Office of the Parliamentary and Health Service
Application pack and information for candidates
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Foreword from the Deputy Ombudsman .................................. 3
About us ....................................................................... 4
The Ombudsman’s role, vision and values ............................... 5
Strategic objectives: 2011-15 ............................................ 10
About the role .............................................................. 13
Job description – clinical adviser ........................................ 14
Person specification – clinical adviser .................................. 16
Selection process ........................................................... 19
Summary of terms and conditions ....................................... 20
Equal opportunities ........................................................ 21
This document provides candidates with information on the recruitment and selection
of clinical advisers for the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. For further
information about the Ombudsman, please visit our website at: www.ombudsman.org.uk.
Foreword from the Deputy Ombudsman
Thank you for your interest in the work of the Parliamentary and Health Service
Ombudsman and for considering becoming a clinical adviser. The work we do
is extremely important in driving improvements in public services and informing
public policy, as well as righting individual wrongs. From April 2011 to March 2012,
23,846 people contacted this Office, all of whom received responses appropriate to
their particular issue. These ranged from informed advice on how to take their
complaint forward to highly complex investigations.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is committed to providing a high
quality independent complaint handling service and to improving the way in which we
work – with the people that need our services, colleagues across the organisation, and
with stakeholders. We are committed to developing a diverse workforce of people
with the right levels of knowledge, skills and experience.
Since the former Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, took responsibility for the second and
final stage of the NHS complaints system in April 2009, we have worked more closely
with NHS service providers to support improved local complaint handling and better
learning from complaints. Our internal clinical advisers work closely with other
casework staff to provide high quality advice to inform our assessments, and
investigations, of complaints about the NHS. The Clinical Advice Directorate also
provides clinical advice through service level agreements to the Ombudsmen for
Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland.
I hope that, after reading the information in this pack, you will be able to decide
whether you have what it takes to be a successful clinical adviser with the
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and share our commitment to the
values of this organisation. If you do, we look forward to hearing from you.
The work of the Office
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s Office currently has around 420
employees based at our two sites in London (Millbank) and Manchester.
Complaints about government departments and other public organisations are
referred to us through MPs, while those about the NHS in England are usually received
directly from complainants. Since 1 April 2009, following the abolition of the
Healthcare Commission, there has been a two-stage system for dealing with NHS
complaints, with this Office becoming the second and final complaint handler.
During the 2011-12 business year, we received 23,846 enquiries and accepted
421 cases for investigation (93 parliamentary and 328 health). In this period, the
largest numbers of parliamentary complaints were about the Ministry of Justice, the
Home Office, the Department for Work and Pensions, and HM Revenue & Customs.
The largest proportion of health complaints were about NHS hospital, specialist and
teaching trusts (45 per cent), GPs (18 per cent) and PCTs (14 per cent).
When an investigation leads to an upheld complaint, the Ombudsman seeks
appropriate redress for any unremedied injustice or hardship suffered by the
complainant. This may involve an explanation of what went wrong, an apology,
changes in procedures to prevent problems recurring and, where appropriate,
financial compensation. Listening and Learning: The Ombudsman’s review of complaint handling by the NHS
in England 2011-12
This is the Ombudsman’s second report on complaint handling in the NHS in England.
It assesses the performance of the NHS against the commitment in the NHS
Constitution to acknowledge mistakes, apologise, explain what went wrong, and put
things right quickly and effectively. Annual Report 2011-12: Moving forward
The Ombudsman’s Annual Report
and Resource Accounts
are laid before Parliament
each year. They give details of our performance over the past 12 months, including
financial reports and statistical information about the complaints we receive.
To view our latest published reports, please go to the link below: www.ombudsman.org.uk/improving-public-service/reports-and-
The Ombudsman’s role, vision and values
The Office of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman exists to:
‘provide a service to the public by undertaking independent investigations into
complaints that government departments, a range of public organisations in the
UK, and the NHS in England, have not acted properly or fairly or have provided a
Our vision is:
‘To provide an independent, high quality complaint handling service that rights
individual wrongs, drives improvements in public services and informs public
‘Our values shape our behaviour, both as an organisation and as individuals
working at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s Office, and
incorporate our Principles of Good Administration.
We pursue excellence in all that we do in order to provide the best possible service.
We seek feedback to achieve learning and continuous improvement.
We operate thorough and rigorous processes to reach sound, evidence-based
We are committed to enabling and developing our staff so that they can
provide an excellent service.
We lead by example and believe our work should have a positive impact.
We set high standards for ourselves and others.
We are an exemplar and provide expert advice in complaint handling.
We share learning to achieve improvement.
We are open, honest and straightforward in all our dealings, and use time, money and
We are consistent and transparent in all our actions and decisions.
We take responsibility for our actions and hold ourselves accountable for all
that we do.
We treat people fairly.
We value people and their diversity and strive to be inclusive.
We respect others, regardless of personal differences.
We listen to people to understand their needs and tailor our service
We promote equal access to our service for all members of the community.
The Ombudsman is appointed by the Queen and is directly accountable to Parliament.
She is independent of government and the NHS, and is solely responsible and
accountable for the conduct and administration of all work carried out by the Office
and for the decision made in each case.
The Executive Board
The Executive Board is chaired by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
and comprises the Deputy Ombudsman, the Chief Operating Officer, and the Director
of Communications. The Executive Board manages the Office’s functions and
activities and is responsible for the delivery of the strategic vision, policies and
services to the public and other stakeholders.
The Advisory Board
In 2004 the Ombudsman appointed a non-statutory Advisory Board to reinforce the
governance of the Office.
The Ombudsman’s Principles
We want to be open and clear with both complainants and public organisations in the
Ombudsman’s jurisdiction. For this reason we have produced the Ombudsman’s
, which consist of: the Principles of Good Administration, the Principles of
Good Complaint Handling, and the Principles for Remedy.
The same six key Principles apply to each of the three documents. These are:
Getting it right
Being customer focused
Being open and accountable
Acting fairly and proportionately
Putting things right, and
Seeking continuous improvement.
The Ombudsman’s Principles
is based on our forty years’ experience of handling large
numbers of complaints. The Ombudsman’s Principles
endorses legality, flexibility,
transparency, fairness and accountability – the necessary ingredients of good
The three related sets of Ombudsman’s Principles
stress: the value and importance of
considering the impact on the individual when offering customer service; thinking
about how to deal with complaints; and offering remedy. Of course, it is essential to
have proper processes and procedures in place in order to ensure fairness of
treatment and for reasons of accountability, but those processes should be focused on
outcomes. Public organisations should take into account what is important to the
person making the complaint. They should be flexible in considering what the most
appropriate response is for that particular individual while, of course, bearing in mind
correct procedures and proportionality.
The Ombudsman’s Principles
outline the approach we believe public organisations
should adopt to deliver good administration and customer service, and shows how to
respond when things go wrong. The Ombudsman’s Principles
underpin our assessment
of performance, our vision of good complaint handling and our approach to ‘Putting
For more information about the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, please
go to: www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us.
The Deputy Ombudsman is responsible for running the Operations Division. The
purpose of Operations is to deliver the core business of the Office, first of all by
assessing whether to accept requests for investigation that government departments,
a range of other public organisations in the UK, and the NHS in England, have not
acted properly or fairly or have provided a poor service; and then by independently
and thoroughly investigating complaints. Operations is divided into:
Customer Services and Assessment
Developmental and Complex Investigations
Outcomes and Learning
Clinical Advice, and
Complaints About Us.
Clinical Advice Directorate
This vacancy falls within the Clinical Advice Directorate, a directorate that is
responsible for the provision of a single specialist clinical advice function, based at
both our London and Manchester offices. We have both internal and external advisers.
The former are employed on a part-time basis, and work closely with caseworkers.
Some of our external advisers are engaged as self-employed associates – generally on
annual contracts, taking on cases as and when they are needed. The directorate also
contains an administrative function, to ensure effective support to the director and
clinical advisers. Clinical advice is used mainly in the work of two of the Operations
Customer Services and Assessment Directorate
Providing the front line of the Ombudsman’s Office, Customer Services and
Assessment undertakes assessments of the many thousands of complaints brought to
the Office each year to determine those that are appropriate to investigate using the
Ombudsman’s powers. The directorate is based in both our London and Manchester
Offices. It uses a wide variety of clinical advice to assess the clinical element of
responses given to complainants who have raised a concern under the NHS complaints
The Health Investigations Directorate carries out investigations into complaints that
the NHS in England has not acted properly or fairly, or has provided a poor service.
The directorate is based in both our London and Manchester offices. It uses clinical
advice to inform and enable the investigator to understand the clinical aspects of the
complaint (including the questions of ‘what happened?’ and ‘what should have
happened?’) in order to undertake and then conclude the investigation.
Strategic objectives: 2011-15
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has two strategic objectives that
reflect our aim and vision of providing an independent, high quality complaint
handling service that rights individual wrongs, drives improvements in public services,
and informs public policy.
Our two strategic objectives also reflect the dual aspect of our work: individual
benefit through our core business of complaint handling, and a wider public benefit
through sharing our evidence and expertise.
Individual benefit is delivered by securing good outcomes for complainants and others
who have suffered as a result of the same maladministration or poor service, through
our interventions and investigations.
The wider public benefit is secured through the combination of our evidence base,
our expertise in good administration and good complaint handling, and our
acknowledged independence and impartiality. This mix enables us to provide
authoritative evidence and expertise to support public organisations in our
jurisdiction in improving their service, which others may draw on in developing public
The dual aspect of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s work is
illustrated in the following model.
The model incorporates the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s two
strategic objectives. These are described below, together with a description of the
associated outcomes that we will use to measure success in meeting our objectives.
Individual benefit Strategic
To provide an independent, high quality and accessible complaint
handling service that rights individual wrongs
need us come
to us at the
right time for
are achieved as
a result of our
Public benefit Strategic
To drive improvements in public services and inform public policy
Improvements in Specific
are secured as a
result of our
the design and
Good management of the business and of people is critical to the success of any
organisation and essential to the delivery of our strategic objectives. We have
summarised this in what we describe as our ‘enabling objective’, which is shown on
page 12 together with a description of the associated outcomes that we will use to
measure our success in meeting it.
To equip our people with the skills, knowledge, systems and resources
to deliver our strategic objectives
We have a
We live our
effective in effective
manage our diverse
and efficient meet or
systems and exceed our
and capacity information
Each year we review and refresh our strategic plan and develop an annual Corporate
, which identifies the priorities and key activities for the business year
ahead, including our service standards and any numeric performance targets.
About the role
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s Office will always require a
variety of relevant, up-to-date clinical expertise and advice. Our internal clinical
advisers provide both oral and written advice within the Office, working closely with
caseworkers. Clinicians are employed part time so that they can continue to work in
the NHS and engage in ongoing professional development in that context. This is
important because it ensures that they bring current and up-to-date knowledge and
experience to the Office, both in terms of clinical practice and the organisational
context in which services are delivered.
We are keen to accept applications from clinicians with a range of expertise,
particularly from those who have broad or generalist experience that enables them to
provide advice on a range of cases. Following appointment, new clinical advisers will
participate in a short induction programme designed to equip them with the skills,
knowledge and information they will need for their new role. This includes specific
training in our case management and IT systems. Clinical advisers will also spend
some time building up their casework experience in the directorates, with
appropriate support from an assigned mentor and lead clinician.
We wish to recruit clinical advisers from these clinical areas:
Grade Number of days Contract type
For salary bands please refer to page 20.
Job description – clinical adviser
Clinical Advice Directorate
Director of Clinical Advice/Lead Clinical Adviser
Internal clinical advisers support the delivery of the health assessment and
investigations process by providing expert professional advice to casework staff on
medical/clinical issues raised in complaints to the agreed quality, speed and output
standards. The adviser will also support the Office’s key strategic objectives by taking
an active role in quality assurance activities and in sharing the learning from
complaints to enhance clinical practice and so improve patient care.
Effectively manages requests for clinical advice to achieve or exceed service
standards, business plan and personal targets.
Effectively communicates with caseworkers and other colleagues orally and in
writing, ensuring that communication is business-focused and fit for purpose.
Provides supported and benchmarked clinical advice to caseworkers, both as a
generalist on a range of cases at assessment stage, and as a specialist at
Provides expert review of original clinical actions of peers to give clear and
definitive advice, which is supported by measurement against acknowledged
clinical or service benchmarks in investigation cases.
Supports caseworkers with both generalist and specialist advice within his or
her sphere of competence on aspects of clinical care and clinical systems.
Supports the provision of clinical advice at assessment stage – relating to the
reasonableness of the organisation’s response.
Manages time effectively in the Office to increase the opportunities to
provide advice via documented local discussions.
Supports caseworkers so that the findings, conclusions and recommendations
in reports of investigations are appropriately supported and based on a good
understanding of the clinical issues.
Identifies and documents risk, and ensures that there is an appropriate
mitigation plan in place to facilitate completion and reduce the possibility of
the risk occurring or recurring.
Maintains full, accurate and up-to-date records and audit trails on the case
management system and on paper casework files. Shares themes, learning and
knowledge across the team and the directorate to develop knowledge
management within the Office.
Assists with identifying the need for further external and specialist
professional expertise in casework.
Adheres to the Office’s systems and processes designed to ensure and
demonstrate the quality of clinical advice provided, including the
development of peer audit and review processes.
Supports the delivery of the Ombudsman’s key strategic objectives by
participating in whole-system review and audit processes and in identifying
systemic themes and root causes in complaints.
Demonstrates an understanding of the external context in which the
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman operates; including, where
appropriate, building relationships with external organisations to improve the
influence and accessibility of the Office in line with the external relations
Contributes to meeting team, directorate and organisational objectives as
well as personal objectives by undertaking cross-Office activities and assisting
with events and projects where possible.
This job description is not intended to be exclusive or exhaustive. It is an outline
indication of the areas of activity and will be amended in the light of the changing
needs of the organisation.
Person specification – clinical adviser
What we are looking for:
How you will be assessed:
Application Interview Assessment
professional/practitioner with appropriate
Relevant specialist qualifications.
Currently in NHS clinical practice.
Current registration with relevant
Knowledge of sources of current standards,
guidelines and research that apply to clinical
matters within sphere of practice and of
wider NHS policy and guidance, including
experience of assessing students/dealing
Delivering quality outcomes
Provides evidence-based clinical advice in
accordance with policies and guidance that
meets quality standards, and which requires
little or no correction by managers.
Adheres to administrative procedures to
ensure the efficient delivery of clinical
advice within the required time frame.
Uses relevant systems to record all
Takes steps to get things right first time and
identifies, assesses and manages risk
Communicates orally and in writing clearly,
confidently, comprehensively and
persuasively to colleagues at all levels.
Manages relationships with colleagues by
listening attentively, probing, showing
empathy and feeding back to check
Engages in informal reviews of cases with
peers and provides constructive feedback.
Makes a proactive contribution to the
achievement of the team, directorate or
Office objectives, beyond his or her core
Shares knowledge, information and learning
across team and other areas of the Office.
Manages own workload in an efficient and
proactive manner to achieve or exceed
service standards, business plan and personal
targets, without prompting by managers.
Behaves in line with and upholds the
Parliamentary and Health Service
Ombudsman’s values of excellence,
leadership, integrity and diversity.
Takes responsibility for personal
development and engages with line manager
in identifying personal development needs
and appropriate activities.
Acquires, evaluates and applies relevant,
up-to-date knowledge and information to
carry out duties effectively.
Motivates self and demonstrates
self-discipline, enthusiasm and the ability to
get things done.
Demonstrates commitment to high standards
and achieving improvements in public
Supporting the business
Understands the Office’s vision and strategic
priorities and can clearly articulate his or
her role in and contribution to meeting
them, and can set his or her work in a
Shows openness to change and commitment
to continuous improvement; acts flexibly,
collaboratively and confidently, even in
times of uncertainty, and is responsive to
variations in business approach/priorities.
Proactively develops understanding of the
external context and takes this into account
in his or her work.
Complies with records management policies
The selection process falls into two stages.
Assessment of your application form.
(Applicants who pass this stage will move on to stage 2.)
Panel interview and assessment exercise.
At each stage of the selection process, you will be assessed against the competencies
shown in the person specification on pages 16 to 18.
Shortlisted candidates will be notified by 20 December 2012
; if you have not been
notified within a week of this date, then please assume that you have been
unsuccessful. Shortlisted candidates for both roles will be invited to attend an
assessment and interview commencing 14 January 2013
The successful candidate will be expected to commence in the post by March 2013
Adjustments to the selection process
The nature of the selection process is described above. If you need to have
adjustments made at either the assessment or interview to enable you to complete
them, please ensure that you state this in the disability section on the application
We are committed to making reasonable adjustments where possible.
Summary of terms and conditions
Details of the clinical advisers’ location and contract type are set out on page 13.
Appointments are available on a permanent or secondment basis for periods of
between 18 months and 3 years. If you are offered a contract working less than 2 days
per week, you will not be eligible for secondment.
SA1 Hospital Consultants/General Surgeon/General Physician: £80,000 to £106,700
We normally aim to appoint at the minimum of the pay band, but salaries will be
agreed depending on level of current salary, expertise, and practice.
These are part-time roles. For further information please see page 13.
The civil service pension scheme offers a career average earnings-related scheme or
defined scheme. Further details are available on the civil service pensions website www.civilservice-pensions.gov.uk.
The full-time annual leave allowance is 30 days per year, excluding public holidays,
plus 2.5 extra statutory days; this will be calculated pro rata for these part-time
You may be required to travel on official business occasionally, normally within the
UK. The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman will reimburse any travel cost
relating to official business (this does not include home to office journey).
Successful candidates will be on probation for ten months. Appointments will be
confirmed when this period has been completed satisfactorily.
Performance development review
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s performance and development
review cycle runs from 1 April to 31 March.
All offers of employment are conditional and subject to our pre-employment checks,
including a basic CRB check and a health assessment for fitness to work. If necessary,
you may need to undertake a medical assessment.
You will also be required to provide relevant certificates according to your specialism;
so, for example, doctors will be required to provide us with a certificate of good
As a crown servant, you may not take part in any activity that would in any way
impair the effectiveness of your work for the Parliamentary and Health Service
Ombudsman, or engage in any occupation that may conflict with the interests of this
Office or be inconsistent with your official position. Subject to these conditions, work
of a minor or short-term nature (for example, vacation or after-hours work) will
normally be allowed, provided you seek prior permission.
You will also be subject to certain restrictions. Standing as a candidate in
parliamentary elections is prohibited. Standing for local authority elections,
canvassing on behalf of candidates, and expressing views on matters of political
controversy in public speeches or publications require prior permission from this
Office and may be refused. There is also a requirement to declare involvement in any
activity where you have an actual or potential conflict of interests.
Other benefits offered to all staff include an employee assistance programme, season
ticket or bicycle loans, a gym subsidy scheme, and childcare vouchers.
No employee or job applicant will receive less favourable treatment on the grounds of
age, colour, disability, ethnic (or national) origin, gender, marital status, political
opinion, religious belief, sexual orientation, trade union activity, or any other
relevant factor, or be disadvantaged by any condition or requirement which cannot be
shown to be justifiable.
Applications from people covered by the Equality Act 2010
are particularly welcome.
The term disability is defined in the Equality Act 2010
as a physical or mental
impairment that has a substantial and long-term effect (that has lasted or is likely to
last for a period of twelve months or more) on the ability to carry out normal day-to-
Any disabled applicant who applies under the guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) and
who meets the minimum selection criteria will automatically progress to the next
stage of the recruitment process, which may be an assessment or interview.
By ‘minimum selection criteria’ we mean that you must provide us with evidence in
your application form that you meet the level of competence required for the
qualifications, knowledge, skills or experience defined as essential. If you have any
questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
A false declaration of a disability under the GIS to obtain a guaranteed interview,
which results in employment, may invalidate your contract of employment.
If you think you have a disability but are unsure, then you may wish to consult your
doctor before completing the relevant section on the application form.
You may wish to declare a disability but not apply under the GIS.
Where a disability is declared, we will make all reasonable adjustments to
accommodate your needs.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s Office will record the
information given for the purposes of recruitment and selection monitoring. The
information will be processed for the purposes of HR administration and statistical
Candidates who are invited to interview can claim reimbursement of reasonable
travelling expenses to the interview, up to a maximum of £100 per return journey
(please note that this is for standard class travel only). Further information will be in
the invitation to interview letter.
Candidates are asked to note that we do not provide feedback on applications at
longlisting or shortlisting stage.
For further information about the role, please contact Sue Lowson, Lead Clinician ([email address])
. For further information about the recruitment
process or the terms and conditions of the role, please email Rosemary Oduntan-Oke,
Recruitment Manager ([email address]).