Money spent on training front line staff.

The request was partially successful.

phsothefacts Pressure Group

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

At the recent PASC meeting 10.11.14 Kelvin Hopkins asked the following question;

" The NAO investigation: there was a £120,000 contract that
was involved. What was that designed to deliver? There are two sub-questions to that: what proportion of it went to annual learning and development, and how did the costs impact on the provision of training for the rest of the organisation? I wonder if you can spell out some of the detail."

In 2013 - 2014 the new business initiative was implemented and many staff who previously carried out assessments were relocated to carry out investigations.

1. How much money was spent in the year 2013 - 14 or prior to that time to train assessors in the skills required to carry out investigations?

2. How much, if any, of the £120,000 contract was spent on the training of front-line staff?

Yours faithfully,

Della Reynolds

phsothefacts Pressure Group

foiofficer, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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foiofficer, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

3 Attachments

Dear Della Reynolds

 

Your information request: FDN 210042

 

I write in response to your information request dated 14 December 2014 in
which you asked the following:

 

1.  How much money was spent in the year 2013 - 14 or prior to that time
to train assessors in the skills required to carry out investigations?

 

Historically PHSO has recruited to the role of ‘caseworker' rather than to
the specific roles of ‘investigator’ or assessor’. During the recruitment
process PHSO did not differentiate between ‘assessors’ and
‘investigators’. Although some caseworkers carried out investigations and
others assessments, the skills required were essentially the same. This
being the case, no formal training costs were incurred as people
transitioned from one role to another.

 

Internal in-house training for caseworker skills and knowledge sharing was
provided during this period.  Peer support was available to caseworkers
who had moved from carrying out assessments to completing investigations,
as well as guidance and support from line Managers and Directors.

 

2.  How much, if any, of the £120,000 contract was spent on the training
of front-line staff?

 

The £120,000 contract was for board development and leadership coaching. 
The contract was not for the training of front line staff. However,
separately during 2013-2014 PHSO’s total spend on learning and development
for its staff was £200,600. 

 

I hope this information is helpful.

 

Kind regards

 

Rebecca Gadsdon

FOI/DP Officer

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

T: 0300 061 1516

E: [1][email address]

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

 

Follow us on

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phsothefacts Pressure Group

Dear Rebecca,

On the 16th December 2013 Dame Julie Mellor informed the PASC committee;

Dame Julie Mellor: "This is where it may be helpful to tell you the four big things we have delivered this year, because that means people have had to work differently. The four big things we have delivered this year, having listened to the feedback from customers, from staff, from Parliament and from other stakeholders, including the bodies in jurisdiction,are, firstly, doing more investigations, which I think is the most fundamental. Our staff have been asked to work differently because we have completed four times more investigations so far this year than we had at the same time last year; we expect to
complete around 2,000 by the end of the year. We did a review, led by
Baroness Rennie Fritchie, into our approach to avoidable deaths, and decided that in future we would work on the presumption that we would investigate where there was any indication that service failure could have impacted life chances. That is another change
that our staff were expected to take on board.

The second big change is how we work with others, and Helen and I have both alluded to that already, in that we investigate and make our findings impartially and independently. However, once we have made our findings in individual cases, we have asked our staff to work with others who can make the changes in services and, indeed, with charities to work out what the best solutions are. That is where we get the real multiplier effect. For example, in our report on sepsis we made a number of recommendations for more rapid diagnosis and treatment of sepsis. According to the UK Sepsis Trust, if those recommendations are implemented, it could save 12,500 lives a year. All of that work is
something that our staff have been asked to do differently.

The third is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to influence complaint-handling in health, and so we have put a lot of focus of our energy into influencing the Department of Health’s response to the Francis report on complaint-handling in the NHS. That was a whole work programme that was new for us.

Finally, the other change that we have delivered is we have sharpened up our executive leadership. We have appointed a new executive team, including people with experience of volume customer services, to add to our ombudsman expertise, so that we can provide a
higher-volume service to the public. We have also strengthened our strategic leadership and scrutiny by introducing a board with formal governance arrangements and me as Chair. Again, for staff that means working very differently, because they did not have a unitary board like that to present things to in the past, in terms of that board making
decisions."

This would indicate significant change for front line staff over this period and yet only board development and leadership coaching received a specifically designated sum of money to provide training, which included £20,000 each for three senior members of staff to improve 'leadership skills'.

With so much change within the organisation it is questionable whether this was the best use of funds. It would seem that the majority of front line staff were offered 'peer support' to meet their needs. In other words, ask each other. This could well be a recipe for the blind leading the near sighted. No wonder the staff survey that year revealed such dissatisfaction.

Yours sincerely,

Della Reynolds.

phsothefacts Pressure Group

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 ()

You may get some idea of the confusion that reigns at the PHSO with regards to caseworkers..

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

According to the union, 25 caseworkers wre employed, indeed the all had shiny new desks and were hard to miss.

Yet the PHSO insisted that they didn't exist.

So maybe this is another incidence of the PHSO not knowing that there are any new frontline staff.

phsothefacts Pressure Group left an annotation ()

Putting money into training for front-line staff would have shown a commitment to improving the investigation process and supporting the staff through the 'modernisation' programme. Investigating complaints is the core business of the PHSO and should always come first.

Putting money into developing the executive board smacks of a business woman looking to protect her back. The executive board should consist of front line staff, union representatives, advocates from patient groups and interested lay people, not hand-picked chums on a jolly.

CA Purkis left an annotation ()

Very revealing. Especially in light of Julie Mellor agreeing that her caseworker/assessor/investigator staff all needed some much needed training. Instead she hired her friend to give her some tips and employed more people in management who have achieved absolutely nothing.

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Even more revealing was that the PHSO stated that it hasn't hired any new caseworkers, despite the fact that office space had been cleared for them .....and the 25 of them were all sitting at their nice, new shiny desks.

The union then publically stated that they existed.

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

Tut FOIA team.

The PHSO seems to think it can just buy caseworkers by the bunch off the shelf , instead of employing specialists to understand why the NHS, or any other organisation is committing maladministration.

Because cases depend on knowing what the organisation has supposed to have administered before any maladministration has taken place.

An example is of a PHSO caseworker deciding that over 100 medical records were not worthy of being passed to a medical advisor, after an NHS death case.

How can anyone medically untrained make this sort of decision?

It took a coroner's court to get some sense on these records:

http://www.barkinganddagenhampost.co.uk/...

J Roberts left an annotation ()

If the PHSO wished to reject a complaint I think having a temporary caseworker do it would have some advantages. The caseworker is likely to be long gone by the time the matter is reviewed. Also, permanent staff might feel a bit better at not having to reject a worthy complaint. It would be interesting to know how the rejection rate of complaints by temporary and permanent staff compared over the same period.

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