UK | Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman calls for input on Draft Complaints Standards Framework

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has published two consultations and the PHSO would like to invite the ombuds community to contribute to these.


Draft Complaints Standards Framework

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has developed the new, draft, Complaints Standards Framework in partnership with a wide range of organisations, to create a single, consistent vision for best practice in NHS complaint handling. They would welcome your views on this consultation to help improve complaints handling across the NHS.

The PSHO will continue our work to engage with members of the ombuds community and other organisations about the draft Framework throughout the consultation period. They recognise that many public ombuds services, including in the devolved nations, already have these standards in place, and they are working towards bringing PHSO in line with established best practice.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about new and increased challenges for complaint handling. Now more than ever, how public service organisations respond to and learn from people’s experiences of public services is critical, as this can help to improve and strengthen future service provision.

Senior leaders have a crucial role to play in supporting and embedding learning from complaints. Real and lasting positive change can be made through listening and learning from the voices of those directly affected during the COVID-19 crisis.

It is important for the NHS to focus on recognising and responding to individual patient experiences in a consistent and clear way. However, our report, Making Complaints Count, which they are laying before Parliament today, alongside the Consultation paper, shows that the current complaints system needs more support to meet the needs of the public.


Draft PHSO Strategy for 2021-24

As the PSHO approach the end of our current strategic period, we would also welcome your views on a new draft Strategy for the Ombudsman service. In April of this year, we decided to delay this consultation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we resume our work on health casework and other organisations renew their focus on complaints, we feel the time is now right to seek your views on our priorities for the next three years.

The new Strategy includes three strategic objectives:

  • Improving awareness of our service and access to justice
  • Delivering a transparent and rights-based service that is continually improving to meet people’s needs
  • Embedding a culture of learning from mistakes to improve public service


The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman recognises that the pandemic will continue to have profound consequences for public services. Different priorities may emerge over time and it is important that the Ombuds community stay responsive and flexible, but they believe the draft objectives have enduring relevance. The PSHO is seeking different reflections on the scale of ambition we have set out and any changes you would make, particularly in light of recent events.


How to share your views

Please visit the PSHO's website to complete the consultation surveys on the Complaints Standards Framework and draft PHSO Strategy. These will be open until 18 September.

For further questions about these consultations, please do contact the Liaison Team.

Source: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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