Requests for a review 2016 - 2017

The request was successful.

phsothefacts Pressure Group

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

In the Annual Report for 2016/17 you state that;

In 2016-17, we reviewed 81 decisions and upheld 15 of them. In 2015-16 we reviewed
218 decisions and upheld 14. The significant decline in the number of complaints needing a review is likely a result of our more consistent criteria and ways of working at every step of our process.

You have recorded the number of decisions reviewed but not the total number of review requests.

For 2016/17 can you tell me the total number of review requests following assessment?

For 2016/17 can you tell me the total number of review requests following investigation?

For 2016/17 can you tell me the total number of service complaints made?

In 2015/16 this figure was recorded as the number of complaints 'handled'.

Yours faithfully,

Della Reynolds

phsothefacts Pressure Group

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


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J Roberts left an annotation ()

Getting to the truth isn't easy!

"In the business year 2016-17, we handled 676 formal complaints about our service, compared to 593 in the previous year. We upheld 394 of the formal service complaints we looked at and took action to put things right. This could include an apology or an explanation, or if someone complains about having waited too long, prioritising action." P16

But how many service complaints were there in total? It would be reasonable to suppose there were people who complained about the service but not in a "formal" manner. Broken people who perhaps saw no point in taking their complaint further after a dispiriting phone call to Customer Services.

phsothefacts Pressure Group left an annotation ()

Like everything else PHSO have total discretion to define what is a genuine 'complaint' or a valid 'review request'. On this basis, they dismiss most of them without any investigation. They pick an arbitrary number to investigate and record in their Annual Report and then spin the line that the numbers of complaints are falling.

InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear Della Reynolds,

 

Thank you for your email of 16^th September 2017 requesting information
held by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).  Your exact request was:

 

“In the Annual Report for 2016/17 you state that;

In 2016-17, we reviewed 81 decisions and upheld 15 of them. In 2015-16 we
reviewed
218 decisions and upheld 14. The significant decline in the number of
complaints needing a review is likely a result of our more consistent
criteria and ways of working at every step of our process.

You have recorded the number of decisions reviewed but not the total
number of review requests.

For 2016/17 can you tell me the total number of review requests following
assessment?

For 2016/17 can you tell me the total number of review requests following
investigation?

For 2016/17 can you tell me the total number of service complaints made?

In 2015/16 this figure was recorded as the number of complaints
'handled'.” 

 

PHSO does not hold this information in the format requested.  Under the
FOIA, we are under no obligation to create new information in response to
a FOI request.

However, we hold information relating to the number of requests for review
we received in 2016-17.  This is described in the table below.

 

Number of
Type of feedback requests
Compliment 3
Compliment, Decision 3
Compliment, Methodology 1
Compliment, Service 1
Decision 2352
Methodology 4
Methodology, Decision 1
Service 715
Service, Decision 44
Service, Methodology,
Decision 2
Unknown 180
Grand Total 3306

I am sorry I could not be more helpful. If you believe I have made an
error in the way I have processed your information request, it is open to
you to request an internal review.  You can do this by sending an email to
[1][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 ([2]www.ico.org.uk).

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

S Otto

Freedom of Information / Data Protection Team

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

E: [Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman request email]

W: [3]www.ombudsman.org.uk

 

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References

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J Roberts left an annotation ()

PHSO factual:

"In 2016-17, we reviewed 81 decisions and upheld 15 of them. In 2015-16 we reviewed 218 decisions and upheld 14."

PHSO other:

"The significant decline in the number of complaints needing a review is likely a result of our more consistent criteria and ways of working at every step of our process."

I do not see how this conclusion can be drawn. Better to consider some salient facts:

2353 (average 45 a week) - Number of review requests in 2016/17 concerning decisions.

15 - Number of reviewed decisions upheld in 2016/17.

0.6% - Review requests upheld concerning decisions as a percentage of total decision review requests in 2016/17.

96.5% - Decision review requests deemed unworthy of a review as a percentage of total decision review requests in 2016/17.

It amazes me how PHSO customer satisfaction surveys fail to reflect the fact that thousands of people express dissatisfaction with their decisions.

If my maths is wrong, please correct!

phsothefacts Pressure Group left an annotation ()

Thanks for doing the maths J. Roberts. Clearly this is more spin from the PHSO PR machine. In 2015-16 there were 1,969 review requests concerning the decision. PHSO reviewed 218 (11%) and upheld 19 (0.9%)

In 2016 - 17 there were actually 383 more review requests for decisions with the total of decision reviews at 2,352. . Even more people dissatisfied yet PHSO reviewed only 81 (3.4%) and upheld 15 (0.6%) . Without putting the total number of review requests in the Annual Report they then try to use the lower figure to argue that their service has improved at all levels when the data show the absolute opposite. More dissatisfaction. How can they be trusted?

J Roberts left an annotation ()

"How can they be trusted?"

It is one hell of a spin they put on the stats!

19 in every 20 decision review requests* were rejected very early, that is, someone decided they shouldn't even be reviewed.

I also note that the figure of 44 should be added to the total of 2,352 because of the category "service, decision".

I'm not sure if this addition makes it closer to 20 in 20 decision review requests that were rejected very early rather than 19 in 20!

* review request = formal complaint.

phsothefacts Pressure Group left an annotation ()

J. Roberts - it's always difficult comparing year on year data with PHSO as they continually change the boxes under which they record the data. As you can see they no longer have the data available in the manner of previous years and they do interchange review request with complaint. Transparency is not one of their strong points, but at least they got a few compliments in 2016-17!

M Boyce left an annotation ()

Is there any data on the number/percentage of complainants that request a review of their case at the draft report stage. How many of those draft report cases not upheld are then upheld on review?

phsothefacts Pressure Group left an annotation ()

As far as I know, you cannot ask for a review at draft report stage. Well, you can but they will not start any review into any points raised until they have issued the final report.

M Boyce left an annotation ()

Thanks for the info phsothefacts.

I was issued with a draft report last week about my complaint about HMRC. The caseworker gave me two weeks to get in touch with him to discuss/ send in any comments. I then tried to phone him only to be told by his manager that he had gone on indefinite sick leave. His draft report took ten months to prepare, is two pages long, and is a complete joke. I told his manager that I had zero confidence in the PHSO, that their investigations were just a sham and an establishment cover-up and she just laughed. I will send them my written comments but am not sure who will look at them since my caseworker can't be bothered to.

C Rock left an annotation ()

Similar experience here. Two weeks to respond and modified in favour of nhs defendants. I rejected the draft and I reject the 'final' as nonsense. The pressure on complainant is relentless and blatantly abusive.

Brenda Prentice left an annotation ()

The last time I had a report from PHSO I didn't ask for a review, I said I would write it my self. Their reviews are all the same, almost word for word, all the same.

I would never go to PHSO again, I wouldn't encourage their employment. If no one took complaints to them, they would be out of business. Terminated, gone. We would be no worse off.

M Boyce left an annotation ()

I agree with both of your comments. Quangos like ombudsmen organisations exist only so the establishment can pretend that ordinary folks will have some redress against establishment corruption and cover-ups. The reality is that it is all one big stitch-up. Democracy is just a game of smoke and mirrors used to conceal the dictatorship of the elites - big business and government. It would make far more sense for people to just opt-out of this sick joke and refuse to take part in this sham democracy. Easier said than done though, isn't it?

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