Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

In the interests of transparency and public benefit, please can you tell me what steps the PHSO is taking to tackle current and historic harm committed on complainants including those who by necessity have withdrawn from expectation of unprejudiced and fair service and due recompense for that harm, in line with PHSO published aims and HM Government’s intent for that department?

Previous requests on this topic have proved unsatisfactory and resulted in no action.

In this context, you may wish to note that despite many previous FOI questions on these matters including direct approaches, the PHSO has yet to show advance or initiative. It is unlikely that I personally shall ever recover from such abuse.

The PHSO has been made aware of the effects of these common harms yet successive PHSOs have arrogantly dismissed complainants being “just unhappy” with PHSO service, this adding fuel to a contempt shown for complainants already devastated by dire result of NHS negligence.
NB: The current PHSO has been made aware (Behrens, October 2017, and again since that time) of serious harm committed on complainants in the execution of enquiries into serious NHS negligence complaints.

Harm arises—for example—from: derision of efforts made by complainant to obtain evidence or to obtain PHSO response; PHSO fabrication and assumption placed on the complainant in order to be later dismissed or derided as ‘expectation’ of NHS or PHSO services are of course extremely harmful to the complainant. This, often compounded by clear and relentless breaches of PHSO Principles regarding bias, integrity and transparency; failure to follow through findings against previous actions; PHSO’s use of unsubstantiated or ‘covert’ NHS ‘evidence’; PHSO refusal to quote sources of accusation; acute bias in lay or ‘amateur’ interpretation; imposition unrealistic deadline or ‘agenda’ to close complaints with nil regard to due diligence all add to the harm and damage to complainant, resulting in sleep deprivation over years, the need for medication and NHS or private psychological counselling for sleep disturbance, severe depression and as noted, anecdotally, suicidal thought.

My interest in this matter: I have personally suffered under repeated tactics all refused investigation by successive PHSOs including the present. Following a painfully extended complaint 2009 – 2018 into NHS negligent care and ignored complaints leading up to son’s death, involving prolonged and disturbing NHS and PHSO hostility, a personal letter (2018) from R Behrens PHSO declared his intent that such complaints would not be investigated—and effectively closed-off as of that date. Complaints therefore were dismissed and unresolved yet I am hearing more and more cases of PHSO harm from other complainants who publicly or privately declare similar experience.

The PHSO has in my opinion a severe problem of candour and credibility in failing to address a critical issue raised too many times.

Yours faithfully,

C Rock

InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Thank you for contacting the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s
(PHSO) Freedom of Information and Data Protection Team. This is to confirm
we have received your request. If you have made a request for information
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Environment Information
Regulations 2004, we will respond to your request within 20 working days
in accordance with the statutory time frames set out in both Acts. If you
have made a request for personal information held by the PHSO, your
request will be processed as a Subject Access Request under the provisions
of the Data Protection Act 2018 and will be responded to within one
calendar month in accordance with the statutory time frame set out in the
Act. We may contact you before this time if we require further
clarification or if we need to extend the time required to complete your
request. For Subject Access Requests, we will send any personal
information via secure email, unless you instruct us differently. To
access the information on the email we send, you will need to sign up to
our secure email service. Details can be found on our website using the
link below:
https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/co...
If you require us to post your personal information to you instead you
will need to inform us of this and confirm your current address as soon as
possible. Angharad Jackson Data Protection Officer & Assistant Director
Information Assurance Office of the Parliamentary and Health Service
Ombudsman PHSO CityGate 47-51 Mosley Street Manchester M2 3HQ
[email address]

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

I grant PHSO a short extension to my question due to Christmas break and possible influence of current pandemic.
Response due in 8 working days please.

Yours faithfully,

C Rock

InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Thank you for contacting the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s
(PHSO) Freedom of Information and Data Protection Team. This is to confirm
we have received your request. If you have made a request for information
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Environment Information
Regulations 2004, we aim to respond to your request within 20 working days
in accordance with the statutory time frames set out in both Acts. If you
have made a request for personal information held by the PHSO, your
request will be processed as a Subject Access Request under the provisions
of the Data Protection Act 2018 and we aim to respond within one calendar
month in accordance with the statutory time frame set out in the Act. We
may contact you before this time if we require further clarification or if
we need to extend the time required to complete your request.

Please note that we are currently experiencing a high demand, and might
not be able to comply with the statutory deadline for your request. Any
late responses can be referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office:

https://ico.org.uk/

For Subject Access Requests, we will send any personal information via
secure email, unless you instruct us differently. To access the
information on the email we send, you will need to sign up to our secure
email service. Details can be found on our website using the link below:
https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/co...
If you require us to post your personal information to you instead you
will need to inform us of this and confirm your current address as soon as
possible. Angharad Jackson Data Protection Officer & Assistant Director
Information Assurance Office of the Parliamentary and Health Service
Ombudsman PHSO CityGate 47-51 Mosley Street Manchester M2 3HQ
[email address]

InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear C Rock,

 

RE: Your information request: FOI116

 

Thank you for your email of 21 December 2020 in which you have requested
information from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).
Your request has been processed in accordance with Freedom of Information
Act 2000 (FOIA). Please accept our apologies for the delay in our
response.

 

You requested the following information

 

‘In the interests of transparency and public benefit, please can you tell
me what steps the PHSO is taking to tackle current and historic harm
committed on complainants including those who by necessity have withdrawn
from expectation of unprejudiced and fair service and due recompense for
that harm, in line with PHSO published aims and HM Government’s intent for
that department?

 

Previous requests on this topic have proved unsatisfactory and resulted in
no action.

 

In this context, you may wish to note that despite many previous FOI
questions on these matters including direct approaches, the PHSO has yet
to show advance or initiative. It is unlikely that I personally shall ever
recover from such abuse.

 

The PHSO has been made aware of the effects of these common harms yet
successive PHSOs have arrogantly dismissed complainants being “just
unhappy” with PHSO service, this adding fuel to a contempt shown for
complainants already devastated by dire result of NHS negligence.

NB: The current PHSO has been made aware (Behrens, October 2017, and again
since that time) of serious harm committed on complainants in the
execution of enquiries into serious NHS negligence complaints.

 

Harm arises—for example—from: derision of efforts made by complainant to
obtain evidence or to obtain PHSO response; PHSO fabrication and
assumption placed on the complainant in order to be later dismissed or
derided as ‘expectation’ of NHS or PHSO services are of course extremely
harmful to the complainant. This, often compounded by clear and relentless
breaches of PHSO Principles regarding bias, integrity and transparency;
failure to follow through findings against previous actions; PHSO’s use of
unsubstantiated or ‘covert’ NHS ‘evidence’; PHSO refusal to quote sources
of accusation; acute bias in lay or ‘amateur’ interpretation; imposition
unrealistic deadline or ‘agenda’ to close complaints with nil regard to
due diligence all add to the harm and damage to complainant, resulting in
sleep deprivation over years, the need for medication and NHS or private
psychological counselling for sleep disturbance, severe depression and as
noted, anecdotally, suicidal thought.

 

My interest in this matter: I have personally suffered under repeated
tactics all refused investigation by successive PHSOs including the
present. Following a painfully extended complaint 2009 – 2018 into NHS
negligent care and ignored complaints leading up to son’s death, involving
prolonged and disturbing NHS and PHSO hostility, a personal letter (2018)
from R Behrens PHSO declared his intent that such complaints would not be
investigated—and effectively closed-off as of that date. Complaints
therefore were dismissed and unresolved yet I am hearing more and more
cases of PHSO harm from other complainants who publicly or privately
declare similar experience.

 

The PHSO has in my opinion a severe problem of candour and credibility in
failing to address a critical issue raised too many times.’

 

Response

 

We can confirm that PHSO does not hold the information you have requested.
We have interpreted your request to be regarding situations where you
believe complainants have been harmed by PHSO during our consideration of
their complaints. To clarify and confirm, the PHSO does not consider
itself to have abused any complainants. As you may know, the FOI Act
provides a right of access to recorded information held by a public body
subject to any exemptions. Under the FOI Act, PHSO is under no obligation
to create new information or offer explanation in response to a FOI
request, unless the information requested exist at the time of the
request.

 

To provide advice and assistance in line with Section 16 of the FOI Act,
you may find our Service Model policy and guidance helpful as it sets out
the framework used by staff when communicating decisions to complainants.
You may find the resolution section of the Service Model Main Guidance
explains when PHSO considers a case to be resolved.

 

We have provided a link to this document below:

 

[1]https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/co...

 

We hope you have found this information helpful. If you believe we have
made an error in the way we have processed your information request, you
can request an internal review. To do this please email
[2][PHSO request email] and included details of your
concerns so we can consider them further.

 

If you remain dissatisfied following the outcome of the internal review,
you would have the option to complain directly to the Information
Commissioner’s Office. Details of how to do this can be found on their
website [3]www.ico.org.uk.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

E: [4][PHSO request email]

W: [5]www.ombudsman.org.uk

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/co...
2. mailto:[PHSO request email]
3. https://urldefense.com/v3/__http:/www.ic...
4. mailto:[PHSO request email]
5. http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url...

Brenda Prentice left an annotation ()

"To clarify and confirm, the PHSO does not consider
itself to have abused any complainants".

Well they would say that, wouldn't they, but the truth is, they do.

J Roberts left an annotation ()

The reviews on Trustpilot cast a shadow over the PHSO claims:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

J Roberts left an annotation ()

Jan minutes:

'3.6 Alan Graham asked about external perceptions of the organisation and whether these had changed. Amanda Amroliwala said that there remained a small group of vocal and challenging critics who were unlikely to ever be supportive. However, we had made good progress in terms of our standing with other regulators, the bodies we investigate, and with the wider Ombudsman community.'

https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/sites/defau...

According to Trustpilot, the number of vocal and challenging critics is growing.

All minutes:

https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/wh...

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

I am writing to request an internal review of Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's handling of my FOI request 'Steps taken to combat PHSO complainant abuse (2)'.

My question was “Please can you tell [from recorded data] what steps the PHSO is taking to tackle current and historic harm committed on complainants?

This was a follow-up to my question of 10th Oct 2020 “Steps taken to combat stigma, discrimination and mental abuse”. On that occasion your response was indeterminate and I had to mark as ‘Refused’. I am enquiring if the position was changed or clarified since that time, due to the significance and potential impact of continued abuse.

Your researched response was
“[the] PHSO does not hold the information you have requested”
This tells me that the position appears unchanged: I.E. there being ‘No recorded action / initiative on tackling… harm committed on complainants’.

I must call PHSO FOI to order however (under FOI Rules) in that I did not seek personal opinion on, or interpretation of my question, and I must request review of your response.

I cannot account for your late postulation on my question and have to ignore any personal opinion shown in this.

I am also expected to tolerate your personal presupposition of PHSO innocence in confusing matters more, in somewhat gratuitous and unproven opinion “to clarify…the PHSO does not consider itself to have abused any complainants” –which appears to me to insinuated denial of such—and the more obscure, since I also asked for your response in due consideration of:

i. In the interests of transparency and public benefit.
ii. In line with Government aims for its services including the PHSO which, broadly, might be the expectation that Services should operate within the laws of the land and observe statutory requirements of all businesses and services operating therein without exemption.
iii. With recognition of exampled harms perpetrated on a PHSO Service user.
iv. With recognition that such complaints be investigated promptly, thoroughly, fairly, with candour and, similarly, within the laws of the land.
v. In view of actual complaints of harm as made known to the PHSO (ostensibly as in many other cases of complaint), it is hardly sufficient or proper for the PHSO not to record these cases or, worse, to disallow reporting of these for investigation quite separate from the primary complaint which attracted that exploitation.
vi. In line with FOI terms of clarity and neutrality.

As I noted in the context of my question, the PHSO (in “not considering itself to have abused… [Complainants]”) has actively blocked service complaints of abuse for many years; has frequently been asked to investigate them; has refused consistently to investigate in line with expectation of candour.

The PHSO Service Model does not appear to cover this situation and (as with your own free opinion) attempts to sidestep all legal responsibility for harm, with no system for determining disability, harm or lasting effect on complainant or, ultimately, on PHSO Value. This may need to be be raised in a separate FOI question.

I am therefore dismayed that the PHSO shows no further interest. Thank you for confirming this.

A review is requested please.

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 faithfully,

C Rock

Dear PHSO Information Rights,

A contact to point out that today is 20th March and this complaint is still in PHSO domain for investigation as to FOI candour and considered overdue. Please can you estimate a response date?

The PHSO has been advised many times of abuse and harm committed and that should not be in question; yet still denied without support of PHSO Policy in the matter.

Yours sincerely,

C Rock

Dear 'Information Rights',

Please urge your response to this request and in full context of the quoted PHSO strapline: "The PHSO does not consider itself to have abused any complainants" while refusing point blank to investigate the harm it has caused and does still cause.

Please give the PHSO's justification of the quote above or provide evidence for its assertion by the PHSO. It appears illegal to me that while there is clear evidence of harm as notified to PHSO leaders , managers, even Customer Service, but no attempt to investigate and not even interest show in the harm perpetuated.

In fact your statement appears to mock the very idea of Customer Service, or that PHSO should be responsible and liable for harm caused by its own unaccountable and opaque processes.

Your review is overdue, I believe.

Yours sincerely,

C Rock

C Rock left an annotation ()

Abuse by the PHSO takes many forms and I would be glad to list these at the risk of repeating what's already been published here and elsewhere.

Oddy, the DHSC -another government funded department say they take complaints very seriously:

DHSC Complaints procedure:

"We take complaints about our work, staff and levels of service very seriously. If you are not satisfied, please follow the process for raising a formal complaint.

> What complaints we can and can’t deal with
> How to make a formal complaint about DHSC
> What happens next
> What to do if you’re not satisfied"

...and yet the PHSO, far from taking complaints seriously - still quotes:

"The PHSO does not consider itself to [abuse] any complainants"

..so why does one government department claim it's very serious about complaints while another can abuse and dismiss without interest?

I must admit I have not had the need to question the DHSC's complaint procedure as yet so cannot account for any success or otherwise.

The PHSO simply does not have a complaint procedure because it 'doesnt need one'.

Try making a complaint about work, staff and levels of service and you get short shrift if not downright rudeness.... which you will not be able to complain about.

There appears to be a similarity between PHSO condoning 'acceptable abuse' from negligent NHS care, and negligent PHSO care which then expects persons to "manage their expectations" of PHSO service; so demeaning itself to a position of low-to-zero expectations, IMHO.

J Roberts left an annotation ()

You might be interested in this PHSO submission regarding proposals contained in a recent White Paper:

'4.6 There is a danger that a patient or their family member, when pursuing a complaint about failings in treatment, could find that a contradictory account had been given by a witness –one to HSSIB in safe space that is not seen by the Ombudsman and another to the Ombudsman about what happened and why. This could lead to the Ombudsman making incorrect or incomplete recommendations for either individual or systemic remedy.

6.2 However, the unique constitutional role of the Ombudsman demands that PHSO has access to the information held within safe space for the specific purposes of examining failings, to preserve the Ombudsman’s independence, autonomy and ability to undertake fair and thorough investigations.'

https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/sites/defau...

C Rock left an annotation ()

Very interesting, but I don't see how it more greatly assures or even promotes independence or removes the risk PHSO will not be able to carry out full and effective investigations any more than at current time in their amateur position, where even PHSO refuses to release sources of conflicting information used in prejudice against complainant and abusing them of rights to respond and especially where by denials or mockeries a mental abuse is further committed.

Dear Information control, PHSO

This has been waiting for far too long as unanswered, and then not reviewed. This is a cautionary reminder of that.

That is, the link to the information does not give an answer to the question which I will have to place again
if the PHSO has shown a difficulty in understanding questions and evidence.

Please may I seek further help with this problem please?

Thank you

Yours sincerely,
C Rock

Dear InformationRights,

I noted your response

"To clarify and confirm, the PHSO does not consider itself to have abused any complainants."

This is irrelevant to my question and strongly indicates a problematic attitude of denial by you (the PHSO).

07/3/22 I noted that you declined to review your response to me (given your statement above) and it was well overdue for rational, FOI procedural response, without any opinions given by yourself on whether you appreciate abuses or not. You could not possibly substantiate that claim without independent data whicjh, it appears you refuse to collect through lack of such procedure.

I also note that when questioned you (30/01/22) about any update to PHSO not having a complaint procedure, you also overran time in that question despite being given more time to answer in a relevant and respectful manner (also, given your statement above).

NB: This may prompt further FOI questions regarding the omission, and also regarding your duty to help the questioner, under FOI terms. Please ensure your line manager is aware of this, and give me your FOI manager's contact details (privately if necessary). Failure to respond would constitute a Service failure and may prompt service complaint.

Yours sincerely,

C N Rock

Dear PHSO freedom of information rights,

In short follow-up:

You told me "We can confirm that PHSO does not hold the information you have requested.... [yet] we have interpreted your request to be regarding [other situations]"

I asked for your review of response and it has not been clearly or fairly conducted, or responded-to with a due date.

I consider that response is grossly overdue, considering the simplicity of FOI request, the date put (December 21st 2020), and my clarifications to assist you. You have taken no regard of my disabilities in communications over another entire year, and that can be subject of another complaint pending your provision of viable procedural process.

Therefore you may wish to confirm or deny that your last response WAS your review, please. It was not clear. Please make it clear as is your duty to under FOI procedure.

Pending explanation I would have to close this request as 'None' or 'Refused' since you could not / would not / did not supply the information, have not confirmed through review and, because I have since asked via a new FOI for updates related to the same topic. I may have missed such update since given that you were obviously made aware of such lack of workable or accountable procedure, and the PHSO may have instigated such in the meantime (yet nobody has contacted me about that possibility and I have not seen such procedure published).

Yours sincerely,

C Rock

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

Please pass this on to the person who is conducting Freedom of Information review.

I am writing to request an internal review of Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's handling of my FOI request 'Steps taken to combat PHSO complainant abuse (2)'.

I have had no notice of intent to investigate your statement or review your response, which is inadequate in fulfilling FOI requirement.

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 faithfully,

C Rock

Dear Information Rights PHSO,

A reminder that I await Internal Review on this topic.

RECAP: You told me that there is no PHSO complaint system for [matters outside your initial complaint consideration] e.g. evidenced prejudice in comments, abuse of complainant disposition and disability, maintained mental harm and abuses by the PHSO 'because the PHSO does not consider itself to harm anyone... '. That is you are expressing denials in this matter.

For a fact it is recorded that the PHSO chief was made fully aware of harms committed at a meeting in October 2017. It was avoided and not dealt with at the time, and that was through PHSO choice. The facts still speak and need attention, however.

It is therefore fair and reasonable for me to probe further on this matter, and ask for the evidence-base on which you still claim the PHSO "does not harm". The response is out-of-sync with witnessed and recorded evidence the PHSO holds.

It is REASONABLE for me to ask what steps have been taken since my last approach on this matter.

I do not consider this question to be vexatious, but it is VEXATIOUS to me to be sidelined and derided in the way I have been in my efforts to make you aware of the negligence in my son's care and his subsequent avoidable death. All complaints have so far been denied with those abuses, and caused me extra grief in this matter. Just that fact justifies your cooperation and need to be transparent and accountable for a factual and correctly reasoned response matching the facts.

A review of the responses so far is outstanding, and awaited.

Yours sincerely,

C Rock

InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Thank you for contacting the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s
(PHSO) Freedom of Information and Data Protection Team. This is to confirm
we have received your request. If you have made a request for information
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Environment Information
Regulations 2004, we aim to respond to your request within 20 working days
in accordance with the statutory time frames set out in both Acts. If you
have made a request for personal information held by the PHSO, your
request will be processed as a Subject Access Request under the provisions
of the Data Protection Act 2018 and we aim to respond within one calendar
month in accordance with the statutory time frame set out in the Act. We
may contact you before this time if we require further clarification or if
we need to extend the time required to complete your request.

Please note that we are currently experiencing a high demand, and might
not be able to comply with the statutory deadline for your request. Any
late responses can be referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office:

https://ico.org.uk/

For Subject Access Requests, we will send any personal information via
secure email, unless you instruct us differently. To access the
information on the email we send, you will need to sign up to our secure
email service. Details can be found on our website using the link below:
https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/co...
If you require us to post your personal information to you instead you
will need to inform us of this and confirm your current address as soon as
possible. Angharad Jackson Data Protection Officer & Assistant Director
Information Assurance Office of the Parliamentary and Health Service
Ombudsman PHSO CityGate 47-51 Mosley Street Manchester M2 3HQ
[email address]

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

My question was "please can you tell me what steps the PHSO is taking to tackle current and historic harm committed on complainants including those who by necessity have withdrawn from expectation of unprejudiced and fair service and due recompense for that harm, in line with PHSO published aims and HM Government’s intent for that department?"

NB The evidence for such harm, and requests for it to be investigated is on record at PHSO. No action has so far been taken.

Previous requests on this topic have proved unsatisfactory and have also resulted in no action. It is possible I will need ask again on this matter to seek any development of policy at PHSO in responsibilities toward complainants.

I will close this instance of FOI request as Refused.

Yours faithfully,

C Rock

C Rock left an annotation ()

An extract from TrustPilot September 2021:

"I am concerned that a case reported in 2009 is not resolved in 12 years, when gaping holes and inaccuracies have been pointed-out, and when both PHSO and Defendant [BSMHFT] refused (under FOI) to provide incriminating evidence showing that key persons in my son's negligent care lied to the PHSO (...and elsewhere) but were hushed-up and whitewashed-out as the unreliable witnesses they were."

and..

"The entire procedure is depressing and most debilitating to the complainant. I personally have had to seek professional medical assistance for PHSO abuse side-effects and how it appears to entirely geared to undermine and mentally disable complainants. And medication to deal with 'lay' and unprofessional PHSO antics? That is obscene."

This is not a one-off comment either, as Trust Pilot reviews affirm, with many aspects of PHSO abuse: bullying in the form of 'gaslighting'; mocking of 'expectations' and, in particular, mocking or taking advantage of the complainants disability in terms of mental capacity, access to information about their case, understanding that information, and making failures and gaps in the service coherent and clear to 'lay' PHSO workers.

It must be borne in mind that "caseworkers" are amateurs, and not investigators. They have no relevant training in that or in the Gov. Service they are supposedly 'transparently and fairly adjudicating'. There's no conception of 'Customer Service' where the complainant is treated fairly, honestly and transparently or needy of help and respect for the choice to take a case to the PHSO in the first instance.