Number of caseworkers employed by the PHSO and length of time taken to respond to complaints

The request was partially successful.

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

Could you tell me:
1) How many 'Intake' caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with 'parliamentary' cases?
2) How many caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with 'parliamentary' cases
3) How many senior caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with 'parliamentary' cases?
4) How many 'intake' caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with 'NHS' cases?
5) How many caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with 'NHS' cases?
6) How many senior caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with 'NHS' cases?

In the last 3 years, how many case investigations - from the time a caseworker has been assigned to a case till the caseworker's sends their report and decision -- have been completed in a period of 7 weeks or less?

How many of the activities/ areas of responsibility of the PHSO are handled by outsourcing organisations, and what are those activities and what is the name of the outsourcing company?

Yours faithfully,

Dudley Jones

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 aim to 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 we aim to respond 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.

Please note that we are currently experiencing a high demand, and might
not be able to comply with the statutory deadline for your request. Any
late responses can be referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office:

https://ico.org.uk/

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:
https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/co...
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]

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

28/03/2022

Dear Dudley Jones,

PHSO Reference 00000206

Acknowledgement of your request for information

Thank you for your correspondence of 28 March 2022.

Your correspondence will be handled as a request under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. We aim to issue a full response by 27 April 2022.

If we require further information or cannot meet this deadline, we will
let you know.

You may find the information you are looking for on our website as part of
our  [1]Publication Scheme or [2]Casework.

To find out more about how we handle your personal data and information
requests, please see our [3]Privacy Policy.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

References

Visible links
1. https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/co...
2. https://decisions.ombudsman.org.uk/
3. https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/co...

M Boyce left an annotation ()

Hi Dudley

Thanks for your email. The information you have offered to share would no doubt be very interesting, but, and I hope you won't be offended, I am always wary about divulging my email to people I don't know.

I fully share your concerns.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear Dudley Jones,
Thank you for your request for information about :

Could you tell me: How many of the activities/ areas of responsibility of
the PHSO are handled by outsourcing organisations, and what are those
activities and what is the name of the outsourcing company?

which was received on 28/03/2022

The department reasonably requires further information in order to
identify and locate the information that you have asked for

We will not be able to take this part of the matter further without extra
information from you. In particular, it would be useful to know :

Could you please be more specific in relation to the type of activities
areas you are interested in which are outsourced. Are you interested in
anything which relates to case work or clinical advice or to do with
administrative and facilities functions such as payroll, or do you require
the detail of all services which are outsourced. 

In relation to the other questions raised in your request we aim to
provide a respond by 27 April 2022. 
 

If you believe we have made an error in the way we 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][PHSO 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

Angharad Jackson

Data Protection Officer

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

PHSO CityGate

47-51 Mosley Street

Manchester

M2 3HQ

E: [3][email address]

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

For information rights enquiries, please contact
[5][PHSO request email]

Want to know more about your information rights? Read our [6]privacy
notice

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[PHSO request email]
2. http://www.ico.org.uk/
3. mailto:[email address]
4. http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
5. mailto:[PHSO request email]
6. https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/co...

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

Simple solution: delete the outsourcing request (for the time being)

Yours faithfully,

Dudley Jones

J Roberts left an annotation ()

Operation Managers now manage caseworkers:

'Manage a team of 6-8 caseworkers and undertake an array of activities to improve staff performance through coaching and development

•    Ensuring that all casework is delivered in line with agreed targets and the PHSO quality framework
•    Embedding operational change and collaborative working to consistently strive for quality improvements
•    Accountable for escalated cases and negotiating where necessary with organisations to achieve fair and equitable outcomes for complainants
•    Make low and medium risk decisions at any point in PHSO's process, delegated by the Ombudsman through the delegation scheme in line with the PHSO quality framework
•    Ensuring non-autonomous and autonomous caseworkers are supported appropriately, in line with delegation scheme policies and audit requirements
•    Identify evidence-based themes and emerging issues in casework and escalate using appropriate channels '

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

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

1 Attachment

Dear Dudley Jones

Thank you for your email of 28 March 2022 in which you requested
information from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. Your
request has been handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act
2000.

Your request for information:

“Could you tell me:

• How many 'Intake' caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing
with 'parliamentary' cases?

2) How many caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with
'parliamentary' cases

3) How many senior caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with
'parliamentary' cases?

4) How many 'intake' caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with
'NHS' cases?

5) How many caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with 'NHS'
cases?

6) How many senior caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with
'NHS' cases?

In the last 3 years, how many case investigations - from the time a
caseworker has been assigned to a case till the caseworker's sends their
report and decision -- have been completed in a period of 7 weeks or less?

How many of the activities/ areas of responsibility of the PHSO are
handled by outsourcing organisations, and what are those activities and
what is the name of the outsourcing company?”

Our response:

As of 30 March 2022, there were 36 intake caseworkers, 198 caseworkers and
64 Senior caseworkers employed by Parliamentary and Health Service
Ombudsman.

We will deal with the rest of the points raised in turn.

1. All intake caseworkers deal with both health and parliamentary work.

2. All caseworkers are employed on job descriptions to work on all cases,
not specifically on health or parliamentary.

However, internally we have four teams who focus on parliamentary work,
although they may be required to also consider health cases due to
business demand. There are 29 caseworkers across the four teams.

3. Senior caseworkers are employed on job descriptions to work on cases,
not specifically on health and parliamentary. Parliamentary cases will
therefore be allocated to individuals as required.

4. As question 1.

5. Current caseworker numbers minus the four teams mentioned in Question
2, so in essence 198 – 29 = 169 but with caveat that our parliamentary
teams may still undertake some health work.

6. As question 3.

Please see the attached table in relation to the number of cases closed
within 7 weeks of being assigned to a caseworker at detailed
investigation.

After seeking clarification, you decided that you no longer wanted the
detail relating to the activities that are outsourced.

We hope that this information is useful.

If you believe we have made an error in the way we 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][PHSO 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

Angharad Jackson

Data Protection Officer

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

PHSO CityGate

47-51 Mosley Street

Manchester

M2 3HQ

E: [3][email address]

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

For information rights enquiries, please contact
[5][PHSO request email]

Want to know more about your information rights? Read our [6]privacy
notice

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[PHSO request email]
2. https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url...
3. mailto:[email address]
4. http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
5. mailto:[PHSO request email]
6. https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/co...

J Roberts left an annotation ()

'2) In 2014/15, the number of permanent staff who decided the outcome of a complaint was 285 and in 2015/16 this was 263.'

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/3...

From job ad for Facilities Manager with a closing date of 14/4/22:

'We employ approximately 600 staff across two sites in Manchester and London, and since the pandemic have adopted hybrid working, supporting our staff with a home office setup.'

https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/jo...

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 'Number of caseworkers employed by the PHSO and length of time taken to respond to complaints'.

The information you have provided here appears to suggest the PHSO employs about 300 staff but a job advert for a 'facilities manager' (the closing date for which is 14/4/22) says you employ 'approximately 600 staff'. Can you explain this discrepancy?

Assuming both your FOI information response AND your job advert are truthful, the only explanation would appear to be you have a top-heavy management tier, or that you employ as many admin support staff and managers as you do those working on cases involving actual complaints about 'parliamentary' figures like the Treasury Solicitor (I have recently complained about the Treasury Solicitor) or actual complaints about the NHS).

Yours faithfully,

Dudley Jones

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 aim to 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 we aim to respond 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.

Please note that we are currently experiencing a high demand, and might
not be able to comply with the statutory deadline for your request. Any
late responses can be referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office:

https://ico.org.uk/

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:
https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/co...
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]

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

09/05/2022

Dear Mr Jones

PHSO reference: HOTH 00000206
Internal review of your request for information

Thank you for your email of 9 April 2022. You requested an internal review
regarding our handling of your Freedom of Information (FOI) request made
on 28 March 2022 (clarified on 31 March 2022).

Your original FOI request:
Request received 28 March 2022:
“Could you tell me:

1) How many 'Intake' caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with
'parliamentary' cases?

2) How many caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with
'parliamentary' cases

3) How many senior caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with
'parliamentary' cases?

4) How many 'intake' caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with
'NHS' cases?

5) How many caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with 'NHS'
cases?

6) How many senior caseworkers are employed by the PHSO for dealing with
'NHS' cases?

In the last 3 years, how many case investigations - from the time a
caseworker has been assigned to a case till the caseworker's sends their
report and decision -- have been completed in a period of 7 weeks or less?

How many of the activities/ areas of responsibility of the PHSO are
handled by outsourcing organisations, and what are those activities and
what is the name of the outsourcing company?”

Further clarified on 31 March 2022 with the following:

“…Simple solution: delete the outsourcing request (for the time being)”

Response to your request:

“As of 30 March 2022, there were 36 intake caseworkers, 198 caseworkers
and 64 Senior caseworkers employed by Parliamentary and Health Service
Ombudsman.

We will deal with the rest of the points raised in turn.

1. All intake caseworkers deal with both health and parliamentary work.

2. All caseworkers are employed on job descriptions to work on all cases,
not specifically on health or parliamentary.

However, internally we have four teams who focus on parliamentary work,
although they may be required to also consider health cases due to
business demand. There are 29 caseworkers across the four teams.

3. Senior caseworkers are employed on job descriptions to work on cases,
not specifically on health and parliamentary. Parliamentary cases will
therefore be allocated to individuals as required.

4. As question 1.

5. Current caseworker numbers minus parliamentary figure mentioned in
Question 2, so in essence 198 – 29 = 169 but with caveat that our
parliamentary teams may still undertake some health work.

6. As question 3.

Please see the attached table in relation to the number of cases closed
within 7 weeks of being assigned to a caseworker at detailed
investigation.

After seeking clarification, you decided that you no longer wanted the
detail relating to the activities that are outsourced.”

Time for response:

We received your original FOI request on 28 March 2022. In accordance with
the FOI Act we would normally be expected to provide a response within 20
working days. We were legally obliged to respond by 27 April 2022. We
instead responded on 8 April 2022 and therefore complied with the Act.

Request for an internal review:

“I am writing to request an internal review of Parliamentary and Health
Service Ombudsman's handling of my FOI request 'Number of caseworkers
employed by the PHSO and length of time taken to respond to complaints'.

The information you have provided here appears to suggest the PHSO employs
about 300 staff but a job advert for a 'facilities manager' (the closing
date for which is 14/4/22) says you employ 'approximately 600 staff'. Can
you explain this discrepancy?

Assuming both your FOI information response AND your job advert are
truthful, the only explanation would appear to be you have a top-heavy
management tier, or that you employ as many admin support staff and
managers as you do those working on cases involving actual complaints
about 'parliamentary' figures like the Treasury Solicitor (I have recently
complained about the Treasury Solicitor) or actual complaints about the
NHS).”

Review of your request:

We note your review request incorrectly states that ‘PHSO employs about
300 staff’ and cite discrepancy with a job vacancy advertisement in which
we say we employ ‘approximately 600 staff’. You asked us to ‘explain this
discrepancy’.

The ‘about 300’ comes from the outcome of your FOI request in which we
informed you we employed 298 caseworkers. This figure was not an
indication of the total number of staff across the office in other roles.

We should explain PHSO’s workforce does not almost entirely consist of
caseworkers. The approximate figure given in the job vacancy advertisement
referred to the number of staff overall and not just those in casework
roles. Whilst consideration of complaints is our primary role, and
caseworkers make up a large proportion of our staff, there are numerous
other directorates, departments and teams outside our casework teams which
make up our workforce as a whole.

As such, we have not found any ‘discrepancy’ that requires further
investigation. We note you have not queried anything specific about the
information we provided or about the manner in which we responded.

In terms of how your request for information was handled, we made relevant
enquiries to different parts of our Operations Directorate and reported
the relevant figures to you as given by the relevant sources within the
Directorate. We therefore have no concerns about the accuracy of the
information that was disclosed to you.

As we have not seen any ‘discrepancy’ that requires further investigation,
and we have not seen any issue with how we handled your request, we do not
uphold your concerns and consider the matter closed.

Should you remain dissatisfied with our handling of your FOI request it is
open for you to escalate the matter to the Information Commissioner’s
Office ([1]www.ico.org.uk).

Yours sincerely

Mike Avery

Senior Information Rights Officer

Information Rights Team

References

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

J Roberts left an annotation ()

From a recently advertised post for a Facilities Manager with a closing date of 14 April 2022:

'We employ approximately 600 staff across two sites in Manchester and London, and since the pandemic have adopted hybrid working, supporting our staff with a home office setup.'

From your response:

'As of 30 March 2022, there were 36 intake caseworkers, 198 caseworkers and 64 Senior caseworkers employed by Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.'

600-298 = 302 (approximately 50% of staff doing other things)