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Complaints against government departments.

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phsothefacts Pressure Group

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

Can you please release your report into complaints against government departments for 2018/19.

Yours faithfully,

Della Reynolds

phsothefacts Pressure Group

InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

3 Attachments

Dear Della Reynolds

 

RE: Your information request: R0000820

                            

I write in response to your request dated 10 August 2019 to the PHSO which
has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

Request

 

Can you please release your report into complaints against government
departments for 2018/19?

 

Response

 

The information you requested is intended for future publication towards
the end of the year. As such, this is exempt under Section 22 of the Act.

 

Section 22 of the Act permits information to be withheld, subject to the
application of a public interest test, where information which is intended
for future publication is exempt information.

 

We have considered the exemption under Section 22 as it applies to the
information you have requested; and in particular whether the public
interest lies in favour of maintaining the exemption or in disclosing this
information to you prior to pre-planned publication.

 

It is recognised there is a general public interest in the immediate
disclosure of information to ensure transparency and accountability. There
is public interest in the public having access to and being provided with
the most up to date complaints figures. We recognise there may be a public
interest in disclosing this information now and this may also weigh in
favour of it being unreasonable to wait for the information to be
published.

 

However, there is a need to ensure that the publication of official
information is a properly planned and managed process. As such, the PHSO
must ensure that the information intended for publication meets the
standards and requirements set for our publications. It would therefore be
unfair for the PHSO to release this information prior to meeting such
standards.

 

Additionally, PHSO should be permitted to publish information in a manner
and form of it’s own choosing which could be undermined by previous
disclosure. Publication before the planned date would undermine the PHSOs
pre-planned publication process and ability to use staff resources in a
planned way so that reasonable publication timetables are not undermined.

 

In light of the above, the view is that the public interest in disclosure
is outweighed by the public interest in maintaining the exemption; and
therefore your request is refused.

 

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

 

Follow us on

[4]fb  [5]twitter  [6]linkedin

 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman request email]
2. http://www.ico.org.uk/
3. http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
4. http://www.facebook.com/phsombudsman
5. http://www.twitter.com/PHSOmbudsman
6. http://www.linkedin.com/company/parliame...

phsothefacts Pressure Group

Dear InformationRights,

What mysterious ways you work in. You must have the data for government departments as this would have been included in the overall figures for your Annual Report released in July. For some reason you do not release both reports at the same time. Will this information be released before your open meeting in October?

Yours sincerely,

Della Reynolds

phsothefacts Pressure Group

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.

InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear Della Reynolds

Thank you for your email.

We will be publishing it in line with previous years towards the end of this year. It won't be before the Open Meeting.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
W: www.ombudsman.org.uk

show quoted sections

phsothefacts Pressure Group

Dear InformationRights,

No problem. I can wait.

Yours sincerely,

phsothefacts Pressure Group

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.

phsothefacts Pressure Group

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

Hi, the end of the year has come and gone and we are now in mid-January. Can you point me in the direction of the data which refers to Parliamentary Complaints handled by the Ombudsman 2018/2019?

Yours faithfully,

Della Reynolds

phsothefacts Pressure Group

phsothefacts Pressure Group

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 'Complaints against government departments.'.

I first requested the data on PHSO handling of Parliamentary Complaints in August 2019. This data has been available since the end of the financial year in April 2019. It was not released as part of the annual report in July 2019 hence the request. I was informed it would be released by the end of the year. As far as I know this data is still not in the public domain even though we are now mid-way through January 2020. I will be taking this matter to ICO if I do not get a speedy response to this request as there can be no valid reason for further delay.

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

Yours faithfully,
Della Reynolds
phsothefacts Pressure Group

Bennett Adam, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear Ms Reynolds,

 

Our Reference: R0001057

 

 

Further to you recent email.

 

Your follow up request;

 

Hi, the end of the year has come and gone and we are now in mid-January.
Can you point me in the direction of the data which refers to
Parliamentary Complaints handled by the Ombudsman 2018/2019?

 

Our response;

 

Due to the recent General Election held on the 12 December 2019, many
parliamentary matters, including our reporting to PACAC have been stepped
back due to the election being a priority.  We are, therefore, still
waiting a potential publication date in relation to the information that
you requested, and as the information is being considered for publication,
it remains subject to exemption under S22 (1) of the Freedom of
information act. 

 

If you believe I have made an error in the way I have processed your
information request, it is open to you to complain to the Information
Commissioner’s Office ([1]www.ico.org.uk) or seek a judicial remedy.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Officer

Information Rights Team

 

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.org.uk/

phsothefacts Pressure Group

Dear Bennett Adam,

thank you for responding. I really do not understand why PACAC influences the release date for PHSP data on parliamentary complaints. Can you explain why you hold this data back? In April we will be into a new financial year so this data has been available to PHSO for many months.

Is it the case that PHSO do not release the parliamentary complaint data until after the PACAC meeting - which would then avoid proper scrutiny of the way in which PHSO has held government bodies to account?

Yours sincerely,

Della Reynolds.

phsothefacts Pressure Group

M Boyce left an annotation ()

PACAC and 'proper scrutiny'?

PACAC do not scrutinise the PHSO, they merely nod through whatever they do. The PHSO know full well that PACAC will not properly scrutinise (hold them to account) their actions. PACAC is just window-dressing masquerading as accountability. As an example, the PHSO themselves explicitly state that their review process is not legally allowed, but when PACAC have been repeatedly asked to investigate (scrutinise) this matter they point blank refuse to do so. So much for scrutiny.

All this means there is even less reason to continue to withhold the long overdue information which you have requested which should have been published.

phsothefacts Pressure Group

Dear Bennett Adam,

I have referred this matter to ICO and have received a case number. I can see no valid reason for PHSO to continue to withhold the data on parliamentary complaints for 2018/19 ten months after the end of the financial year. Let me remind you of the Ombudsman's words following the last PHSO open meeting.

"On 2 October 2019, we held our third annual Open Meeting at the Pendulum Hotel in Manchester. The event is a further illustration of PHSO’s transition into a more outward-facing, accessible, and transparent ombudsman service. " Rob Behrens

I would suggest that the refusal to release the parliamentary complaints data is an illustration that PHSO is still a long way from being more outward-facing, accessible and transparent.

Yours sincerely,

Della Reynolds

phsothefacts Pressure Group

phsothefacts Pressure Group left an annotation ()

I see from another FOI response that PHSO investigated just 90 parliamentary complaints in 2018/19 from a total of 5,744 submitted. The ombudsman upheld just 3 cases in full and 35 cases in part, making a total of 38 upholds for the year, for all parliamentary bodies. PHSO have managed to reduce a previously low uphold rate of about 5% to just 0.6% of all parliamentary cases. Remarkable. No wonder you are still sitting on the full data.
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

M Boyce left an annotation ()

How can PACAC even pretend to hold the PHSO to scrutiny if it can't even be bothered to sit? Although the new Chair was announced in January, there has been no mention of further Committee members or when the Committee will commence business again after the December election. So much for scrutiny. We need a proper system of scrutiny, not this ridiculous masquerade.

J Roberts left an annotation ()

"PHSO have managed to reduce a previously low uphold rate of about 5% to just 0.6% of all parliamentary cases. Remarkable. No wonder you are still sitting on the full data."

Each year the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) announce a winner of their annual Statistic of the Year competition. The winner of the UK Statistic of 2018 was 27.8%: the peak percentage of all electricity produced in the UK due to solar power on 30 June this year.

My PHSO statistic of the year is 88% - the massive fall from the previous low uphold rate of 5%! Such a large drop requires an explanation.

M Boyce left an annotation ()

It does, but you won't get one from the PHSO.

phsothefacts Pressure Group

Dear Bennett Adam,

It would appear that PHSO have now released the data on complaints about Government departments for 2018/2019. I cannot find this information easily on your website. Can you please provide a direct link here for those who have been following this request?

Yours sincerely,

Della Reynolds.

phsothefacts Pressure Group

Mail Delivery System,

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J Roberts left an annotation ()

Another source of confusion surrounding PHSO statistics:

"We investigate around 4,000 complaints a year and uphold, in full or in part, around 40%."

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

40% - really!

M Boyce left an annotation ()

I think they have put the 0 in the wrong place.

Is anyone bothering to make a submission to PACAC this year for the annual 'scrutiny' shindig, assuming it is still going to happen?
I won't be bothering as it is a complete waste of time. I, like many other people, made a submission last year, but it was completely ignored, so I'll save my breath this time.

J Roberts left an annotation ()

"Is anyone bothering to make a submission to PACAC this year for the annual 'scrutiny' shindig, assuming it is still going to happen?"

I have read a number of submissions to PACAC over the years, many of which have been extremely informative and eloquent. None, however, seems to have resulted in any improvement.

If an MP were to question the effectiveness of the PHSO it could lead to problems. Currently, a constituent who approaches an MP with a complaint about a government department can be dealt with by a signature on a form. Complainant's who have reached the stage of needing their MP's signature will no doubt be in possession of a lot of written material on a complicated matter. It makes life easier for an MP if they tell the complainant that the PHSO will sort it out and that they have a 40% uphold rate.

If MPs were to tell complainant that 99.4% of all enquiries to the PHSO lead nowhere, and that things are even worse as far as the DWP is concerned, complainants would ask their MPs to do something about it.

M Boyce left an annotation ()

Mmm, and their MP would do diddly squat, because that is what they do best. I have been to my MP in the past, and I certainly wouldn't waste my time going there again. I hope others may have had a more positive experience, but I am doubtful. PACAC of course is made up of MP's who could hold the PHSO to account, and therefore improve public services, if they so wished, but they never have and probably never will.

phsothefacts Pressure Group

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

I have received the information concerning parliamentary complaints but not via this FOI request. The information was published without fanfare on the PHSO website where it could be downloaded. It has subsequently been removed (I understand). In relation to uphold, the PHSO upheld to some degree 0.6% of all the parliamentary complaints in 2018/19. Just three cases were upheld in full from over 5,000 submitted. PHSO spin the 40% uphold rate by investigating just a few cases then finding the uphold percentage from this limited number. Clearly all those who submitted a complaint to PHSO expected an outcome and on this basis it is better to calculate the percentage uphold from all complaints submitted. Just 0.6% uphold tells its own story about the real purpose of the Ombudsman.

Yours faithfully,

Della Reynolds

phsothefacts Pressure Group

InformationRights, 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.

Angharad Jackson
Data Protection Officer & Assistant Director Information Assurance
Office of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
PHSO CityGate
47-51 Mosley Street
Manchester
M2 3HQ
[email address]

J Roberts left an annotation ()

Complaint figures for 2019/20:

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

Table:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/6...

Parliamentary complaints for 2018/19:

3 upheld and 35 partly upheld

Parliamentary complaints for 2019/20:

11 upheld and 35 partly upheld

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are phsothefacts Pressure Group please sign in and let everyone know.