SPSO recommendations and organisational responses

J. Mendel made this Freedom of Information request to Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

Dear Scottish Public Services Ombudsman,

I note that SPSO has helpfully been publishing summaries of decision reports online since 2011; you have also been publishing investigation reports for a longer period. I also note that a number of reports make recommendations and some request evidence that recommendations have been met; it is also possible that organisations may choose to supply SPSO evidence that recommendations have been met even when not requested (for example, they may be proud of the progress achieved) or send other types of responses to SPSO. These complaints and SPSO recommendations potentially provide healthcare system with valuable feedback for improvement and, with this in mind, I am asking SPSO to release more information on responses. I would therefore like the following information regarding investigations and decisions relating to organisations in the health sector, to cover the time period from 2011 through to the present day:
- Evidence of change: evidence supplied by organisations complained about in response to SPSO recommendations (for example, evidence demonstrating that recommendations have been met or details of changes which have been made).
- Other substantive organisational responses to SPSO recommendations: for example, some organisations may have refused to meet SPSO recommendations. I appreciate that a number of responses to recommendations may have been a simple 'thank you' letter with no relevant detail beyond this; there is no need to release this type of response.
- Further SPSO action: any substantive SPSO replies to organisational responses to recommendations, and any follow-ups to organisational non-responses. For example, SPSO may on occasion have stated that the supplied evidence is not adequate, may have involved regulators or may have contacted an NHS Trust to ask why there has been no response to a decision report/investigation or why there has been no response to an SPSO letter. Again, I appreciate that some SPSO responses may have been a simple 'thank you' letter to organisations without any further relevant detail - there is no need to release this type of response.

This information should be released in a format that allows it to be linked with the investigation reports and decision reports published on your website. It appears that including Case Ref Number for information related to Decision Reports and Report Number for information related to Investigation Reports would be adequate. However, I am not as familiar as you will be with how SPSO organises their data - if you feel an alternative way of linking these data would be necessary or preferable then I am happy to discuss this.

For the avoidance of doubt, I am not wanting SPSO to release patient information - I would expect this to be redacted from your reply (in a similar fashion to your published reports). I hope that this request is clear, but feel free to let me know if you have any questions or if you feel there might be better ways to share this information (for example, SPSO might choose to begin releasing this information on your own website).

Yours faithfully,

Dr Jonathan Mendel

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

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Dear Dr Mendel

Please find attached my letter of today's date.

Yours sincerely

Helen Littlemore
Data Protection and FOI Officer

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
4 Melville Street Edinburgh EH3 7NS
tel 0800 377 7330 fax 0800 377 7331
web [1]http://www.spso.org.uk

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Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

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Dear Dr Mendel

Please find attached my letter of today's date, with enclosure.

Yours sincerely

Helen Littlemore
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officer

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
4 Melville Street Edinburgh EH3 7NS
tel 0800 377 7330 fax 0800 377 7331
web [1]http://www.spso.org.uk

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Dear Ms Littlemore,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews. I am writing to request an internal review of Scottish Public Services Ombudsman's handling of my FOI request 'SPSO recommendations and organisational responses'. I am requesting this review for two main reasons.

Firstly, you note that the SPSOA requires that investigations are carried out in private and prohibits disclosure except for specified purposes. However, where the SPSO has reached a decision then the investigation will already have been carried out (in private, one would hope). You note that "Even the documents that are generated by the SPSO will in many cases be constituted by, discuss and pertain to information that has been obtained". The requested information may sometimes or often pertain to information obtained in respect of a complaint, but this may not always be the case (for example, a Trust might be proud to report more proactive improvements to an area of practice). I would also note that the documents requested may often (at least in substantial part) pertain to information about a complaint that has already been released as part of SPSO's reporting of complaints; it would be inappropriate for the SPSO to try to keep information that it has published itself private. While SPSOA may prohibit the disclosure of some of the requested information, it is therefore inappropriate for SPSO to view this as a blanket prohibition.

Secondly, Section 19 of SPSOA explicitly allows disclosure of information as part of "any investigation of the matter (including any report of such an investigation)". While it is helpful that the SPSO publishes some information regarding complaints and recommendations on its website, I would argue that it should also report additional information on responses to its recommendations and any further SPSO responses to these responses. The current failure to report this information publicly is problematic with regards to two of NHS Scotland's Quality Ambitions: by not sharing such information with patients and members of the public affected by it the SPSO is prioritising organisational privacy over a person-centred approach; and by keeping information on organisational responses to recommendations private the SPSO is potentially preventing safety lessons from being learned. While FOISA is probably not the ideal means for SPSO to report this information (if SPSO would suggest a more effective publication strategy I would be pleased to drop this request) FOISA and the What Do They Know site do offer one potential avenue to improved reporting.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

Yours Sincerely,

J. Mendel

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

This is an automated receipt from SPSO to let you know that we have
received your email. Please do not reply to this.

 

If you have emailed a new complaint, we will register it and acknowledge
it in writing within three working days. We provide you with a reference
number which should be used in any future correspondence with us.

 

If your email was not a new complaint, it will be forwarded to the
appropriate colleague who will reply to you in due course.

 

If we have been copied into this email, we will not respond or take action
on this matter.

 

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
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Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

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Dear Dr Mendel

Please find attached my letter of today's date.

Yours sincerely

Helen Littlemore
Data Protection and FOI Officer

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
4 Melville Street Edinburgh EH3 7NS
tel 0800 377 7330 fax 0800 377 7331
web [1]http://www.spso.org.uk

show quoted sections

 

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
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References

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1. http://www.spso.org.uk/

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

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Dear Dr. Mendel

Please find attached Niki Maclean's letter of today's date, with
enclosure.

Yours sincerely

Helen Littlemore
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officer

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
4 Melville Street Edinburgh EH3 7NS
tel 0800 377 7330 fax 0800 377 7331
web [1]http://www.spso.org.uk

show quoted sections

 

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.spso.org.uk/

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