Staff Training!

The request was partially successful.

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,
I note the recent publicity which details the Agency Staff brought in to "deal with the backlog of complaints"

Three questions please:
1. What specific training do PHSO investigative staff have ?

2. What training in investigative process's do temporary agency staff have?

3. Can I please have contact details (email or addresses)for your Director of Investigations or his assistant as my emails keep bouncing back......if there us a technical glitch I may need to post!

Thank you!

Yours faithfully,

D. Speers, 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.

Fiona Watts left an annotation ()

The NHS is in recruitment crisis - right up to the PHSO.

EVERY political party should be held to account for allowing the "RUSTY BUCKET" (PHSO) to continue with such an appalling track record of service delivery since the 1980's.


D. Speers left an annotation ()

Well said Fiona Watts

foiofficer, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Speers


Your information request (FDN-252538)


I am writing in response to your email of 26 March 2016, in which you
asked about training for investigative staff.


Firstly, I should advise that we have not recruited agency workers to deal
with a backlog of complaints but employees on fixed-term contracts.  We
did this in September 2015.


When we have recruited new staff in larger numbers such as in September
2015 we have run a programme made up of a number of short training
modules.  Please see the attached for an example of the recent programme. 
Where we have only recruited one or two members of staff, we have tailored
this programme to reflect the smaller number of learners.


New investigators’ training falls into two parts; initial training to get
them up to speed on the role and training on our internal policies and
procedures as well as personal skills development.


Initial training sessions tend to be between one and three hours and
include the following:


·         Introduction to PHSO

·         Health & Safety induction

·         What do we mean by maladministration and/or service failure?

·         Introduction to Intake and Assessment (Customer Service)

·         Overview of VisualFiles (PHSO’s casework management system)

·         Introduction to 5 stage investigation process including
introduction to risk

·         Introduction to the NHS

·         Introduction to Clinical Advice

·         Requesting Clinical Advice

·         Introduction to casework with input around planning and approach

·         Introduction to Information Governance

·         Making Evidence Based Decisions

·         Communicating Decisions

·         Legal Basis for PHSO – 3 2hour modules:  Jurisdiction, First
Order Considerations, Investigating and Reporting

·         PHSO’s quality framework

·         Managing Risk

·         Introduction to Customer Care and Review process

·         Two E learning modules – Data Protection Act and Display Screen


Further training consists of the following:


·         Caseload Management (one day)

·         Dealing with Difficult Contacts (one day)

·         Influencing and Persuading (one day)

·         Diversity and Inclusion Awareness Training (one day)

·         NHS briefings on a variety of topics (usually one hour)

·         Occasional Parliamentary briefings from external bodies (for
example, last year CAFCASS ran a briefing for us).


In addition, there are likely to be non-training based activities such as
shadowing a Customer Service Officer, 1:1 support from an individual’s
manager and/or from a mentor or buddy within the team.


More generally, managers give regular feedback to investigators as they
quality assurance investigation reports and this provides tailored
development support.


Each year we also support caseworkers to attend the Ombudsman Association
Conference and provide funding for four people to complete the Ombudsman
Association Certificate in Ombudsman and Complaint Handling run by Queen
Margaret University.  We supported four people to do this in November


Caseworkers can also apply for funding from the Bursary Scheme to
undertake more in-depth courses of study including further and higher
education and professional qualifications.


They can also apply through PHSO’s Learning Agreement Form process to
obtain funding for short courses that relate to their work. They can also
attend personal effectiveness courses organised for all staff such as bite
size courses on assertiveness and how to give feedback.

Finally, you have asked for the contact details of our Director of
Investigations.  PHSO has a number of Directors in Investigations and our
organisational chart is available on our website at the following link:
The senior management are detailed on the first page of this chart.  If
you let us know whose contact details you would like then we can consider
that request.  However, you do not need the direct contact details of a
particular person to contact them as generic contact details are available
on our website here: [2]

You can use these details and ask for your correspondence to be forwarded
to the relevant person.


I hope that this information is helpful.


Yours sincerely


Aimee Gasston

Freedom of Information / Data Protection Team

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

W: [3]


Please email the FOI/DP team at: [4][email address]




From: D. Speers [mailto:[FOI #324789 email]]
Sent: 26 March 2016 19:15
To: foiofficer
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Staff Training!


Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,
I note the recent publicity which details the Agency Staff brought in to
"deal with the backlog of complaints"

Three questions please:
1. What specific training do PHSO investigative staff have ?

2. What training  in investigative process's do temporary  agency staff

3. Can I please have contact details (email or addresses)for your Director
of Investigations or his assistant as my emails keep bouncing back......if
there us a technical glitch I may need to post!

Thank you!

Yours faithfully,

D. Speers


Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[5][FOI #324789 email]

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

Evidence to Parliament:

Dame Julie Mellor: Mick, would you like to talk about our induction and training?

Mick Martin: Yes. We have generated a foundation course that every employee who comes into our operation to do either assessment or investigations receives before they start. That is typically a two-week programme during which we explain both our core investigative methods, how we run and organise our cases, and also the sources of support, information and coaching that every individual gets.

The second important thing that we do is that we make sure that, once those new employees start work, they have very significant degrees of support from both their line manager and also from other investigators who are allocated to those new teams. Finally, and hopefully to give real confidence, every single decision that those employees make for a service user, and every decision on whether there is a case to answer or an issue that we need to address with the NHS or a public service, is always quality assured by a manager and it is always overseen and checked before it leaves.

Q46 Mr Turner: You have reduced the number of full-time equivalent staff at a time when the organisation was under pressure to deal with more cases more quickly. Now you have had to spend £1 million on taking on more temporary staff. Why isn’t your workforce planning more effective?

Mick Martin: Our workforce planning is obviously driven by demand. We opened our doors to our customers. We had an estimate of how much work came in. In the first year of opening our doors, we handled over 2,000 cases; last year we handled over 4,000. What that means is that we recognised in the course of making those changes that, in order to give the best service to our customers, we needed to input some more resources so that we could reduce waiting times and remove any backlogs in our service. We think that was the right thing to do. We have done that by reallocating resources from elsewhere and tightening the areas of the organisation that we need to so that we are putting the right amount of resource in the right places.

D. Speers left an annotation ()

SPOT ON Jt Oakley and less comprehensively is initial training failing?
"initial training to get
them up to speed on the role" by when?

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

Still won't tell you the answer to your third Q..Director of investigations.

Or even address it.

Perhaps there is now such a rush for the door - over and above the Annual 20percent - that it's hard to know who is in which role,

Fiona Watts left an annotation ()

Well done Dee and respect to Jt Oakley!

I just love it when Jt Oakley identifies the way that PHSO staff seem to be pro-active in trying to wriggle out of complying with the UK data laws.

Are Mr Brown and Miss A G one of the greatest of "cover uppers" at the institution that we looked to for clarity?

Did anyone notice this section in their training programme?

I quote;
12.00 Lunch
13.00 Introduction to Investigation: What do we
mean by maladministration?

14.15 Break
14.30 Introduction to Investigation: What do we
mean by maladministration? (continued)

Yes! Can victims of the NHS & the PHSO Complaints Procedure attend their training programmes?

I would love to know what the PHSO means when it writes "maladministration"?!

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

Thank you Fiona.

But I'm sad to do so.

This should be an organisation with integrity at the base of everything it does.

It is now falling so far below the required standard, it's a shame.

Its not only about Mick Martin's swift departure....that's only an outward sign of it.

Its about what the PHSO now finds to be acceptable.

Not only forthe detriment of complainants - but the people who are let down by organisations, which then know that they can 'get away with it'.

As for FOIA responses, either to much pressure is being out on the department from above, or its employees simply don't access to what their leaders have stated in public.

The result is that requests are gamed - with prepared letters skirting the issue, rather than the provision of the files information requested.

It seems to originated with Dame Julie Mellor's appointment spiel with the resulting expansion of the external affairs department.

Worth a read to see what she set out to do - and compare it to what happened.


She is a businesswoman, rather than a lawyer or civil servant.

With the consequential emphasis on targets, stakeholders and promotion of the organisation - by 'sitting on the Breakfast sofa'. Instead of providing a high quality service.

And, of course ££££££'s spent on reputational defence.


My hope is that when Dame Julie Mellor leaves, -and a new sort of Ombudsnan is appointed , FOIA responses will once again become a straight application of FOIA data ...and not have to be put to the external affairs department for a contrived response .

D. Speers left an annotation ()

I couldn't agree more........thank you Jt!

J Roberts left an annotation ()

Annual Report and Accounts 2019-2020 (page 15)

'Over the past year, the Learning and Development Team has supported the development of a Training Academy for new caseworkers. The Academy offers corporate induction and mandatory eLearning modules, as well as classroom training.

After initial training, new caseworkers are assigned to work for a dedicated Academy operations manager to provide high levels of support and guidance. They remain in this environment for a number of months, before moving on to work in operational casework teams.

Following last year’s pilot, we are also delivering a sector-leading accreditation programme for senior caseworkers. By the end of March 2020, most senior caseworkers had completed the accreditation process, qualifying them to work with greater autonomy.'

Given that:

'1. There were 5,744 Parliamentary complaints received in 2018/19

2. There were 38 Parliamentary cases upheld or partly upheld at
investigation in 2018/19 (3 upheld, 35 partly upheld)'

I hope this new training programme will stop fully upheld Parliamentary complaints from becoming a thing of the past.

J Roberts left an annotation ()

PACAC meeting 14/12/21:

A lot was said about staff training at the meeting. With almost all staff working from home, there has been a great increase in online learning - '100 bite-size modules' have been created.

J Roberts left an annotation ()

Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee

Oral evidence: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Scrutiny 2020-21, HC 721

Tuesday 14 December 2021

J Roberts left an annotation ()

First Report - Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Scrutiny 2020–21

Published 20 May 2022 HC 213 Report

'9. The Committee welcomes the career development pathways and accreditation scheme put in place within the organisation, but also encourages the PHSO to look at possible new development opportunities within the organisation to encourage staff retention and to ensure there is minimal loss to institutional knowledge. (Paragraph 43)' page 15