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REGULATION OF PUBLIC OMBUDSMAN SERVICES

Comment 6th July 2010

Review the management systems in place to ensure Ombudsman, LGO and PHSO are accountable for their conduct.  The current option is to pay for a Judicial review if you do not agree their decision, even if their files is missing submitted evidence or the assessor made errors.  Conduct can only be reported to the Select Committee of the Commons.

Ensure timescales are used to respondent replies.

Impose accountability for decisions by providing full information to complainants on the basis for decisions and allow appeal, not as at present a review ( of a flawed file) upon which a decision has been made.

Ensure LGO and PHSO adhere to FOI legislation – they should be exemplars!

Why does this matter?

Assessors and other staff make appalling errors in reference numbers, dates etc all factual. Trusts can submit 'edited' files and the complainant has little chance of knowing this.  PHSO use these files for their decisions. 

Staff can be rude, offensive, dilatory and keep cases hanging around waiting on respondent information for YEARS whilst requiring complainants to respond within 2 weeks or be dropped.

There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY to complain about system or conduct of staff.  A modern reactive system is needed.

Junior Admin staff  currently decide what should be passed to Management , thus hiding complaints.

FOI is flouted PHSO takes 16 weeks instead of the legal 4 weeks and fails to inform throughout.  A review is not offered and when requested another 16 weeks is suggested. PHSO have admitted these failings in writing, yet the Ombudsman complains about other Public bodies conduct!

There is a massive waste of Public Funds, expectation is raised that Public Service will be improved but investigation within PHSO is  around 12% of cases.  The old regional HCC did a better job.  Decentralise and put some effective monitoring management in.

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