rat enters maze but the route to justice is blocked with a no access sign.
Cartoon by pixomanic

What really happens when you make a complaint to the

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. 

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has a very low uphold rate which is generally less than 5% of all complaints submitted each year and that includes partial uphold which is often for something minor.  The chances are that your case will fall into the 95% who leave without uphold, remedy or improvement to services.  PHSOtheFACTS is a pressure group who have been lobbying PHSO and Parliament since 2013 in an attempt to improve the quality of complaint handling for the public and hold the Ombudsman to account.  Many meetings and many words later we can report that no significant improvement has occurred though many promises have been made.  We have all been let down by the Ombudsman and by the complaint system as a whole. We are now using our experience to provide a public information service to give you the facts on how PHSO operate.

Data chart showing cases investigated and upheld by PHSO since 2014-15  

*Put right by PHSO (in total) is a phrase used by PHSO themselves but for the complainant it doesn’t always feel as though anything has been ‘put right’.  In the 2015-16  Complainant Feedback Survey only 38% of people with partially upheld complaints and 84% of people with fully upheld complaints felt satisfied with the result.  This is explained on p 44 of the report as being due to the misconception of the complainants.

“13% of those whose complaints were fully upheld, and over half (53%) of those complainants whose complaints were partly upheld, were left with an incorrect impression of the outcome of their complaint. A quarter (24%) of complainants whose complaints were partly upheld thought that their complaint was not upheld. These figures are comparable to those seen in 2014-15.”
Since the introduction of the Service Charter in 2016 PHSO no longer record the data in this format which must be a great relief for them.

If you have a strong case against a public body then your best option may be to find a solicitor who will give you a no-win no-fee deal and take that body directly to court rather than waste your time on PHSO. 

In this blog post from phsothetruestory  you will be able to see some of the reasons why so many complainants are dissatisfied with the investigation process at PHSO using evidence from our own cases.

This site will give you both information and a voice should you wish to present anything for publication.  For regular updates please subscribe below, you can also link directly to the blog phsothetruestory, facebook and twitter by following the links at the bottom of the page. If you would like to join us then contact  phso-thefacts@outlook.com. You are not alone.