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About us

The PHSO make final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England and UK government departments and other public organisations.

They do this fairly and without taking sides. Their service is free.

The PHSO were set up by Parliament to provide an independent complaint handling service for complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England and UK government departments.

They share findings from our casework to help Parliament scrutinise public service providers.

They also share their findings more widely to help drive improvements in public services and complaint handling.

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PHSO Location

City Gate, 51 Mosley St, Manchester M2 3HQ

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It is important to us that we promote an open, respectful, and transparent culture made up of individuals with their own unique identities at all levels.

A diverse and inclusive culture leads to better engagement, belonging, well-being, improved decision making and delivering better results.

A diverse workforce allows us to better reflect the communities we serve so that PHSO better understand the experiences of individuals who bring to complaints to them and provide them with a service that meets their requirements. We deliver our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion through our strategy.

PHSO's Diversity Steering Group provides leadership oversight of this work and our Diversity Working Group takes forward actions to deliver against the objectives.

PHSO actively encourage applications to work at PHSO from under-represented groups such as, people who are LGBT+, from Black, Asian, Mixed Ethnicity and any Other Ethnic Group backgrounds, with a disability, impairment, learning difference or long-term condition, with caring responsibilities, as well as any other under-represented group.

PHSO's employee led networks provide opportunities for staff to participate and contribute to making PHSO an inclusive organisation.

Participation is actively encouraged and supported. Our current staff networks are:

Raising awareness of the importance of safeguarding mental health and wellbeing of staff in the workplace. It engenders an open culture to talk about mental health issues and is supported by a number of mental health first aiders.

Provides peer support for colleagues to raise issues, concerns and ideas in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion. It also promotes an open and inclusive culture where staff can celebrate diversity.

Promotes and represents the interests of LGBT+ staff employed at PHSO, with participating open to both LGBT+ staff and allies. The group identifies and shares good practice, raises awareness and provides support, mentoring and coaching to LGBT+ staff.

Helps PHSO to embed wellbeing activity across the organisation, supporting colleagues to use and understand the tools and resources available in our ‘Live Well, Work Well’ programme.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is a Disability Confident Employer, further information on the Disability Confident scheme and its requirements of employers can be found here. Any disabled applicant who applies under the scheme and who meets the minimum selection criteria will automatically progress to the next stage of the recruitment process, which may be an assessment or interview.

By ‘minimum selection criteria’ we mean that you must provide us with evidence in your application form that you meet the level of qualifications, knowledge, skills or experience defined as essential for the role. A false declaration of a disability under the GIS to obtain a guaranteed interview, which results in employment, may invalidate your contract of employment. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

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PHSO Casework

View all our most recent casework here

Our casework | Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)

Example Casework

An investigation into the death of Baby J at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, 5th October 2021

Mr N complains about the care and treatment provided to his eight-week-old son who died at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust. We upheld his complaint and identified a number of failings.

An investigation into UK Visas and Immigration’s handling of Windrush man’s status

Ms V complained that Immigration Enforcement and UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) wrongly classed her late father, Mr V, as having no status in the UK when he had indefinite leave. She complained he was repeatedly asked to prove his residence in the UK, and UKVI and Immigration Enforcement did not deal with his complaint adequately.

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What the PHSO do

The PHSO look into complaints where someone believes there has been injustice or hardship because an organisation has not acted properly or has given a poor service and not put things right. We look into complaints fairly and our service is free for everyone. If we decide that the organisation has got things wrong, we may make recommendations for it to put them right.

This can include explanations, apologies and recommendations for the service to learn and improve.

They have a transparent and fair process and will let you know about each stage of our process to make sure we have a consistent, quality service.

How their casework makes a difference

The PHSO's core role is to make final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England, UK government departments and some other UK public organisations. Where they identify individual wrongs, they can get these put right for people.

Making recommendations

If the PHSO fully or partly uphold a complaint, they can make recommendations to the organisation to put things right.

This could mean:

  • acknowledging their mistakes
  • apologising
  • making a payment

But the individual complaints that people bring to them can also help to make public services better for everyone.

If the PHSO find an organisation has got things wrong, they can ask it to show how it will prevent this happening again. This is so other people don’t go through the same thing. We publish summaries of some of these cases, so that all organisations can learn from the complaints they look into.

Sharing learning from complaints

The complaints we see give us a window into how the NHS and other public services are performing overall.

They can see what is working well and what isn’t, and can spot serious or repeated mistakes.

The PHSO share the lessons learned from our casework so that organisations can improve public services.

They do this by:

  • routinely publishing most of our casework (starting from April 2021)
  • regularly publishing case summaries
  • regularly publishing insight reports and laying these before parliament.

The PHSO also work with Parliament’s Select Committees and MPs to hold the Government and public services to account for delivering improvements.

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PHSO Benefits

At PHSO their motto is ‘Live well, work well’. PHSO want to inspire, guide and support you in being your healthiest and happiest self.

In addition to offering a competitive package, PHSO have a number of benefits that support this:

A career within the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman offers the opportunity for you to join the Civil Service Pension Scheme. This means access to:

  • Guaranteed inflation proof income on retirement.
  • Life assurance cover.
  • Pension for dependants (Spouse, Civil, Partner, Children).
  • Potential access to ill health retirement benefits (with two years’ service) should you become too ill to work.
  • Options on leaving a lump sum payment, should something happen to you, through the Death Benefit Nomination.

Employees will receive a generous basic holiday entitlement of 30 days. They also offer an additional 2.5 days extra-statutory holiday on top of the normal public and bank holidays.

Standard working hours are 36 hours per week over five days (Monday to Friday). The flexi-time scheme provides the flexibility for you to stagger your daily hours and the length of your lunch break each day with the only core set hours being10 am and 12 noon and 2pm and 4pm. In addition, if you work in excess of your standard hours you can accrue up to 2 days flexi-leave each month.

PHSO are trialling hybrid working for an initial 6-month period. If you prefer, you may choose to work from home for the majority of the time and will only need to work in the office for a minimum of 2 days per week.

If you are a member of a recognised gym and make regular monthly payments as part of your membership then you can apply for our Gym Subsidy. This is an annual allowance of £120 that is made in monthly instalments over a 12 month period to assist with the cost of your membership.

To support you in becoming and maintaining your healthiest self, PHSO offer a free health and lifestyle assessment each year with a nurse through our Occupational Health provider.

PHSO provide premium access to Headspace with 1,000+ hours of content designed to help you manage stress, fall asleep, exercise mindfully and remain focused. Headspace also has child-friendly content for those of you with young families.

You will be able to access this confidential and free service designed to help you deal with personal and professional problems that could be affecting your home life or work life, health and general wellbeing. This includes free access to counselling, support for any legal issues that cause anxiety or distress, bereavement support, medical information and a wellbeing portal which includes interactive health assessments and 4 week self help programmes.

PHSO are committed to the personal and professional growth of all colleagues. There are a variety of opportunities for colleagues to develop skills, knowledge and behaviours which includes e-learning or signing up to the courses available from our very own L&D’s team curriculum.

PHSO are keen to make sure that where colleagues are members of professional bodies that this membership continues throughout employment. They will therefore pay the annual membership fee, where membership is relevant to your role within PHSO.

To help you choose a healthier and more sustainable way of getting to work, you can pay for the cost of a loaned bicycle (up to a maximum value of £1000) from your gross salary. As this is a salary sacrifice scheme, you save any tax and national insurance that you would otherwise have paid on that amount. Your saving will depend on the cost of the bicycle and the tax band that you are in but you could save up to 42% of the cost of the bicycle if you are a higher rate tax payer and up to 32% as a basic rate tax payer.

Spreading the cost of your season ticket can help you to manage your money. PHSO offer an advance of salary to buy a season ticket for home to office travel and/or for the cost of car parking season ticket related to home to office travel.

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PHSO Values

The PHSO values define who they are as an organisation and how we go about our work each day.

By living their values, they can create an environment in which people want to contribute the best they can, for each other and for those who use thier service.

It is important that their values and behaviours are not just words on a page. PHSO want them to be lived by all and to support a culture of being exemplary.

PHSO are independent from organisations we investigate, holding them to account for service failure.

PHSO listen carefully to complainants and the organisations they investigate and they make impartial and fair decisions based on relevant evidence.

PHSO learn from engagement with complainants and organisations we investigate to improve our accessibility, efficiency and effectiveness and the quality of our decisions.

PHSO communicate with those using their service and then publish information about findings, how we they are performing and how organisations we investigate have implemented recommendations

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