionate.
We do not hold any specific guidance for making decisions on compensation
involving the bodies you name.
Our general approach when calculating compensation is that the amount we
recommend should be based on the injustice experienced by the complainant
or aggrieved person. Each case is considered on its own merits, so there
are no standard amounts. However, we also aim to be consistent in our
approach, which means making similar decisions on cases with similar
injustice. To do this we collate information about upheld complaints where
we recommend compensation, including classifying them by injustice type.
The information about upheld complaints and compensation is collated in
our Typology of Injustice (TOI) precedent search tool spreadsheet. I have
attached an extract from the TOI spreadsheet in respect of the
organisations you name. However, for Jobcentre Plus work program
providers, the complaint is recorded as being against Jobcentre Plus; we
have no means of separating out those cases involving work program
For all compensation payments from 1 January 2012 onwards the average
compensation recommendation (including older cases and other not listed in
the TOI spreadsheet) are as follows:
Jobcentre Plus: £610.90
HM Court and Tribunal Service: £435.30
The above figures relate to compensation for distress, inconvenience and
hardship etc., and do not include compensation for financial loss, which
we would almost always seek to compensate in full. If this is included,
the figured would be:
Jobcentre Plus: £2063.97
HM Court and Tribunal Service: £1048.64
Please also find attached some documents which explain what the injustice
type codes mean.
In relation to maladministration, there is no one definition; whether or
not a particular set of circumstances amounts to maladministration is a
matter for the Ombudsman to determine on a case-by-case basis. This term
is deliberately left undefined in the legislation that governs the
Ombudsman’s work, the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993 and the
Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 (available online at:
We do not hold any specific guidance for staff which defines
maladministration for the reasons above. However, the Ombudsman’s
Principles of Good Administration
explain that when we investigate, we use these principles and any other
relevant specific standards (such as relevant legislation or clinical
guidance) in order to make a judgment on whether maladministration or
service failure occurred. We do this by comparing what did happen with
what should have happened.
As you will see, the Ombudsman’s Principles are broad statements which
demonstrate good administrative practice and good customer service and
complaint handling practice. The relevant standards for each investigation
are considered on a case-by-case basis alongside the evidence of what did
happen. We then decide whether a particular set of circumstances amounts
to maladministration or service failure.
You can also find specific examples of cases where PHSO has found
maladministration by reading through our case summaries
I hope you have found this information useful. However, if you are unhappy
with my handling of your information request, you can ask for a review by
writing to us at [email address]
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
E: [email address]
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All email communications with PHSO pass through the Government Secure
Intranet, and may be automatically logged, monitored and/or recorded for
The MessageLabs Anti Virus Service is the first managed service to achieve
the CSIA Claims Tested Mark (CCTM Certificate Number 2006/04/0007), the UK
Government quality mark initiative for information security products and
services. For more information about this please visit www.cctmark.gov.uk
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