Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

1. Please provide details of the number of open complaints you have about yourselves as of today. Specify the numbers for:

i. service;
ii. decision; and
iii. service and decision.

2. Please provide details of the length of time these complaints have been open:

5 working days or less from today;
6-10 working days from today;
11-15 working days from today;
16-20 working days from today;
21-25 working days from today;
26-30 working days from today;
31-40 working days from today;
41-50 working days from today;
50-60 working days from today;
61-80 working days from today;
81-100 working days from today;
101-150 working days from today;
151-200 working days from today;
201-250 working days from today;
251-300 working days from today;
301-350 working days from today; and
351 or more working days from today.

I would be content with "today" being taken as 1 April 2016 or any day in the first week of April if this would be more convenient, whilst allowing for a reply within the statutory time scale.

3. Please provide details of the number of open complaints (decisions) you have about yourselves as of today that have been passed to the Corporate Casework Team for a review.

4. Please specify the length of time these complaints about yourselves have been open with the Corporate Casework Team:

5 working days or less from today;
6-10 working days from today;
11-15 working days from today;
16-20 working days from today;
21-25 working days from today;
26-30 working days from today;
31-40 working days from today;
41-50 working days from today;
50-60 working days from today;
61-80 working days from today;
81-100 working days from today;
101-150 working days from today;
151-200 working days from today;
201-250 working days from today;
251-300 working days from today;
301-350 working days from today; and
351 or more working days from today.

I would be content with "today" being taken as 1 April 2016 or any day in the first week of April if this would be more convenient, whilst allowing for a reply within the statutory time scale.

Yours faithfully,

J Roberts

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.

foiofficer, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear J Roberts

 

Your information request (FDN-253184)

 

I am writing in response to ten separate information requests which you
sent through to us between 1 and 26 April 2016.  Nine of these requests
asked for statistical information relating to PHSO casework and
complaints, while a further one asked for details of feedback provided on
PHSO’s service. 

 

These requests are:

 

o made by one person;
o for similar information; and
o received within a period of 60 working days.

 

As such, we are able to aggregate your requests for the purposes of [1]The
Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees)
Regulations 2004.  As you may be aware, section 12 of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA) is an exemption which allows public
authorities to refuse requests where it is too costly to comply with
requests.  For PHSO, this limit is set at 18 hours or £450.  You can read
Information Commissioner Office (ICO) guidance on this exemption online
here:
[2]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

 

I can confirm that we do hold information relevant to your request but we
have estimated that it would take over 35 hours to extract it for you.  As
such, it is exempt in line with section 12 FOIA and we are not obliged to
comply with your requests.

 

We would be happy to consider a revised request from you with which we
could comply within the appropriate limit.  Before you submit a new
request to us, we would recommend reviewing the ICO guidance on how to
best frame a request so that a public authority is able to comply with it,
available online at:
[3]https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

I hope that this information is helpful.  If you are unhappy with my
handling of your information request, it is open to you to request an
internal review.  Beyond that, you can complain to the ICO
([4]www.ico.org.uk).

 

Yours sincerely

 

Aimee Gasston

Freedom of Information / Data Protection Team

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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

 

Please email the FOI/DP team at: [6][email address]

 

From: J Roberts [mailto:[FOI #325755 email]]
Sent: 01 April 2016 12:00
To: foiofficer
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Number of open complaints about
yourselves

 

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

1.  Please provide details of the number of open complaints you have about
yourselves as of today.  Specify the numbers for:

i.   service;
ii.  decision; and
iii.   service and decision.

2.  Please provide details of the length of time these complaints have
been open:

5 working days or less from today;
6-10 working days from today;
11-15 working days from today;
16-20 working days from today;
21-25 working days from today;
26-30 working days from today;
31-40 working days from today;
41-50 working days from today;
50-60 working days from today;
61-80 working days from today;
81-100 working days from today;
101-150 working days from today;
151-200 working days from today;
201-250 working days from today;
251-300 working days from today;
301-350 working days from today; and
351 or more working days from today.

I would be content with "today" being taken as 1 April 2016 or any day in
the first week of April if this would be more convenient, whilst allowing
for a reply within the statutory time scale.

3.  Please provide details of the number of open complaints (decisions)
you have about yourselves as of today that have been passed to the
Corporate Casework Team for a review.

4.  Please specify the length of time these complaints about yourselves
have been open with the Corporate Casework Team:

5 working days or less from today;
6-10 working days from today;
11-15 working days from today;
16-20 working days from today;
21-25 working days from today;
26-30 working days from today;
31-40 working days from today;
41-50 working days from today;
50-60 working days from today;
61-80 working days from today;
81-100 working days from today;
101-150 working days from today;
151-200 working days from today;
201-250 working days from today;
251-300 working days from today;
301-350 working days from today; and
351 or more working days from today.

I would be content with "today" being taken as 1 April 2016 or any day in
the first week of April if this would be more convenient, whilst allowing
for a reply within the statutory time scale.

Yours faithfully,

J Roberts

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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 'Number of open complaints about yourselves'.

I do not believe that all of my requests constitute a linked series; you are therefore wrong to aggregate them for cost purposes.

The important statistical information I have requested covers a variety of distinct aspects of PHSO work. In fact, much of the information to which you refer is information you have previously provided to me, but for earlier periods.

Anyone reading this request for an internal review may wonder why you have decided not to provide information you once did, and possibly suspect you have something to hide. They may, of their own volition, seek to obtain the important statistical information you are now refusing to provide.

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,

J Roberts

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.

J Roberts left an annotation ()

Information previously released by the PHSO:

Number of open complaints about PHSO at 29 November 2014

Service 12
Decision 49
Decision/Service 4
Total 65

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

Number of open complaints about PHSO at 1 December 2015

Service 52
Decision 408
Decision / Service 8
Total 468

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

Number of open complaints about PHSO at 19 June 2015

Service 43
Decision 541
Decision/Service 12
Total 596

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

Number of open decision reviews passed to Corporate Casework Team at 16 January 2016:

49

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

phsothefacts Pressure Group left an annotation ()

J. Roberts, some interesting information here. It is clear that the number of decision complaints is rising steeply. Do you know why some of the cases are referred onto the Corporate Casework Team? What is different about these cases which require this type of intervention?

J Roberts left an annotation ()

PHSOthefacts wrote:

"Do you know why some of the cases are referred onto the Corporate Casework Team? What is different about these cases which require this type of intervention?"

If I write anything below that is not clear or correct, I would appreciate a clarification or correction from anyone.

When someone complains about a PHSO decision they are treated as requesting a review of the decision. All reviews are carried out by the Corporate Casework Team, but the request for a review is sent to, and first considered by, the Customer Care Team. If someone from the Customer Care Team thinks that the decision should be reviewed (a tiny proportion of all requests received), then the following procedure is followed:

"24. The review request form should be completed and submitted to the Customer Care Manager, who will decide whether to pass this to OCWT* for a review.

"26. OCWT will then decide whether to review the case. If they do not feel a review is needed then they will explain why and the Customer Care Team will explain this to the service user. If they decide to carry out a review, the case will remain with OCWT who will complete the review and inform the service user of the outcome."

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

Note: the review request form referred to above (24) is only completed in cases where someone from the Customer Care Team thinks the decision should be reviewed. The overwhelming majority of decision complaints (requests for review) are not considered worthy of review, so therefore no review request form is ever completed in these cases.

Some information disclosed by the PHSO is revealing:

Number of open decision reviews passed to Corporate Casework Team at 16 January 2016:

49

Number of open decision complaints about PHSO at 1 December 2015:

408

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

Of course, it must also be borne in mind that a proportion of the small number of cases passed to the Corporate Casework Team for review (49) will not get reviewed (see point 26 above).

* OCWT – name changed to Corporate Casework Team (CCT)

In short, I suspect the difference must be that in cases passed to the Customer Care Manager (24 above), the failings of the PHSO must be considered clear and unambiguous by members of the Customer Care Team. I have concerns, nonetheless, that many complaints are rejected so early in the process.

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

As for my complaint about a PHSO employee, I've just had a letter from Rachael Russell, Head of Intake and Customer Care( .....so confusing all these customer care posts).

Unfortunately she made two mistakes in my name - so not exactly off to a professional letter start.

(.... 'Customers' not even being worth the while for PHSO employees to take enough customer care to find out their names.)

:::

As for the other contents if the letter, apparently the PHSO is 'happy' - yes 'happy' - to ignore Tribunal public criticisms about the substandard performance of two PHSO employees.

http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...

:::

PHSO deputy ombudsman Mick Martin promised me a fair investigation of my post-Tribunal verdict - upheld in my favour. That was before the result. After the result - a complete volt-face.

As my complaint was still being considered ( although it's hard to tell with the PHSO) Mick Martin has had to resign after a critical comment made about him at a Tribunal :

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

The irony ......Just my luck that an PHSO employee with a tribunal criticism levelled against him - was ultimately responsible for determining my tribunal criticism complaint.

:::

It would therefore seem that the PHSO judges that only Tribunal criticisms which can be admitted to apply to PHSO employees (after seven months and exposed by the Health Service Journal ) and which it must take account - must be printed in the HSJ, or the press first.

Otherwise they don't count.

J Roberts left an annotation ()

JT Oakley wrote:

"It would therefore seem that the PHSO judges that only Tribunal criticisms which can be admitted to apply to PHSO employees (after seven months and exposed by the Health Service Journal ) and which it must take account - must be printed in the HSJ, or the press first.

"Otherwise they don't count."

This may be because of the policy concerning "risk to our reputation" which may give rise to "[a]dverse publicity, media interest". In such circumstances the PHSO employee is required to "[n]otify Communications Team and Ombudsman’s Casework Manager so that they are aware of potential external interest in the case. (Such a notification does not mitigate the risk and other specific mitigation actions should be agreed.)"

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

If the PHSO mishandles a case the media is a valuable tool in helping to put things right.

phsothefacts Pressure Group left an annotation ()

Ok, I get it now. The customer care team act as a filter and take out the majority of complaints about PHSO before they ever get to full review. This is the same procedure that the review team used before, denying the validity of complaints from the outset and therefore not recording them as complaints at all.

So all the complaints are now recorded by the customer care team but the vast majority are simply closed at this point without full investigation. Those which go on to CCT are then reviewed and only a fraction are upheld. Learning from their own mistakes is not a skill of PHSO as they recognise so few mistakes in the first place.

So are people informed of whether their complaint has been fully reviewed or simply closed down?

J Roberts left an annotation ()

Another thought on the large number of complaints people make about PHSO decisions. It has been disclosed that:

"Overall in 2013-14 (to date) 81 % of complaints accepted for review have been about decisions not to investigate..."

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

The figure of 81% is striking.

I have read of a case where a complainant submitted a complaint form containing about ten specific complaints. The PHSO did not uphold the complaint. The letter of rejection, however, referred to only one of the complaints made by the complainant. Obviously the information on the complaint form was not properly considered. The complainant then requested a review of the decision on the basis that most of his complaints were not even referred to in his letter of rejection.

The problem here for a complainant is clear – the request for a review has effectively become the stage at which his complaint is considered. The detailed rejection the complainant receives at this stage is the one he should have received in the first instance. The complainant, then, has been deprived of the opportunity to challenge the detailed response from the PHSO.

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Yes.

It is only when a successful complaint case is in the media that anyone really takes any notice.

Otherwise, it's just filed away.
That's why I gave TV and national press interviews...plus Private Eye etc.
....So that the negligence was impossible to deny at a later date, and hopefully it would safeguard other patients.

( Nb Journalists mostly HATE having their own family in the news - and that included me).

:::

I was wrong to have bothered to complain. It took three years and, according to more recent inside information, the same staff carried on much as before.

In fact, if any negligent 'get away with it'..supported by management - why shouldn't they?

::::
So if you Google ombudsman cases, you will find that they are mainly press accounts, after upheld decisions.

Some are where subsequent bodies have upheld the cases, AFTER the PHSO has turned them down.

Notably my Mid-Staffs and Morecambe Bay.

:::

The rest of the decisions seem to evaporate. And as I've found out,.are hardly worth fighting for because unless the Public Authority really plays ball and puts things right....instead of just SAYING things will be put right, then everything carries on much as before.

::::

Don't believe me?

Here's James Titcombe still trying to put things right seven years after his son Joshua died.

http://www.nursingtimes.net/news/profess...

J Roberts left an annotation ()

phsothefacts wrote:

"The customer care team act as a filter and take out the majority of complaints about PHSO before they ever get to full review."

Yes. And its a fine filter, too. The ones that pass through are likely to have the potential to damage the reputation of the PHSO. In other words, the evidence supporting them must be overwhelming: Miss Scarlett, Mrs White, Colonel Mustard, Reverend Green, Professor Plum, Mrs Peacock and the Queen all saw the butler do it in the dining room with the candleabra. The Queen also presented video footage!

JT Oakley wrote:

"Don't believe me?

"Here's James Titcombe still trying to put things right seven years after his son Joshua died.

http://www.nursingtimes.net/news/profess... "

The lack of meaningful accountability is very depressing. Thank you for the link.

Lant Mark, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

1 Attachment

Dear J Roberts,

Please find enclosed a response to your request for a review on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Lant / Assistant Legal Adviser
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London SW1P 4QP
E: [email address]
www.ombudsman.org.uk

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D. Speers left an annotation ()

Maybe actions of PHSO CCT team is reason I haven't heard from anyone yet ......not even Rob Brehens.
I have been waiting for an acknowledgement to info sent in for over 6 months now.
Ironic name CCT= Customer Care Team

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