Ombudsman legal remit

phsothefacts Pressure Group made this Freedom of Information request to Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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phsothefacts Pressure Group

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

In October we were informed by Mr Behrens, Ombudsman that 70% of the enquiries to PHSO were from people who had not completed their complaint with the body in jurisdiction. He went on to say that legislation prevents PHSO from becoming involved in these cases.

On 30 November it was reported that the Ombudsman is to intervene in cases concerning WASPI complaints to the DWP and ICE.

Following complaints of significant delays to the process and a series of rejected requests by WASPI’s legal team for the DWP’s Independent Case Examiner (Ice) team to adopt a more streamlined approach, the Obmudsman has agreed directly with Ice that it will streamline the process by investigating a representative sample of complaints and considering how any such maladministration should be addressed.

In response to the announcement, WASPI legal director, Susan Beevers said: “We welcome the intervention of the Ombudsman, which could reduce the length of the maladministration case by around one year.

https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/12...

These complainants have not completed their complaint with the body in jurisdiction and with the support of a legal team have an alternative legal remedy (which would also prevent PHSO from investigating).

1. Can you send me the legislation which prevents the Ombudsman from becoming involved with cases which have not completed their complaint with the body in jurisdiction?

2. Can you send me the legislation which prevents the Ombudsman from becoming involved with cases where there is an alternative legal remedy?

3. Can you send me the legislation which allows the Ombudsman to breach the above legislation?

Yours faithfully,

Della Reynolds

phsothefacts Pressure Group

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


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InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

3 Attachments

Dear Ms Reynolds

 

Your request for information

PHSO reference FDN-274947

 

Thank you for your email of 14 December 2017 in which you requested
information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

Response

 

1. Can you send me the legislation which prevents the Ombudsman from
becoming involved with cases which have not completed their complaint with
the body in jurisdiction?

 

Under section 21(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the PHSO is not
required to provide a copy of information that is already reasonably
accessible as it is in the public domain.

 

The relevant legislation for complaints about the health service in
England is section 4(5) of the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993:

 

[1]https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/199...

 

2. Can you send me the legislation which prevents the Ombudsman from
becoming involved with cases where there is an alternative legal remedy?

 

Under section 21(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the PHSO is not
required to provide a copy of information that is already reasonably
accessible as it is in the public domain.

 

The relevant legislation for complaints about UK government departments is
section 5(2) of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967:

 

[2]https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/196...

 

The relevant legislation for complaints about the health service in
England is section 4(1) of the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993:

 

[3]https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/199...

 

3. Can you send me the legislation which allows the Ombudsman to breach
the above legislation?

 

No such legislation exists.

 

Right of appeal

 

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact the Freedom of
Information Team. Please remember to quote the reference number above in
any future communications. If you are unhappy with the service you have
received in relation to your request or wish to request an internal
review, please respond to this email and explain why you are dissatisfied.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your internal review, you may
apply directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office for a decision.
Generally, the Commissioner will not make a decision unless you have
exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the PHSO. The Information
Commissioner’s Office can be contacted at:

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

[4]https://ico.org.uk/

 

Regards,

 

 

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

E: [5][email address]

W: [6]www.ombudsman.org.uk

Follow us on

 

[7]fb  [8]twitter  [9]linkedin

 

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References

Visible links
1. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/199...
2. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/196...
3. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/199...
4. https://ico.org.uk/
5. mailto:[email address]
6. http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
7. http://www.facebook.com/phsombudsman
8. http://www.twitter.com/PHSOmbudsman
9. http://www.linkedin.com/company/parliame...

phsothefacts Pressure Group

Dear InformationRights,

thank you for your speedy reply. I see from the attached links that the 'loophole' is neatly built into the original legislation. This is the quote which states that PHSO must wait until the first stage complaint is complete.

(5)In such a case a Commissioner shall not conduct an investigation in respect of the action unless he is satisfied that—
(a)the other procedure has been invoked and exhausted, or
(b)in the particular circumstances it is not reasonable to expect that procedure to be invoked or (as the case may be) exhausted.

It will be for PHSO to decide what is 'reasonable' and is happy to send desperate back to the body complained about stating that legislation prevents them from getting involved. However, when the government is under the cosh as is the case with the 4,000 Waspi complaints the Ombudsman can decide it is not reasonable for these complaints to exhaust the system.

Here the legislation on legal remedy.

(2)Except as hereinafter provided, the Commissioner shall not conduct an investigation under this Act in respect of any of the following matters, that is to say—
(a)any action in respect of which the person aggrieved has or had a right of appeal, reference or review to or before a tribunal constituted by or under any enactment or by virtue of Her Majesty’s prerogative;
(b)any action in respect of which the person aggrieved has or had a remedy by way of proceedings in any court of law:
Provided that the Commissioner may conduct an investigation notwithstanding that the person aggrieved has or had such a right or remedy if satisfied that in the particular circumstances it is not reasonable to expect him to resort or have resorted to it.

Equally, here the Ombudsman can be 'satisfied' that it is not reasonable to expect 'him' to resort to legal action and step in despite the fact that there is alternative legal remedy. This could be useful where alternative legal remedy would bring issues into the public domain. Interestingly, if the Ombudsman fails to provide an adequate service for these individuals who are not able to resort to legal action they then tell them to take PHSO to judicial review knowing they can't.

How carefully the legislation is worded in order to protect the state from the public. Waspi women beware!

Yours sincerely,
Della Reynolds
phsothefacts Pressure Group

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


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Brenda Prentice left an annotation ()

And we are asked to trust them......? They are too clever by far and will avoid justice to plebes like us at all costs.

Trust them...? Why should we?