Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

The PHSO has been playing an extremely dangerous game with regard to access to judicial review for several years. The Customer Care Team (CCT) take around 3 months to decide whether to conduct a requested review of a Final Decision. The complainant has to decide whether to risk waiting for 3 months to see if the CCT will agree to offer a further review, or whether to risk applying for judicial review before the 3 month application window closes. Both options of the PHSO game of risk are deeply unpleasant: wait to have your appeal probably rejected, or apply for judicial review with the huge risks that this involves. The PHSO's behaviour is outrageously disgraceful. Thousands of people will have been forced to play this hideous game of risk. A large number of lives will have been ruined by this game of PHSO judicial risk. Why doesn't the CCT just let complainants know within say 6 weeks whether they will conduct a further review or not? That way there would still be enough time to apply for judicial review if a complainant wanted to. This 'timing out' of judicial review has been going on since 2015, and Mr Rob Behrens is fully aware of it. It undermines everything the PHSO purports to stand for.

In the 2016-17 Annual Report it states:

'Of the eight applications for judicial review in 2016-17, five claims were discontinued or refused permission to go forward to a full hearing.'

How many of those five were discontinued because the PHSO agreed to offer a fresh review?

Yours faithfully,

M Boyce

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


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M Boyce left an annotation ()

In the PHSO Annual Report of 2015-16, under the subheading Judicial review, it states the following:

'We receive letters about potential claims [letters before claim] for judicial review before they enter this COSTLY process. We offer a meeting to explain any legal points we plan to respond with, to try to resolve the issue.'

Splendid. So, does the PHSO Annual Report 2016-2017 also offer such reassuring advice. Err.... no! It doesn't contain it, and the PHSO no longer offer it. Not so splendid. The PHSO legal team actually refused to even look at the grounds for my application for judicial review in my letter before claim. I asked them at east six times by phone and email to please look at my grounds in my letter before claim. Each time they refused to do so. Don't you just love the fairness and transparency of the PHSO? Let's see if the judge in my JR application loves it.

InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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Dear M Boyce  

 

Thank you for your email requesting information held by the Parliamentary
and Health Service Ombudsman.

 

Your request will be responded to in line with the Freedom of Information
Act 2000. A response will be sent to you on or before 21^st February 2018
in line with the statutory timeframes set out in the Act.

 

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Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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Dear M Boyce

 

RE: Your information request: FDN - 275016

 

I write in response to your email of 24^th January 2018 in regards to your
request for information held by the Parliamentary and Health Service
Ombudsman (PHSO). Your request has been handled under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

 

You have requested the following:

 

In the 2016-17 Annual Report it states:

 

'Of the eight applications for judicial review in 2016-17, five claims
were discontinued or refused permission to go forward to a full hearing.'

 

How many of those five were discontinued because the PHSO agreed to offer
a fresh review?

We can confirm that none of the five claims were discontinued because we
agreed to offer a fresh review. 

I hope that this information is useful. If you believe we 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 writing to us by
post or by 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

 

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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

 

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M Boyce left an annotation ()

So the PHSO are not agreeing to offer a fresh review to any complainant who challenges their Final Decision through application for judicial review. Judges are not allowing permission to proceed. The problem is that it is now clear that most, and probably all, of those people who apply for judicial review are doing so after not being treated fairly by the PHSO. This is not a matter of opinion, but a matter of unarguable fact. The Ministry of Justice Judicial Review Guide makes it very clear that anyone applying for judicial review should exhaust an organisations internal complaints process (in terms of the PHSO, a request for a CCT review) before they apply for judicial review. The PHSO takes more than 3 months to complete their internal complaints process, thereby timing complainants out of the judicial review window. People applying for judicial review are therefore having to apply before the internal complaints process is completed. A judge would then likely refuse permission for applications for judicial review to proceed because they failed to adhere to the Ministry of Justice Guide on exhausting the internal complaints process. This whole matter is getting more and more serious on a daily basis.

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