PHSO Recruiting: Insight to NHS Complainant harm and exploitation

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman did not have the information requested.

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

PHSO Recruiting: Insight to NHS Complainant harm and further ‘exploitation’

I am aware that the PHSO occasionally advertises for Caseworker or other placements, and this appears to be so at time of writing.

I am also aware that for some years the PHSO has been alerted to the considerable stress and actual trauma suffered by complainants merely following procedures in NHS complaints for learning and resolution, due to obstacles or contrivances placed in their way not least naivety of process (by complainant and by PHSO worker) or un-attained expectation of balanced and competent resolution. This has been evidenced to the PHSO.

With plain Yes or No can you please tell me if the PHSO has considered recruiting customer facing staff with a lived-experience prerequisite of:

i. Family encounters with e.g. NHS negligence and harm
ii. Making NHS Complaints yet having poor or no reconciliation
iii. Referring a complaint to PHSO yet experiencing new harm in attempt

If Yes to any of the above please let me see where and when this was considered and dismissed, or as appropriate.

RATIONALE: I see that ‘empathy’ might be required (loosely, as advertised) but I cannot see that you will judge this meaningfully at recruitment, nor in employee trial stage without continued risk of harm to complainants. Life experience of harm as alluded-to, might be a priority requirement for Complaint and Customer managers, in my opinion.

It appears to me also that the PHSO (and the Nation, potentially) could benefit from an investment in staff with insight into these matters as my experience is that their lay or ‘green’ status may not be found adequate for 21st Century expectations.

I have questioned you elsewhere on your understanding of UK Disability law and PHSO’s non-compliance with a legal requirement when dealing with complainants previously disabled by trauma, negligence or abuse: you have to-date not resolved that allegation, yet have continued in unchanged style.

Please be clear in your answer and recorded intention.

Yours faithfully,

C Rock

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


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InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear Mr Rock,

 

FDN-274873 – Your information request.

 

Thank you for your email of 24 ^ October 2017 requesting information held
by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) under the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).  Your exact request was:

 

“With plain Yes or No can you please tell me if the PHSO has considered
recruiting customer facing staff with a lived-experience prerequisite of:

i.      Family encounters with e.g. NHS negligence and harm
ii.     Making NHS Complaints yet having poor or no reconciliation
iii.    Referring a complaint to PHSO yet experiencing new harm in attempt

If Yes to any of the above please let me see where and when this was
considered and dismissed, or as appropriate.”

It will be helpful to note that the FOIA provides a right of access to
recorded information held by a public body, subject to any exemptions
under the FOIA.  Any written request for recorded information that is not
a routine business query will ordinary be considered under the FOIA
whether or not the FOIA is mentioned in that request.  Likewise, the
mention of the word FOI in a piece of correspondence does not make it a
valid FOI request.  Furthermore, under the FOIA, PHSO is not under any
obligation to provide explanations or to create information in response to
a FOI request.  It has to be information held at the time of the request.
Please see the Information Commissioner’s website for more information
about the FOI Act:

[1]https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

 

The information you have requested is not held.  However, PHSO frequently
advertises posts on its website, setting out the criteria that it expects
applicants to demonstrate. For recent caseworker posts that we have
advertised externally, this has included the following lines:

 

“As a caseworker you will be undertaking casework in a timely and
proportionate way to our agreed internal and external standards.

We are looking for motivated individuals, with excellent customer service
skills to join our team. Ideally, you will be highly motivated, be able
to successfully manage a varied workload, have excellent analytical
skills, the ability to make evidenced-based decisions and show
appropriate empathy whilst ensuring that you remain impartial. You
must be able to write clearly and effectively.

This is an exciting opportunity to help make a difference to society. The
work we do is extremely important in righting individual wrongs,
informing public policy and driving improvements in public services.”

 

As you will note, this does not include the specific criteria that you
have asked about, but does make clear that we expect our staff to have
sufficient experience to deliver what is expected in these roles.

 

More generally our new Ombudsman, Rob Behrens, who was appointed in April
this year, has made clear that PHSO will be increasing the activity we do
to listen to complainants and understand better how their experience of
using our service can help us improve.

 

I hope that the information I have provided is helpful.  If you are
unhappy with the way I have handled your information request, it is open
to you to request an internal review.  You can do this by sending an email
to [2][Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman 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 ([3]www.ico.org.uk).

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Sarah Otto

Freedom of Information / Data Protection Team

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

E: [Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman request email]

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

 

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References

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1. https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...
2. mailto:[Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman request email]
3. http://www.ico.org.uk/
4. http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/

Dear InformationRights,

Thank you for your response.

Yours sincerely,
C Rock

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


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