Upheld review information including the year 2017-18

The request was partially successful.

Nicholas Wheatley

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

Would you please update the spreadsheets produced for a previous FOI request for reviews upheld and partly upheld, this time including information for 2017-18, and updating information that was previously recorded as ‘case ongoing’. The FOI request can be found here:

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

The spreadsheets can be found here:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...

Would you please also include in the spreadsheets, for all years reported, an extra column showing whether a new final report was produced, or whether the original final report was annotated, or whether there was no change to the final report.

Would you please also explain why the number of reviews upheld for 2016-17 was stated to be 11 in the annual report for that year, while the spreadsheets showed a total of 9 reviews fully upheld and 10 reviews partially upheld for that year.

Would you please exclude columns B and C in the spreadsheet for partially upheld reviews and produce the spreadsheet in the same format as for the fully upheld reviews, so that it is clear that each row in that spreadsheet represents one partially upheld review.

Yours faithfully,

Nicholas Wheatley

informationrights@ombudsman.org.uk, 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:
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M Boyce left an annotation ()

Nicholas Wheatley, it appears increasingly likely that the PHSO have provided you with misleading information. You asked for information on partly upheld reviews and the PHSO appeared to provide you with some information on these, albeit ambiguous/confusing information. You have now asked for clarification on this issue. In the PHSO 2017-18 Annual Report, published today, it states the following:

'In 2017-18 we completed 56 reviews and upheld 20 of these.'

It doesn't say anything about partly upheld reviews. I phoned the Customer Care Team today to query again whether there was only two outcome categories for reviews: upheld or not upheld. I was told definitively that there was only two categories and there was and never had been a category of partly upheld.

This means that the PHSO have misled you contrary to their duty under the FOIA. It also means that reviews are a complete sham because they all have all-or-nothing outcomes (highly unlikely statistically) - either the PHSO got everything of substance right (not upheld) or they got everything of substance wrong (upheld). In the 2017-18 Report (contrary to the PHSO repeated claims about their much 'respected' transparency) there is no mention of how many of those 20 totally upheld reviews then received a fresh investigation. If they were totally upheld then they should receive a fresh investigation. I been trying to find out from the PHSO legal team why there appears to be no category of partly upheld review outcome, but they refuse to reply - so much for PHSO transparency.

Nicholas Wheatley left an annotation ()

Thanks M Boyce. I'll add a question to try to get some clarification about when they stopped using partly upheld reviews and what a partly upheld review actually means. I'm guessing that they now just count any review where any part of it is upheld as an upheld review. Odd that Customer Care don't know anything about it though.

At the moment, if your review is upheld you don't necessarily get a new investigation. Sometime they just apologise to you for screwing up. If you get an new investigation the decision isn't necessarily changed. If they change the decision you might not get a new report, just an annotation on the old report saying there were some errors in it. They keep quiet about all this because they don't want people to know what a waste of time getting a review is!

M Boyce left an annotation ()

Two important points to mention.

(1) If you look back at the Annual Reports over the past four years or so they NEVER mention partly upheld reviews - never.

(2) All these Annual Reports present highly inconsistent numbers on upheld or not upheld reviews of decisions. Each Annual Report contradicts the numbers in the previous Report. Have a look for yourself and you will see that the information is nonsensical.
How can anyone trust anything the PHSO says or does? The evidence is in plain sight for anyone to see.
Good luck in asking the PHSO to explain all this contradiction because they will almost certainly just ignore you if you start asking difficult questions.

Nicholas Wheatley

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

Please would you amend this FOI request to include 2 additional requests for information, items 5 and 6 below.

1. Would you please update the spreadsheets produced for a previous FOI request for reviews upheld and partly upheld, this time including information for 2017-18, and updating information that was previously recorded as ‘case ongoing’. The FOI request can be found here:

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

The spreadsheets can be found here:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...

2. Would you please also include in the spreadsheets, for all years reported, an extra column showing whether a new final report was produced, or whether the original final report was annotated, or whether there was no change to the final report.

3. Would you please also explain why the number of reviews upheld for 2016-17 was stated to be 11 in the annual report for that year, while the spreadsheets showed a total of 9 reviews fully upheld and 10 reviews partially upheld for that year.

4. Would you please exclude columns B and C in the spreadsheet for partially upheld reviews and produce the spreadsheet in the same format as for the fully upheld reviews, so that it is clear that each row in that spreadsheet represents one partially upheld review.

5. Would you also please explain the difference between an upheld review and a partly or partially upheld review.

6. Would you also please state whether reviews are still recorded as partially upheld, and if not would you please state when this changed and how reviews that would previously have been recorded as partially upheld are now recorded.

Yours faithfully,

Nicholas Wheatley

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

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Wheatley

 

RE: Your information request: R0000116

                            

I write in response to your email of 19 July 2018 regarding your request
for information made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to the
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

 

1.Please find attached the information you request for the period 2017/18
in respect of upheld reviews. There were no partly upheld reviews in
2017/18 and so there is no information held for this element of your
request. Within the spreadsheet it also includes an update for the 3
reviews from 2016/17 which previously stated ‘case ongoing’.

 

2. When a new investigation takes place after a review, a new
investigation report will be produced depending on what the new
investigation is to cover. Therefore, in all the cases for 2017/2018 when
a new investigation has taken place and been completed, a new final report
has been produced. However, to try to establish this exact level of detail
for each case between 2014/15 to 2017/18 would require the manual
inspection of all upheld and partly upheld reviews which would need to be
cross referenced with the documents held on the complaint file and the
original final report analysed against the new report to determine the
difference. This would be extremely labour intensive and could not be
undertaken without incurring disproportionate cost. Section 12 (1) of the
Act has been applied to this element of your request.

 

3. The number of upheld reviews for 2016/17 was 11. The spreadsheet
provided to you as part of your request only confirmed 9 however I can see
that an explanation was provided to you at the time to advise that there
were an additional 2 upheld reviews which were missed originally as they
were held by the Review and Feedback Team (formerly Customer Care Team)
and not on the central record. An updated version was provided to you at
the time.

 

4. As there have been no partially upheld reviews in 2017/18 we have not
produced a separate spreadsheet for this as no information is held.
However, the spreadsheet for upheld reviews has been provided in the
format requested.

 

5. We do not hold recorded information which outlines the difference
between an upheld review and a partly upheld review.  The Review and
Feedback Team didn’t ever decide if something was partly upheld. This was
part of the previous review teams processes. However, to provide advice
and assistance in accordance with Section 16 of the Act, an upheld review
would have been where the decision was not robust and a partly upheld
review would have been where the decision was sound but we hadn’t handled
the case as well as we could have. These will have been considered on a
case by case basis.

 

6. Reviews are no longer recorded as partly upheld. The Review and
Feedback Team (RaFT) only uphold or not uphold reviews. We do not hold any
information which details the specific date of this change but we can
confirm it started when reviews were handled by RaFT which was early 2017.
RaFT will uphold a decision if they find the original decision was flawed
and not uphold if they don’t find it is flawed. Where they find issues
with the way a case has been handled this will be fed back to the relevant
members of staff or treated as a service complaint if they are about
service issues.

 

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 that 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 ()

There is some interesting information here. But as always it raises more questions than answers.
They say that RAFT decided to drop the partly upheld category in early 2017. This is utter nonsense. I was receiving communication from the previous Customer Care Team (CCT) right up until early July 2018.
They don't say why they have dropped the partly upheld category.
They say that RAFT will uphold a decision if they find the original decision is flawed, and not do so if it is not flawed. This is now an all-or-nothing event, and it is totally unrealistic and totally unfair.
The most significant fact remains that the whole review process is a complete sham because it is not legal (that is not the same as saying it is necessarily illegal). Under legislation that governs the PHSO investigative process reviews are not allowed for, and the PHSO fully admit this themselves, meaning that anything that comes from the review process - including a new final report - has no basis in law and therefore is not justiciable.

phsothefacts Pressure Group left an annotation ()

According to Rob Behrens

"A new user-friendly, more effective case handling process for complainants has also been introduced. It puts them at the forefront of the process to ensure better communication." June 2018

https://www.dacbeachcroft.com/en/gb/arti...

Yet it would appear that all the changes made by Rob Behrens have been to pull up the drawbridge on fortress PHSO. First he scraps external review leaving PHSO to mark all their own homework. Then he rejigs the (award-winning) customer care team so that they deal with fewer complaints and are able to cease contact whether complainants are satisfied or not. (not part of the original plan for CCT) Then they only uphold a review if the decision is flawed yet previously they looked at whether the process was flawed. From our experience, PHSO will accept all kinds of 'oversights' and 'poor service delivery' yet maintain that the decision is sound. Basically, you don't stand a chance.

M Boyce left an annotation ()

Rob Behrens, by his actions, has proved that he and his words cannot be trusted. The buck stops with him.

Nicholas Wheatley

Dear InformationRights,

Thank you for your reply. Regarding your response to paragraphs 2 and 3:

2. Would you please then supply the information requested just for the years 2015/16 and 2016/17. So please provide details of whether a new report is produced or the original report amended for each case investigated after a review is upheld or partly upheld, whether there is a change of decision or not, excluding cases recorded as ongoing. This would amount to 8 fully upheld reviews and 8 partially upheld reviews for the years 2015/16 and 2016/17.

3. You explained why 2 of the fully upheld reviews were missing from the spreadsheet. However would you please explain why all 10 partially upheld reviews were missing from the annual report for 2016/17. The report stated there were 11 reviews upheld for that year, but if the partially upheld reviews had been included the figure reported should have been 21 reviews upheld in 2016/17

Yours sincerely,

Nicholas Wheatley

Informationrights@ombudsman.org.uk, 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:
www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/being-open...
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.

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InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Dear Mr Wheatley

 

Thank you for your reply.

 

The information you seek will be handled as part of a new Freedom of
Information request. The reference number for this request R0000179.

 

Your request is in progress and we aim to provide you with a response on
or before 25 September 2018.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team

Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman

    

 

show quoted sections

InformationRights, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Wheatley

 

RE: Your information request: R0000179

                            

I write in response to your email of 28 August 2018 regarding your request
for information made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to the
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

 

1. For all new investigations carried out after a review is upheld (or
partly upheld) then a new investigation report is produced as standard
whether there is a change of decision or not. We do not annotate/amend the
previous final report as it is considered a whole new investigation.
Therefore, with regards to the figures you have specified in your request
for the years 2015/16 and 2016/17, since these reviews resulted in a new
investigation all of these cases will have resulted in a new report being
produced.

 

Using the data provided to you I have calculated, excluding those cases
where the spreadsheet indicates that a) the information is not held and b)
the cases are ongoing, that in 2015/16 there were 4 upheld reviews and 6
upheld reviews in 2016/17 resulting in a new investigation. In 2016/17,
there were also 10 partly upheld reviews resulting in a new investigation.
One of these investigations resulting from a partly upheld review decision
is still ongoing which means a decision has not been made and therefore a
final report has not been produced yet. Therefore, the total number of new
reports at this present time for the period 2015/16 to 2016/17 is 19.

 

2. We have no record of the rationale behind the approach to publishing
upheld review statistics but not partly upheld review statistics within
our Annual Report & Accounts (ARA) and specifically within the ARA
2016/17. This information is therefore not held.

 

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 that 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 ()

The astonishing thing about this information is that it shows how the PHSO has become much more unfair since Rob Behrens took charge. Before Behrens the PHSO did look at reviews of final reports more fairly - they rightly and logically found some to be fully upheld and some partly upheld. Now the partly upheld category has now been abolished. Before Behrens if some of the final report was wrong (partly upheld) then there could be a fresh investigation, now ALL of the final report has to be wrong for there to be a fresh investigation. This is ridiculously unfair and shows how Behrens cannot be trusted on this issue, or any other issue, such as his hiding information on the legality of quashing reports, and in fact the legality of reviews themselves in terms of JR.

The PHSO was a joke under Mellor, now it is a farce under Behrens.

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