micky mouse made this Freedom of Information request to Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

<extraneous personal information removed>

2) How many other persons who make, applications to the PHSO,
have had their COMPLETE PHSO application forms, sent to the other side / opponent, without the applicants strict authority.

3) Does the PHSO have a legal authority to disclose the COMPLETE, or even partial, original PHSO application to the opponent, without consent, or a court order.

<extraneous material removed>

Yours faithfully,
micky mouse

My full details are known at the PHSO, as they send copies of all items on this web site to various persons in the PHSO, to look at what you wrote., 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.

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foiofficer, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear Sir/Madam,

A request for information is not valid if it does not, in accordance with s.8 (1b) Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), state the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence. As your request uses a pseudonym instead of your actual name, it is not a valid request. Accordingly, we are not obliged to respond to it.

However, you have since contacted us privately making the same request, using a valid name, and providing an address for correspondence. We will respond to that request in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Rebyn Buleti

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 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

phsothefacts Pressure Group left an annotation ()

When PHSO carry out an investigation it is 'in private'. None of the evidence provided by the body under investigation is shared with the complainant until after the decision is made. Yet it would appear that no one is able to deny that it is policy for PHSO to share all the evidence provided by the complainant. Appalling bias.

E. Colville left an annotation ()

It occurs to me that you might want to draw this matter to the attention of the PACAC select committee. They will be holding their annual scrutiny session of PHSO on 12th January at which they will question the Ombudsman. Before then they are inviting evidence, to be submitted by 11th December. Here are the details:

E. Colville left an annotation ()

See Government paper: Guide to Handling Parliamentary Ombudsman Cases:

"16. ….Information about the complaint should be disclosed only to the extent necessary to carry out effective consultation and should not normally require the disclosure of information about the identity or personal circumstances of the complainant. "

"24. When the complaint relates to the action of an individual who is named, or who can be identified the Ombudsman will send two copies of the complaint to the Principal Officer:
- one copy for the body concerned to comment on; and
- one copy to be passed to the individual concerned " (last accessed 26 November 2015)

This implies that complaints are indeed sent out as submitted. A troubling practice if true.

See also statements made to Parliament in June 2000 by Sir Michael Buckley, then Parliamentary Ombudsman.

"27 (Mr Buckley) ….we are doing our best within the constraints of the Act to resolve more complaints informally by making informal inquiries of the Department, getting them sorted, rather than automatically assuming if there is something to look at we have to go through issuing a statement of complaint going through to full investigation."

He also spoke to the high costs of the PHSO service due to "the elaborate working methods we have to adopt".


There is obviously minimal cost incurred in copying a complaint submitted by a complainant and posting it out to the public body and any individuals complained about as opposed to PHSO officials properly analyzing the complaint and issuing their own "statement of complaint" (after due consultation with the complainant to ensure they have properly understood it) for response by the public body concerned.

In March 2002 Sir Michael told PASC:

" 2. … We also have had success in improving the speed with which we deal with complaints: 68 per cent of cases have either been resolved or a statement of complaint issued within six weeks. …There is also a target of resolving matters (or issuing a statement of complaint) within 13 weeks in all cases other than those where there are reasonable prospects of resolution without initiating the investigation process…"

These statements imply, as one would reasonably expect, that the issuing of a "statement of complaint" is the Ombudsman's distilled summary of the complaint, setting out the problem to be "resolved" by full investigation or other appropriate means at the Ombudsman's discretion. Not disclosure of the complainant's original application and submissions, including, in the case of parliamentary complaints, identification of, and disclosure of accompanying correspondence from the constituency MP who is the intermediary required to ask the Ombudsman to conduct an investigation on behalf of the complainant.

In terms of eliminating the bind of their "elaborate ways of working" and for purposes of cost savings and improved throughput of casework, simply forwarding the complaint application would obviously provide PHSO a nice solution.

Thank you for making this information request. It raises fundamental questions that need answering.

[Name Removed] (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

'The costs are high due to the elaborate working methods we have to adopt'?

Certainly more expensive than any other Ombudsnan.....

Salary of Ombudsman
Value for money

PHSO: £155-160 000k(per investigated case - £37.86)
*Based on £157, 500 salary

Welsh Ombudsman : £90-95 ( based on *92.50) (£35.90)

Scottish Ombudsnan : £80-85k (based on *£82.5k ) (£16.85)

Financial Ombudsman : £226,215 ( per investigated case - 50p)

[Name Removed] (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Overall, the NHS regards being told off by the Ombudsman for 'poor file keeping' - as collateral damage, escaping the much more important criticism of negligence.

This is how it works.

Negligent employees avoid detection- by destroying. or witholding the files after a complaint has been made.( If they haven't destroyed them already)

There's then an internal chase round to find the missing files - by the complaints team.

If this team manages to get a few files, the case goes to the CEO.

At this point NHS lawyers chime in can stop the files from being handed over if it wouid 'distress the complainant', in any little way.


The only hope that the PHSO has for a fair investigation is to get the missing files.

But what can the PHSO do if the NHS states that they don't exist? (Which they probably don't any more).

Turn up and rifle through the filing cabinets? ( which the PHSO can legally do - but doesn't)


Personally, if I known seven years ago what I know now, I'd have gone straight to a no win/ no fee lawyer.

And not bothered with the Ombudsman because - despite an upheld verdict - the same sort of negligence just continued on the ward, where the medical files had been hidden - according to an insider.


PACAC can't investigate complaints from complainants.

All it can do is say 'Tut' at the Ombudsman occasionally.

What it does is sound impressive but - as it appoints the Ombudsman- it never seems to get round to doing much.

(Especially since it's judgement In appointing the Ombudsman could be seen to have been tad foolish if it did).


The complaint route is a judicial review, which is almost impossible to win.

That, again, would need a smart lawyer.

E. Colville left an annotation ()

On the "failed experiment" that is PHSO and muddled-headed debates in Parliament (late at night) on the new institution of Parliamentary Ombudsman see:

It includes the debate, well worth reading, on NHS complaints and the question whether or not the Ombudsman should have powers over clinical judgements. A topical issue almost 50 years later that is seeing the setting up of yet another institution - IPSIS - to do what the Ombudsman has failed to do.

On PASC [now PACAC] responsibilities over the Ombudsman, and the Ombudsman's "procedures" Niall MacDermot, Financial Secretary to the Treasury (who steered the original Ombudsman legislation through Parliament in 1967) said:

"I hope that the Bill will shortly become law and we shall be able to start on a quite considerable experiment in our system of Government. ....Having chosen to set up a Parliamentary watch dog, I am sure that we will not want the Select Committee to start trying to do the barking for him. As I said earlier, I conceive that by and large the Select Committee will not be concerned with the investigation of or concerned with the investigations or the reports on particular individual cases. What it will be concerned with is in helping to work out the procedures and, in particular, the conventions which we must devise among ourselves as hon. Members in handling complaints which are to be referred to the Commissioner and, secondly, in receiving his reports and seeing what kind of action we need to take as Members of Parliament to put right situations which are brought to light by his investigations."

E. Colville left an annotation ()

It strikes me that your complaint about PHSO disclosure to the public body complained about of your entire application and confidential supporting documents involves, paradoxically, breach of the very principles the Ombudsman and, unusally, the PASC had cause to criticise in this case dating back to 1999.

"Findings : Mr X was entitled to complain to the Consul and subsequently to the Ambassador. I saw no justification for the Ambassador's letter of 10 July to the employers: it served no purpose in the proper handling of Mr X's complaint....I found that quite extraordinary and wholly deplorable. Mr X was, moreover, entitled to expect that his correspondence with the Ambassador would remain confidential. I criticised the FCO for failing to admit that the Ambassador's action was not defensible and for not apologising accordingly."

"Remedy: The Permanent Under Secretary of FCO and the Ambassador apologised for the fact that the Ambassador had written in such terms to the employers and that Mr X's correspondence with the Ambassador had been sent to the employers without his consent, and for the way in which his subsequent complaints had been mishandled. FCO offered to make Mr X an ex gratia payment of £5,000 to make amends for the general mishandling of his complaints."

PASC's observations included these statements:

"We considered that the case was worth individual examination partly because of the public interest in it; and partly because it appeared to us to be precisely the type of case—exposing an inappropriate attitude towards complaints on the part of highly-placed public servants—which would be salutary in improving the treatment of complaints more broadly in the public service. Indeed, the conduct of the Ambassador concerned in the case seemed to us to demonstrate a breathtaking arrogance and a misconception of his role. The conduct of the Foreign Office itself left much to be desired in its cautious, defensive and dilatory attitude to admitting fault."


[Name Removed] (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

This is how the process works.

And what certain PHSO employees are allowed to disclose:

micky mouse left an annotation ()

Could some clever person, please advise on this, the reply does not answer the question, nor what was asked, how can they give your entire application & support papers to the opposite side, without first telling you, as you have not given permission to give it to the opposite side, & they have also released, legal, & all aspects of the case, that they are not even investigationg.


The PHSO response, 5pm, 11 / Nov / 2015

Your information request: FDC-241126

Thank you for your emails of 22 and 25 November 2015.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, you have asked for information we hold providing the basis by which we might share information provided by a complainant with the body complained about. You have also asked ‘how many other persons …have had their complete PHSO application forms sent to the otherside/opponent’. You have also asked what steps PHSO would take to rectify the disclosure in your case.

As you know, your complaint about the disclosure of information in your case is being considered by PHSO’s customer care team. I don’t therefore intend to address them directly here in my response.

Instead, in line with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I have considered what recorded information we hold relevant to the issues you have raised. I have reviewed our policies and guidance about our investigations and our information governance policies.

With regards to the first aspect of your request, PHSO’s privacy statement on our website ( explains how we will use the information provided to us as part of our investigations.

However, the fundamental basis for being able to share information we need to as part of our investigations is set out in the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993. A copy of that Act is available on PHSO’s website here:

Specifically section 11 of the Health Service Commissioners Act states:
(3)In other respects, the procedure for conducting an investigation shall be such as the Commissioner considers appropriate in the circumstances of the case, and in particular—
(a)he may obtain information from such persons and in such manner, and make such inquiries, as he thinks fit, and
(b)he may determine whether any person may be represented, by counsel or solicitor or otherwise, in the investigation.

I turn now to your request to know how many other people’s information has been shared. Last year alone PHSO dealt with over 20000 complaints. We do not centrally record whether and when we share information when considering a complaint and to extract the information you have asked for would require us to conduct a manual search of each of each individual case.

Consequently, I am unable to provide you with the information you have requested because it would take too much time to extract it from our records. As giving you this information would exceed the appropriate cost as set out at section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act, we are unable to provide it to you. This section states that where the cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit (in this case, 18 hours of work equating to £450), a public authority is not obliged to provide the information requested.

I hope you find the information provided helpful but if you have any queries or would like to ask for a review of my decision you can do so by email to

If you still have concerns after that, you can ask the Information Commissioner’s Office to look into your case. Their contact details are available on their website at:

Yours sincerely
Head of FOI/DP

Dear foiofficer,

As you are aware, today is the 24 Dec 2015 1pm, & STILL the stated reply has not been sent from the customer services team, as your prior wrote.

<extraneous material removed>

Luke I will re-state my FOI to you, under what legistaliton, can a full PHSO application be sent to the opposite side, without the clients permission, & that the application also covered many matters that the PHSO were refusing to investigate.

<extraneous material removed>

Yours sincerely,
micky mouse, 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

[Name Removed] (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

You may find that if you Subject Access Request (SAR) the PHSO and another organisation simultaneously- that files are missing from the PHSO response..... Yet provided by the other party.

In one SAR, it was files showing the PHSO in a bad light.

In addition, the PHSO is now resorting to Public Relations drafted replies....( as answers to a FOIA request) which are more or less letters about how the PHSO is 'changing' or ' improving', instead of supplying data files rejecting to the request - as demanded by the FOIA.

Doug Paulley left an annotation ()

I have removed from public view material from the correspondence that isn't directly related to the information being requested. I refer users to the guidance on keeping requests focussed:

"Please put in your request only what is needed so that someone can easily identify what information you are asking for. Please do not include any of the following:

" arguments about your cause
" statements that could defame or insult others
" questions or requests for comment rather than for specific information

"If you include extraneous material, we may have to remove your request to avoid problems with libel law, which is a pain for both you and us.

"The site is only for hosting FOI requests, not for general correspondence with public authorities."

I have also removed a number of annotations which appear not to be in keeping with our annotations policy:

"Annotations on WhatDoTheyKnow are to help people get the information they want, or to give them pointers to places they can go to help them act on it. We reserve the right to remove anything else.

"Endless, political discussions are not allowed. Post a link to a suitable forum or campaign site elsewhere."

I have also turned off annotations on this request.
Doug - volunteer, WhatDoTheyKnow.