External complaints reviewers

Jt Oakley made this Freedom of Information request to Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

My understanding us that when a person complains about the way a member of staff has dealt with their case, the complaint is handled by the Review Team.

The Review team then passes the complaint to ' independent' reviewers.

I would like to know if the Head the Review Team

1. Attends interviews for these 'independent' reviewers and has any say in appointing them to their positions.

2. If the Head of the Review Team is in contact with the 'independent' reviewers, or monitors their work for the PHSO.

Also :

3. If these 'independent' reviewers are employed by the PHSO, or are on contracts.

4. How many 'independent' complaint reviewers there are.

5. Does the PHSO ever use complaints reviewers who are unknown to PHSO employees so that an independent judgement may be reached.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

foiofficer, 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 Jt Oakley

Your information request (FDN-176226)

I write further to your email of 18 October 2013. In your email you ask a number of questions about the ‘independent reviewers’. I have interpreted your request to be for information relating to the external reviewers who carry out an external review of our decisions and service. I will address your questions in turn.

1. I would like to know if the Head the Review Team attends interviews for these 'independent' reviewers and has any say in appointing them to their positions.

The Head of the Review Team was not involved in the recruitment of the external reviewers and did not attend any interviews involved in their appointment.

2. If the Head of the Review Team is in contact with the 'independent' reviewers, or monitors their work for the PHSO.

The Head of the Review Team is responsible for overseeing the work from our External Reviewers. However, she has no involvement in any reviews that involve complaints about herself.

3. If these 'independent' reviewers are employed by the PHSO, or are on contracts.

The External Reviewers are self-employed and contracted to work for PHSO.

4. How many 'independent' complaint reviewers there are.

There are three external reviewers.

5. Does the PHSO ever use complaints reviewers who are unknown to PHSO employees so that an independent judgement may be reached.

As you are aware we employ external reviewers to carry out reviews of our decisions and service. If the external reviewers were to know any of the individuals who worked at PHSO personally they would have to declare this as a conflict of interest and would not be involved in any review concerning anyone that was known to them. To date, we are not aware of any conflict of interest the external reviewers have with PHSO employees.

The last stage of the complaints process is the review process. After a review the only remaining option is to apply for judicial review of our decision. There is no other organisation that looks at our decisions before judicial review.

Yours sincerely

Claire Helm
Freedom of Information/Data Protection Officer
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
E: [email address]
W: www.ombudsman.org.uk

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,

The Head of the Review Team is responsible for overseeing the work from our External Reviewers.

Thank you for confirming this.

Yours sincerely,

Jt Oakley

foiofficer, 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,

Could you please tell me who is responsible for interviewing these investigators if the Head of the Review Team - to whom they are responsible - does not interview them?

Yours sincerely,

Jt Oakley

foiofficer, 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

foiofficer, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear Jt Oakley

Your information request (FDN-176226)

Ann Abraham, the previous Ombudsman, and Jenny Betteridge, the previous Ombudsman's Casework Manager, interviewed the external reviewers.

Yours sincerely

Claire Helm
Freedom of Information/Data Protection Officer Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
E: [email address]
W: www.ombudsman.org.uk

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,

And are these external reviewers on contracts, or are they directly employed by the PHSO?

And since their work is overseen by the Head of the Review Team, could you confirm or deny that her recommendation - or disapproval - would count as to their continued employment.

Yours sincerely,

Jt Oakley

foiofficer, 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

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Complainants beware...

You cannot complain against the Head if the Review Team.

Even when the PHSO has made a glaring mistake in the handling of your case.

1. Your complaint will be investigated by an external advisor responsible to the Head of Review Team.

2. Your complaint will be handled by a member if the Review Team, who is also responsible to the Head of Review.

Spot the Deliberate Injustice.

No prizes... it's too easy.

CA Purkis left an annotation ()

It's all such a farce.

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Eventually. - and prompted by a complaint phone call - the Head of Review decides a complaint against herself will go to an external reviewer ( who it can be seen from the above reports to her in the normal course of work) and also decides on the signatory..who is to run the complaint).

30/05/2013
Note to external reviewer

I have decided that we need to review this complaint about myself and SF externally because it would not be appropriate for my team to be involved in the reviewing a complaint about me. The signatory for the complaint is GH.

SB

Dear foiofficer,

Please only reply via this website.

Yours sincerely,

Jt Oakley

foiofficer, 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 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 'External complaints reviewers'.

Long overdue

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

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

foiofficer, 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

Complaintsphso, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

RESTRICTED

Dear Ms [first name redacted] Oakley

I am writing in response to your email of 4 February 2014. I apologise for the delay in responding. I am sorry that you are dissatisfied with our handling of your information request entitled 'External complaints reviewers'.

Under our internal complaints procedure, your complaint has been passed to the Head of Risk, Assurance and Programme Management Office, Mr Steve Brown.

Mr Brown will consider your concerns and will send you a full reply once his review is complete. This review of your complaint is the only review that we will undertake.

We aim to reply to such complaints within 40 working days.

Yours sincerely

Tanya Jackson
Business Support Officer to the Review Team Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
E: [email address]
W: www.ombudsman.org.uk

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Mark left an annotation ()

I'm sorry to say that the Health Service Ombudsman is there not to investigate complaints. They are there to block them, to stop them in their tracks. They are highly successful at this 99% + successful. They are not there to serve the public, to think this leads to despair. I'm sorry to share this truth - because it is heartbreaking really. But I have come to believe this utterly.

Brown Steve, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

4 Attachments

 

 

Steve Brown

Head of Risk, Assurance and Programme Management Office

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

E: [email address]

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

 

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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

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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...

Dear Brown Steve,

Thank you ....but I have read through the above request and I cannot find any response written by Anne Harding and John Halliday.

As this is a request for public information, via this website, then perhaps you would be good enough to put it in the public domain as a public record.

Yours sincerely,

Jt Oakley

Brown Steve, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

2 Attachments

Dear Ms [first name redacted] Oakley,

The responses from Anne Harding and John Halliday were sent in reply to emails you sent to PHSO from your private email account - I presume because they also dealt with matters relating to your substantive complaint with PHSO. As you have now asked for the material relating to your information request to be placed in the public domain please find the relevant emails attached. You will see that I have redacted from these all information that is not relevant to your information request this includes references to your substantive complaint and third party personal data including your personal email address.

Steve Brown
Head of Risk, Assurance and Programme Management Office
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
E: [email address]
W: www.ombudsman.org.uk

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Dear Brown Steve,

Thank you but one of the responses is a bit askew and difficult to read.

Yours sincerely,

Jt Oakley

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Anyone following this should know that it took me months to get an external investigation.

Which was upheld, with an apology from Dame Julie Mellor.

::::

The letters above are because I stated that I would not be bullied out making the complaint and that it would only go ahead - if it was at arms length from the head of review.

As it was.. And can be seen from the attached letter from Anne Harding above, a clerk from the review team handled the case paperwork, at the direction of the review team's line manager .....Anne Harding - the external investigators control.

Therefore I had to check every scrap if information had to be sent to the external investigator - since such an obvious point had been overlooked by the review team ...before and, in the files, it was stated that some files had been 'lost'.

However, (as in the letter attached above) despite the external investigator giving the impression that he was working at arms- length and reporting directly to Dame Julie Mellor, according to the files - Anne Harding got the result of my investigation on the same day, shortly after it was sent to the Ombudsman ....and possibly before she had a chance to read it, since Dame Julie Mellor is often occupied on larger issues.

My impression is that, over the years, under this complaints regime, that the PHSO's review team has been confident enough to treat the public with such casual arrogance.

After my case, I am told that the system has apparently now been changed so that complainants can fill out a form. This should mean that the public can point out the review teams mistakes, without having to run round for months and trying to find a senior officer who will treat it fairly - and completely at arms length.

But complaints should be aware that

1. The same review team paperwork set up may be foisted on them. ....And if they don't accept that it is fair, they will be told that the alternative is to go to judicial review.

2. And there is no guarantee that, despite assurances of external investigators of independence, that the they can assume their investigation report is read by the Ombudsman first.

3. The only reason that I can see for the review team's line manager to reading the 'independent' report almost at the same time , or, even in advance of the Ombudsman, is that .....the Ombudsman needs to be told what to think in advance of her letter being sent out.

A.E. left an annotation ()

I had no idea there was anyone external involved in reviewing. The review I had on my case was undertaken and communicated by a reviewer with a PHSO email address account who was clearly internal. So much for "independent". The reviewer of course rubber-stamped the original totally flawed decision, I was informed that my next option was judicial review. Having looked at the statistics for judicial review, the likelihood of getting justice is the same as with the PHSO, zero.

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