No of investigations of complaints in which the complainant was represented by an advocacy organisation in 2016/17

The request was partially successful.

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

Please provide the total number of investigations completed in 2016/17 in which advocacy organisations represented the complainant, the number of investigations completed broken down by each separate advocacy organisation, and the total number of investigations completed without the involvement of advocacy organisations.

Yours faithfully,

Nicholas Wheatley

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


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InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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Dear Mr Wheatley,

 

RE: Your information request reference FDN-274775

 

Thank you for your email received by the Parliamentary Health Service
Ombudsman (PHSO), on the 3 September 2017. You asked for the following
information:

 

Please provide the total number of investigations completed in 2016/17 in
which advocacy organisations represented the complainant, the number of
investigations completed broken down by each separate advocacy
organisation,  and the total number of investigations completed without
the involvement of advocacy organisations.

 

Response

 

We have considered your request under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

 

Please find below a table listing the total number of investigations
completed in 2016-2017. Please note that we cannot guarantee that the
organisation is not listed twice in our findings. This is because if on
one case the named person providing advocacy support has been listed and
the other was just the name of organisation there is no way of combining
these together when checking each case.

 

 

Partly Not
  Upheld upheld upheld Resolved Discontinued Total
Concluded investigations 277 1254 2184 125 399 4239
Concluded investigations
not referred/supported by
a professional
representative 233 1074 1789 96 329 3521
Concluded investigations
referred/supported by a
professional
representative 44 180 395 29 70 718

 

 

I hope the information I have provided is useful. If you believe I have
made an error in the way I have processed your request, it is open for you
to request an internal review. You can do this by writing to us by email
to [1][Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman request email]. You will need to specify what
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 (ICO) ([2]www.ico.org.uk). Please note that for the Subject Access
Requests you would have to go directly to the ICO for internal review.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

E: [3][Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman request email]

W: [4]www.ombudsman.org.uk

[5]PHSO logo

 

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References

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Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Information Rights,

Thank you for the information provided. However my request was for the number of investigations in which advocacy groups actively represented (supported) the complainant (not referred the complainant), broken down by advocacy group. Would you kindly provide this information.

Yours sincerely,

Nicholas Wheatley

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


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Dear Mr Wheatley,

 

RE: Your information request FDN-274808

 

Thank you for your follow-up email response from your original request
(FDN-274776) to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO),
received on the 25 September 2017. You asked for the following
information:

 

The number of investigations in which advocacy groups actively represented
(supported) the complainant (not referred the complainant), broken down by
advocacy group.

 

Response

 

We have considered your request in line with the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 (FOIA).

 

We consider that complying with your request will exceed the FOIA
appropriate limit and so we are refusing your request in line with section
12(1) of FOIA. The appropriate limit for the cost of complying with a
Freedom of Information request is set out at section 3 of the Freedom of
Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations
2004, and for the PHSO the amount is £450 (18 hours x £25). 

 

In order to provide the requested information, we will have to carry out a
manual search which we estimate will take us over of 2.5 working days.  
This is because we do not keep a record of the number of investigations in
which an advocacy group represented a complaint. This would mean manually
looking into 718 individual case files in order to identify this
information.

 

Please be advised that under [1]section 1 of the FOIA, there is no
obligation to create information in response to a request.

 

I am sorry that I could not be of any further help. If you believe I have
made an error in the way I have processed your information request, please
contact the Freedom of Information and Data Protection Team. You can do
this by writing to us by post or by email to
[2][Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman request email]. You will need to specify what the
nature of the issue is and we can consider the matter further. Furthermore
you are entitled to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s
Office ([3]www.ico.org.uk).

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

E: [4][Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman request email]

W: [5]www.ombudsman.org.uk

[6]PHSO logo

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References

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J Roberts left an annotation ()

No estimate of the time required to look in an individual case file has been provided. Such an estimate would assist in narrowing the time period for which information could be sought.

Nicholas Wheatley

Dear InformationRights,

In that case would you please provide the number of investigations in which advocacy groups actively represented (supported) the complainant (not referred the complainant), WITHOUT THE BREAKDOWN BY ADVOCACY GROUP.

If this would still take too long then please provide the number of FULLY UPHELD investigations in which advocacy groups actively represented (supported) the complainant (not referred the complainant). This would involve 44 case files.

Yours sincerely,

Nicholas Wheatley

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


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Dear Mr Wheatley,

 

RE: Your information request FDN-274875

 

Thank you for your follow-up email of 26 October 2017 to the Parliamentary
and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) narrowing down your initial request
from your case reference FDN-274808.

 

Your current request (FDN-274875) is for the following information:

 

“In that case would you please provide the number of investigations in
which advocacy groups actively represented (supported) the complainant
(not referred the complainant), WITHOUT THE BREAKDOWN BY ADVOCACY GROUP.

 

If this would still take too long then please provide the number of FULLY
UPHELD investigations in which advocacy groups actively represented
(supported) the complainant (not referred the complainant). This would
involve 44 case files.”

 

Response

 

We have considered your request under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

 

We consider that the information relating to your first question is exempt
under section 12(1) of the FOIA, as this will exceed the FOIA appropriate
limit. We do not hold a record of the level of involvement in which an
advocacy group has represented (supported) the complainant.  In order to
provide the requested information, we will have to carry out a manual
search which we estimate will take us over 2.5 working days.  Please note
that there is no obligation under section1 of the FOIA to create
information in response to a request.

 

In response to your second question, this information was provided to you
on the 29 September 2017. Please be advised that the term ‘upheld’ and
‘fully upheld’ are the same for our investigations and we only record
these as ‘upheld’. The number of fully upheld investigations in which an
advocacy group actively represented (supported) the complaint was 44
cases.

 

I hope my email is useful.  This now concludes your request. 

 

If you believe I 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 email to
[1][Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman request email]. You will need to specify what 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

E: [3][Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman request email]

W: [4]www.ombudsman.org.uk

[5]PHSO logo

 

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References

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Dear InformationRights,

In your reply of 25 September you stated that 44 fully upheld complaints were referred / supported by professionals or advocacy groups. I am seeking the number of fully upheld complaints in which an advocacy group supported a complaint i.e. did more than just refer a complaint. Your reply of 25 September suggests that the 44 fully upheld complaints included both referred and supported complaints. My request is for only the supported complaints. This would involve looking at 44 complaint files and checking whether the advocacy group did more than just refer the complaint to the PHSO.

Since you have stated that this request is concluded and since this request has dragged on for a long time, I would be grateful if you would reply within one week to let me know if you can provide this information. After a week I will request an internal review, since you haven't explained whether you can provide the requested information or not.

Yours sincerely,

Nicholas Wheatley

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


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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 'No of investigations of complaints in which the complainant was represented by an advocacy organisation in 2016/17'.

In answer to my original FOI request of 3 September 2017 you stated that 44 fully upheld complaints had been referred / supported by a professional representative. In seeking clarification on 26 October I pointed out my original request was only for complaints that were supported (represented) by an advocacy group and not those where an advocacy group merely referred the complaint. In your reply of 23 November you stated that the 44 fully upheld complaints were actually all supported by advocacy groups (presumably none were merely referred and no other professional representatives were involved) and closed the request.

You have not made clear why you originally claimed the 44 complaints were either referred or supported by a professional representative and then changed your statement later to claim that they were in fact all supported by advocacy groups and none were referred or supported by other professional representatives. A referred complaint is one in which the advocacy group has no further involvement after the referral. Professional representatives may include other groups such as solicitors as well as advocacy groups.

I would like to request clarification. Does referred / supported in your first reply just mean supported, as you claim in your later reply? Do the professional representatives mentioned in your first reply only consist of advocacy groups as claimed in your later reply? If not then please let me know how many of the 44 fully upheld complaints referred / supported by professional representatives are in fact fully supported by advocacy groups and not merely referred or else supported by other professional representatives.

I should point out that this is not vexatious but a matter of public interest as advocacy groups are mainly funded by the taxpayer through public bodies.

It is unfortunate that this could not be cleared up in the original FOI request rather than closing the request peremptorily.

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

Yours faithfully,

Nicholas Wheatley

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


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Dear Mr Wheatley,

 

Re: Internal Review of your Freedom of Information Request (our ref:
274875)

 

I have considered your previous correspondence including your request for
a review dated 18^th December 2017:

 

Review request:

 

I am writing to request an internal review of Parliamentary and Health
Service Ombudsman's handling of my FOI request 'No of investigations of
complaints in which the complainant was represented by an advocacy
organisation in 2016/17'.

 

In answer to my original FOI request of 3 September 2017 you stated that
44 fully upheld complaints had been referred / supported by a professional
representative. In seeking clarification on 26 October I pointed out my
original request was only for complaints that were supported (represented)
by an advocacy group and not those where an advocacy group merely referred
the complaint. In your reply of 23 November you stated that the 44 fully
upheld complaints were actually all supported by advocacy groups
(presumably none were merely referred and no other professional
representatives were involved) and closed the request.

 

You have not made clear why you originally claimed the 44 complaints were
either referred or supported by a professional representative and then
changed your statement later to claim that they were in fact all supported
by advocacy groups and none were referred or supported by other
professional representatives. A referred complaint is one in which the
advocacy group has no further involvement after the referral. Professional
representatives may include other groups such as solicitors as well as
advocacy groups.

 

I would like to request clarification. Does referred / supported in your
first reply just mean supported, as you claim in your later reply? Do the
professional representatives mentioned in your first reply only consist of
advocacy groups as claimed in your later reply? If not then please let me
know how many of the 44 fully upheld complaints referred / supported by
professional representatives are in fact fully supported by advocacy
groups and not merely referred or else supported by other professional
representatives.

 

Internal Review response

 

Timeliness of response:

 

The response your request was on the 23^rd November and within the 20
working days stipulated by section 10(1) Freedom of Information Act.

 

 

Information Provided

 

I’ve reconsidered your request and I am satisfied that we responded
appropriately.

 

The electronic system used to record cases does not differentiate between
whether an advocacy group or professional representative supported or
represented an individual. They are all recorded under the same category
of ‘pro rep’. The electronic system does not record if an individual was
referred by an organisation or supported by one.

 

The only way to confirm if an individual was referred or supported would
entail a trawl of each of the 44 files to find out how much involvement an
organisation had. Some cases have hundreds of separate recordings and it
would entail a search of each recording to determine the level of support
an individual received.

 

Conclusion

 

For the reasons set out above, I maintain the use of section 12(1) of the
Freedom of Information Act, as to provide the information requested would
exceed the Freedom of Information Act appropriate limit.

 

If you remain dissatisfied with our handling of your request, it is open
to you to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office
([1]www.ico.org.uk).

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Andrew Martin

Freedom Of Information/Data Protection Manager

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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

 

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