Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

I am interested in your 'Ask Mick' sessions referred to in the following minute of your board meeting on 9 March 2016:

'3.7 Accessibility and visibility of the Executive Team members is being increased
through various initiatives, including more face to face sessions with staff,
such as ‘Ask Mick’ sessions, a more personal and accountable tone of voice in
Executive Team communications and more platforms for leaders to engage
directly with staff, both formally and informally.'

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/3...

1. Please confirm that the 'Mick' in question refers to the previous Deputy Ombudsman Mick Martin who left his job because of a matter linked to the "sexual abuse cover-up scandal" referred to in the following newspaper article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/...

2. Please state the number of 'Ask Mick' sessions there were/have been.

3. If the 'Mick' part of the sessions has changed, what has it been replaced with?

4. Please provide all the questions that were asked at the 'Ask Mick' sessions and all responses.

5. Please provide the number of staff who attended each of the 'Ask Mick' sessions.

6. Please provide the number of PHSO staff who have alleged sexual harassment at work.

Yours faithfully,

J Roberts

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


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InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear J Roberts

 

Your information request – our reference: FDN-270645

 

I am writing in response to your Freedom of Information request dated 23
September 2016.

 

In line with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), I can confirm we
hold some of the information that you have requested. I have responded to
your questions below.

 

1. Please confirm that the 'Mick' in question refers to the previous
Deputy Ombudsman Mick Martin who left his job because of a matter linked
to the "sexual abuse cover-up scandal" referred to in the following
newspaper article:
[1]http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/...

 

2. Please state the number of 'Ask Mick' sessions there were/have been.

 

3. If the 'Mick' part of the sessions has changed, what has it been
replaced with?

 

4. Please provide all the questions that were asked at the 'Ask Mick'
sessions and all responses.

 

5. Please provide the number of staff who attended each of the 'Ask Mick'
sessions.

 

In relation to questions 1 to 5 I can confirm Mr Mick Martin, the former
Deputy Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman carried out the ‘Ask
Mick’ sessions. The purpose of these ‘face to face’ sessions with staff
was to increase accessibility and visibility of the Executive Team
members. The sessions also enabled a more personal and accountable tone of
voice in Executive Team communications and was a platform for leaders to
engage directly with staff, both formally and informally. The ‘Ask Mick’
sessions were not replaced.

 

We do not hold a full record detailing the number of ‘Ask Mick’ sessions
that took place. This information would likely have been held within
calendar entries in Mr Martin’s PHSO Microsoft Outlook account. When a
staff member leaves the organisation their PHSO Microsoft Outlook account
is deactivated and their calendar entries and tasks are deleted after 90
days. As more than 90 days have passed since Mr Martin left the PHSO, a
complete record of the requested information is no longer held.

 

However from our search we were able to locate one record of a session
that took place on 18 February 2016, which 20 members of staff attended. I
can confirm we do hold a note of the questions and answers from the
session however the exemption at section 36(2)(b)(i) FOIA applies to the
information, as disclosure would inhibit the free and frank advice between
our Executive Team and staff.

 

Section 36(2)(b)(i) FOIA is a qualified exemption and requires the balance
of public interest test. When considering the arguments for disclosure, we
have taken into account that it is fundamental that publically funded
organisations like the PHSO are open and transparent about its policies
and decisions, and are held accountable for them. We have also taken into
account that disclosure would provide insight to the frank dialogue
between the PHSO Executive Team and staff.

 

However we consider that the public interest for not disclosing the
information outweighs the arguments for disclosure. It is likely that
staff and the Executive Team would not freely exchange their candid views
on an open platform if they believed that the information would be
released into the public domain. It is essential for the operational work
of the PHSO that our Executive Team are able to provide open and frank
updates to staff, and for them to listen and take on board the opinions
and concerns of staff – platforms such as the ‘Ask Mick’ sessions enable
the Executive Team to do this and drive improvements within the
organisation. As disclosure would inhibit our internal free and frank
communications the information is exempt under section 36(2)(b)(i) FOIA.

 

6. Please provide the number of PHSO staff who have alleged sexual
harassment at work.

 

We carried out a search for the last 12 months, and there have been no
allegations of sexual harassment.

 

I hope the information is helpful. If you are dissatisfied with the way
your Freedom of Information request was handled you can ask for an
internal review by emailing me at [2][Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman request email].
Beyond that you can complain to the Information Commissioner, her office
details can be found here: [3]https://ico.org.uk/.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Sohifa Kadir

Freedom of Information and Data Protection Officer

 

From: J Roberts [mailto:[FOI #360820 email]]
Sent: 23 September 2016 13:43
To: InformationRights
Subject: FDN-270645 - Freedom of Information request - 'Ask Mick' sessions

 

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

I am interested in your 'Ask Mick' sessions referred to in the following
minute of your board meeting on 9 March 2016:

'3.7   Accessibility and visibility of the Executive Team members is being
increased
through various initiatives, including more face to
face sessions with staff,
such as Ask Mick sessions, a more personal and accountable
tone of voice in
Executive Team communications and more platforms for leaders to engage
directly with staff, both formally and informally.'

[4]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/3...

1.  Please confirm that the 'Mick' in question refers to the previous
Deputy Ombudsman Mick Martin who left his job because of a matter linked
to the "sexual abuse cover-up scandal" referred to in the following
newspaper article:

[5]http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/...

2.  Please state the number of 'Ask Mick' sessions there were/have been.

3.  If the 'Mick' part of the sessions has changed, what has it been
replaced with?

4.  Please provide all the questions that were asked at the 'Ask Mick'
sessions and all responses. 

5.  Please provide the number of staff who attended each of the 'Ask Mick'
sessions.

6.  Please provide the number of PHSO staff who have alleged sexual
harassment at work.

Yours faithfully,

J Roberts

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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 ''Ask Mick' sessions'. Specifically the fourth part of the request:

"Please provide all the questions that were asked at the 'Ask Mick' sessions and all responses."

The information you are refusing to disclose identifies no one and would not hinder staff from communicating frankly with any future session holder. In fact, a significant number of those in attendenance at the meeting concerned may have already left the PHSO given the organisation's high rate of staff turnover. Furthermore, the requirement for secrecy which you support is likely be a contributing factor to your organisation's recent loss of so many senior executives.

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,

J Roberts

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


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InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear J Roberts

 

Your information request – our reference: FDC 270645

 

Thank you for your email dated 30 October 2016. Your request for an
internal review has been passed on to a senior member of staff who will
review our decision. Please expect a response by 23 December 2016.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Sohifa Kadir

FOI/DP Officer

 

From: J Roberts [mailto:[FOI #360820 email]]
Sent: 30 October 2016 15:10
To: InformationRights
Subject: FDC 270645: Internal review of Freedom of Information request -
'Ask Mick' sessions

 

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 ''Ask Mick' sessions'. 
Specifically the fourth part of the request:

"Please provide all the questions that were asked at the 'Ask Mick'
sessions and all responses."

The information you are refusing to disclose identifies no one and would
not hinder staff from communicating frankly with any future session
holder.   In fact, a significant number of those in attendenance at the
meeting concerned may have already left the PHSO given the organisation's
high rate of staff turnover.  Furthermore, the requirement for secrecy
which you support is likely be a contributing factor to your
organisation's recent loss of so many senior executives.

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

Yours faithfully,

J Roberts

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[2][FOI #360820 email]

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[3]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[4]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

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References

Visible links
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Dear InformationRights,

Please provide a substantial response to my review request. You last responded:

"Thank you for your email dated 30 October 2016. Your request for an internal review has been passed on to a senior member of staff who will review our decision. Please expect a response by 23 December 2016."

Yours sincerely,

J Roberts

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


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InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear J Roberts

 

Your internal review (FDN-270645)

 

I am writing in response to your email of 30 October 2016 in which you
express dissatisfaction with PHSO’s handling of your information request. 
This review will consider whether your request was dealt with in
compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

 

Timeliness

 

Section 10(1) FOIA states that public authorities should comply with
requests within 20 working days.  We received your request on 23 September
2016 and responded to it on 21 October 2016. I am therefore satisfied that
your request was responded to in a timely manner.

 

Application of section 36(2)(b)(i) FOIA

 

Section 36(2)(b)(i) FOIA relates to information whose release would, or
would be likely to, inhibit the free and frank provision of advice.  The
information withheld documents a candid conversation between PHSO’s Deputy
Ombudsman and staff during a closed session. 

 

I have reviewed the information which has been withheld from you in line
with section 36(2)(b)(i) FOIA.  As you may be aware, this exemption
requires the opinion of the qualified person in order for it to be
properly engaged.  I have concluded that the opinion of the qualified
person was sought, considered and delivered, was reasonable and that
section 36(2)(b)(i) FOIA is engaged in relation to the redacted
information.  I therefore consider that the exemption was applied
correctly.

 

Conclusion

 

I do not uphold this complaint as I have concluded that the request was
dealt with in a compliant manner.

 

I hope that this response is helpful.  If you remain unhappy with the way
your request was processed, it is open to you to complain to the
Information Commissioner ([1]www.ico.org.uk). 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Aimee Gasston

Freedom of Information and Data Protection Officer

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

W: [2]www.ombudsman.org.uk

 

Please email the FOI/DP team at: [3][Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman request email]

 

 

From: J Roberts [mailto:[FOI #360820 email]]
Sent: 30 October 2016 15:10
To: InformationRights
Subject: FDC 270645: Internal review of Freedom of Information request -
'Ask Mick' sessions

 

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 ''Ask Mick' sessions'. 
Specifically the fourth part of the request:

"Please provide all the questions that were asked at the 'Ask Mick'
sessions and all responses."

The information you are refusing to disclose identifies no one and would
not hinder staff from communicating frankly with any future session
holder.   In fact, a significant number of those in attendenance at the
meeting concerned may have already left the PHSO given the organisation's
high rate of staff turnover.  Furthermore, the requirement for secrecy
which you support is likely be a contributing factor to your
organisation's recent loss of so many senior executives.

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

Yours faithfully,

J Roberts

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[5][FOI #360820 email]

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[6]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[7]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

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References

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2. http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
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4. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...
5. mailto:[FOI #360820 email]
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