Deputy Ombudsman appointment

E. Colville made this Freedom of Information request to Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

I request information the formal process/procedure used for the appointment of Mick Martin as Deputy Ombudsman and the date the appointment became effective.

Yours faithfully,

E. Colville

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


Thank you for your e-mail to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. This return e-mail shows that we have received your correspondence.

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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 legal purposes.
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

foiofficer, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear E Colville

 

Your information request (FDN-232735)

 

I am writing in response to your email of 29 August 2015, in which you
asked for information about the process around Mick Martin’s appointment
as Deputy Ombudsman and the date on which the appointment became
effective.

 

Mick assumed permanent responsibilities as Managing Director on 1
September 2014.  Since then, changing governance arrangements have meant
that Mick Martin’s title has now changed from Managing Director to
Managing Director and Deputy Ombudsman.  I have included an internal
communication from Dame Julie Mellor to staff explaining the rationale for
this below:

 

Mick Martin – Deputy Ombudsman

As part of our programme to modernise our organisation and its work, we
have already undertaken steps to improve our governance arrangements and
ensure responsibilities are effectively delegated down from the Chair to
officers in the Executive Team. In order to properly reflect the
responsibilities of our Managing Director, Mick Martin, and his continued
involvement in casework decisions, his title will now be Managing Director
and Deputy Ombudsman. This change in title will more accurately represent
the powers that have been delegated to him, and will provide clarity
moving forward as further modernisation is undertaken.

We have also decided to rename the Ombudsman’s Casework Team to the
Corporate Casework Team. This more accurately reflects the role they play
in supporting both Mick and I in providing corporate oversight on high
risk and high profile cases including those cases where we think we need
to take a further look through our review process.

12 June 2015

 

I hope that this information is helpful.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Aimee Gasston

Freedom of Information / Data Protection Officer

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

W: [1]www.ombudsman.org.uk

 

Please email the FOI/DP team at: [2][email address]

 

 

From: E. Colville [mailto:[FOI #288914 email]]
Sent: 29 August 2015 11:51
To: foiofficer
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Deputy Ombudsman appointment

 

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

I request information the formal process/procedure used for the
appointment of Mick Martin as Deputy Ombudsman and the date the
appointment became effective.

Yours faithfully,

E. Colville

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

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[Name Removed] (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

The PHSO seems to be maintaining that there is nothing on files about this appointment available under FOIA.

But what are these new 'governance arrangements'? Surely they must be written on file somewhere.

No organisation can be that casual.

Surely this appontnent had to go through some sort of procedure?

Board approval?

So where are the minutes?

Most of it seems to be an 'explanation' , from an FOIA employee, who presumably wasn't involved in the appointment procedure or new 'governance arrangements' And has just passed in a letter to the staff.

Instead of a proper FOIA response, on what files are available, or not - with the correct FOIA sections applied.

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 'Deputy Ombudsman appointment'.

PHSO Resource Accounts 2008-09 page 17 provides the following information:
"During 2008-09 the Executive Board members, and their service contracts, commencement dates and end dates (where applicbale) were as follows: Trish Longdon - Deputy Ombudmsan ( 4 August 2003 to 30 June 2008)." "Trish Longdon and Bill Richardson were permanently appointed under fair and open competition."
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

Consistency would dictate that a similar 'fair and open competition' was opened to appoint the current Deputy Ombudsman. Your response implies a failure of reasonably expected procedural formality in decision-making and corresponding audit trail. Your internal review should have regard to these points. It should explain specifically the reasons for the apparent departure from procedural norms.

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

Yours faithfully,

E. Colville

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


Thank you for your e-mail to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. This return e-mail shows that we have received your correspondence.

show quoted sections

All email communications with PHSO pass through the Government Secure Intranet, and may be automatically logged, monitored and/or recorded for legal purposes.
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

Dear foiofficer,

I have taken receipt today of a letter of acknowledgement from your Customer Care Team under your reference FDN-232735/0028 in regard to my request yesterday for internal review of your response to FOI request "Deputy Ombudsman Appointment". It was posted to my home address marked "In Confidence". It speaks to "your email of 21 October 2015." As my request for review was in fact made via the WDTK public website, consistent with the original request and PHSO response, I should be grateful if you would ensure all future correspondence linked to this request is posted via WDTK only.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

E. Colville

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


Thank you for your e-mail to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. This return e-mail shows that we have received your correspondence.

show quoted sections

All email communications with PHSO pass through the Government Secure Intranet, and may be automatically logged, monitored and/or recorded for legal purposes.
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

Brown Steve, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

4 Attachments

 

 

Steve Brown

Head of Risk and Assurance

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

E: [email address]

W: [1]www.ombudsman.org.uk

 

Follow us on

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show quoted sections

All email communications with PHSO pass through the Government Secure
Intranet, and may be automatically logged, monitored and/or recorded for
legal purposes.
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

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
2. http://www.facebook.com/phsombudsman
3. http://www.twitter.com/PHSOmbudsman
4. http://www.linkedin.com/company/parliame...

[Name Removed] (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

You have asked for file information ( data) under the FOIA - but just received an 'explanation'.

As far as I know the FOIA does not require explanations - (although sometimes they are useful - even those written by the External Affairs department). The act is not called the FOEA.

Someone must have made the decision to extend the deputy ombudsman's job, and this decision must be on file.

::::

So why is the PHSO refusing to let you read the FoIA data and insisting on only or insisting on providing an explanation?

.....Probably because the PHSO is to be reformed and if this deputy ombudsman is to compete against others in the new slimmed-down combined Ombudsman service.

So it would be cheaper not to get rid of any extra employees.

And that maybe the logic which is held on file - and which the PHSO doesn't want you to read.

Because it would apply to all employees now employed throughout the combining ombudsmen.

This is the draft bill...

Reform and modernise the Public Service Ombudsman sector providing a more effective and accessible final tier of complaints redress within the public sector.

Absorb the functions of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the Health Ombudsman, the Local Government Ombudsman and potentially The Housing Ombudsman.

Page 102..

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

E. Colville left an annotation ()

Interesting to note at Q5 of the Government's Response to the Consultation on PSO Reform, issued yesterday..

"...the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman detailed how they had trialled using deputy ombudsmen and specialised staff but had moved to a flatter management structure to improve their service. The Local Government Ombudsman had similarly moved away from operating with more than one ombudsman....Other models were suggested as suitable examples for consideration....."

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

E. Colville left an annotation ()

Interesting to note at Q5 of the Government's Response to the Consultation on PSO Reform, issued yesterday..

"...the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman detailed how they had trialled using deputy ombudsmen and specialised staff but had moved to a flatter management structure to improve their service. The Local Government Ombudsman had similarly moved away from operating with more than one ombudsman....Other models were suggested as suitable examples for consideration....."

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

[Name Removed] (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Deputy Ombudsman Mick Martin was involved in an employment tribunal in the month that he seems to have been awarded his new title:

http://www.cloisters.com/images/Marks_-_...

See point 272 and 284.

[Name Removed] (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

The PHSO was clearly trying to avoid a proper response, by not producing the files requested.

It provided a written response, scrutinised and possibly edited by the external affairs department, for reputational defence - instead of Foia demanded data already held on file.

NB The why of why the phso should of provided the information to Ms Colville is outlined in the IPSA v Information Commissioner and Leapman Decision.( link below).

:::

PUBLIC ACCESS ..that means for all the public to read, not just the requester.

The ICO states criteria for making a request:

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides public access to information held by public authorities.

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...

:::

The PHSO then deliberately tries to avoid answering E Colville's request by NOT placing its response on the the WDTK address, as requested.

It assumes that it already has knowledge of who the requester is - for it to do so. ( It may be wrong in its assumption)

And then sends the information to E Colville's home address - to avoid placing any of the information on WDTK to keep it secret from the public, who have every right to read it.

When it uses this secretive strategy, it means that the PHSO has already found publicly embarrassing information under the FOIA . But it's the a flag that the PHSO has something to hide.

;;

It therefore very much looks like the PHSO were already aware of Mr Martin's involvement in the Sex-text cover up case, reading the secretive initial response and its later diversion offline.

::

It's been reported that Ms Marks alleges that she informed the ombudsman of the result of the Sex-Text Tribunal in November 2O15, which having been printed in the HSJ, led to Mr Martin's resignation, as the PHSO failed to deal with it.

And that the Ombudsman ignored her letter by writing ' noted' on it.

::::

THE ICO GUIDANCE- post the revealing of MP's expenses
This is the criteria set down by the ICO on its website and why letters containing information edited for reputational purposes - and which do not respond to the request - do not fulfil the terms of the Act while actual documents do.

Defining ‘recorded information’

A request for a copy of a document is a valid request for all of the ‘recorded information’ in that document.

‘Recorded information’ can be defined as any feature or characteristic of a document that imparts information or knowledge to the viewer.

This means that the term ‘recorded information’ doesn’t just apply to the text; it covers any component of the document

that conveys information, for example:

 Design and layout: this can reveal something about the nature of the document. For example, whether it is recorded in the form of a report, spreadsheet or letter.

 Logos and letterheads: these can tell the viewer something about the authenticity and legitimacy of the document.

 Language: this can impart information about the tone of the document. For example, if the author has used lots of contrite language, it conveys that the document is apologetic in tone.

 Emphasised wording: the use of underlining, italics or bold font tells the viewer something about the significance of the emphasised words.

 Handwriting: this includes both the writer’s handwriting style and their signature.

 Annotations and headers and footers: this includes handwritten comments, markings such as crossed out or circled words and annotations made outside the main body of the text. Any text included in headers and footers also qualifies as information recorded in the document.

 Images: images such as diagrams, photographs and pie charts usually convey some form of information to the viewer.

 Email transmission details: the time and date of transmission and electronic signature are part of the recorded information in an email.

:::

16. Our broad interpretation of ‘recorded information’ reflects the view taken by the Upper Tribunal in Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) v Information Commissioner and Leapman UKUT 0033 (ACC) (23 January 2014).

In IPSA v Information Commissioner and Leapman UKUT 0033 (ACC) (23 January 2014) the requester had asked IPSA for the receipts submitted by several named MP’s in support of their expenses claims.

IPSA responded by providing a transcript of the information in the receipts. However, the requester wanted copies of the original documents and referred the matter to the Commissioner.

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

[Name Removed] (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

So Mick Martin was suddenly made deputy ombudsman in the month that a tribunal judge criticised him for the sex-text cover up.

.....In a case, for which he subsequently resigned.

Yet it is alleged that Mrs Marks wrote to Dame Julie Mellor about the case. And she did nothing else but 'note' gus involvement in the sex-text cover up - and replacing the appellant with a mate,who had helped ease her out of her post.

It would be interesting to know exactly what 'improvements in governance' the Ombudsman was expecting- having read Mrs Marks letter.