PHSO communication with bodies complained about

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Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

Please provide the Protocol or Standard Operating Procedures governing PHSO's communication with trusts/bodies during the complaints process particularly in relation to the outcome of the complaint.

For example is the PHSO decision following a 'closer look' or 'investigation' shared with complainant and body at the same time or is there a gap to allow the complainant to challenge the PHSO's decision?

If the PHSO decision is subject to an Internal Review or Judicial Review are trusts/bodies informed of this and the reasons for it?

Thank you

Yours sincerely

Ms Kemp

foiofficer, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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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
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foiofficer, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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Dear Ms Kemp

Further to your email of 31 July 2013, I am writing with my response to your information request. I will respond to each of your questions in turn.

'Please provide the Protocol or Standard Operating Procedures governing PHSO's communication with trusts/bodies during the complaints process particularly in relation to the outcome of the complaint. For example is the PHSO decision following a 'closer look' or 'investigation' shared with complainant and body at the same time or is there a gap to allow the complainant to challenge the PHSO's decision?'

Please find attached a copy of the Casework Policy and Guidance that is currently in use by our caseworkers. Please note that this guidance is interim as we move to new ways of working (as detailed in our new strategy, More Impact for More People, available online at: www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/more-impac....

Within this guidance, the following parts relate to communicating decisions about whether or not we will investigate a complaint:

• section 2 (page 10 onwards);
• section 3 (page 9 onwards); and
• section 4 (page 10 onwards).

In addition, section 5 (page 3 onwards) is about how and when to contact complainants and organisations complained about during the course of an investigation; section 6 (page 2 onwards) provides information on sharing draft reports and section 7 (page 3 onwards) and section 7 (page three onwards) details guidance on issuing reports.

As you will see from the guidance, all investigation reports are shared with both the complainant and the organisation complained about so that both parties can give their views on its findings.
The legislation that underpins our work and this guidance is the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993 (for complaints about NHS organisations) and the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 (for complaints about government organisations). This legislation is available online at: www.legislation.gov.uk

'If the PHSO decision is subject to an Internal Review or Judicial Review are trusts/bodies informed of this and the reasons for it?'

There is no fixed protocol for informing organisations about internal or judicial reviews of decisions relating to complaints made about them. We would only involve an organisation complained about in a review situation if there was a need to do so.

I hope that this information is helpful.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Officer
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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Dear foiofficer,

Thank you for the in formation. However this does not explain the procedures for cases worked prior to April 2013.

Please provide the previous policy or equivalent guidelines which governed the PHSO's communication with bodies complained about prior to April 2013.

For ongoing cases which were submitted or work begun on them prior to April 2013 is the old or new policy being applied?

Also please clarify under what circumstances would you expect the PHSO to inform the body complained about that the complainant is seeking a Review or Judicial Review of the PHSO's decision?

Presumably the PHSO don't tell the bodies the reasons for this if it is due to mistakes and failures of PHSO staff?

Yours sincerely,

Ms Kemp

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

Brenda Prentice left an annotation ()

It is dishonest for the PHOS to suggest a Judicial Review about themselves as JR’s never win.

foiofficer, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

1 Attachment

26 September 2013

Dear Ms Kemp

Your information request (FDN-171791)

Further to your email of 29 August 2013, I am writing in response to your information request.

In your email, you asked what policy governed PHSO’s communication with bodies prior to April 2013. Please find attached the casework policy and guidance that applied prior to April 2013, and was used by caseworkers before the interim policy and guidance was introduced. I have enclosed those parts that are relevant to communication with other organisations, which I hope is useful.

Please note that this guidance is not intended to, and cannot, prescribe the actions or process to be followed in all areas of casework. Many areas of PHSO casework involve the use of discretion and judgment depending on the circumstances of individual cases. In addition, the wide scope of PHSO’s jurisdiction means that this guidance cannot hope to cover all eventualities. Throughout this period, PHSO’s communication with bodies was ultimately governed by legislation – either the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993 or the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967. This legislation is available online at: www.legislation.gov.uk

You have also asked under what circumstances we would contact a body complained about in relation to an internal or judicial review of a decision we had made. As is stated in the guidance, we will contact a body complained about during a review if we feel it is necessary to make further enquiries of them. If a body has been involved during the course of a review, they will also be informed of its outcome. We would also inform a body which had not been involved as part of the review process if the outcome of that review resulted in a reopening of an investigation of a complaint about them. In the case of judicial review, we would contact a body if they were listed as a party or if it was appropriate to do so for another reason.

I hope that this information is helpful.

Yours sincerely

Aimee Gasston
Freedom of Information/Data Protection Officer

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

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Ms Kemp left an annotation ()

'Please note that this guidance is not intended to, and cannot, prescribe the actions or process to be followed in all areas of casework. Many areas of PHSO casework involve the use of discretion and judgment depending on the circumstances of individual cases. In addition, the wide scope of PHSO’s jurisdiction means that this guidance cannot hope to cover all eventualities'

In other words case workers and reviewers get away with doing what they like with our complaints, including screwing them up, because in their own judgement what they've done is fair and correct!

PHSO - a sink hole for public funds where incompetence flourishes and deceit and denial rule!

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