9 February 2010
'Fast and fair?' A report by the Parliamentary Ombudsman on the UK Border Agency - Fast and Fair? includes eleven case studies that reflect the large number and wide range of complaints referred to the Ombudsman by Members of Parliament.
21 January 2010
Environmentally unfriendly: a report of a joint investigation by the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Local Government Ombudsman - a joint report by the Parliamentary Ombudsman and Local Government Ombudsman into the Environment Agency, Lancashire County Council and Rossendale Borough Council.
16 December 2009
Cold Comfort: the Administration of the 2005 Single Payment Scheme by the Rural Payments Agency - Parliamentary Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, called on the Rural Payments Agency to apologise and pay compensation for the maladministration of the Single Payments Scheme.
20 November 2009
Small mistakes, big consequences - contains 11 case studies illustrating how the relatively minor mistakes of large government departments can have a major impact on the people they are attempting to serve and on the public purse.
7 July 2009
Report by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales and the Health Service Ombudsman for England of an investigation of a complaint about the Welsh Assembly Government (Health Commission Wales),
Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust and Plymouth Teaching Primary Care Trust – investigation into a complaint made by Mrs S on behalf of her adult daughter Miss S. The compliant is that the NHS should have funded the Miss S's care, who lives in Wales, when she became ill while visiting a friend in England.
6 May 2009
Injustice Unremedied: The Government’s response on Equitable Life – The Ombudsman's report into the Government’s response to the Equitable Life report.
31 Mar 2009
Putting things right: complaints and learning from DWP - The cases included in this digest have been selected because they illustrate the wide variety of complaints and complainants, and the often serious results, when DWP get things wrong.
24 Mar 2009
Six lives: the provision of public services to people with learning disabilities - called for an urgent review of health and social care for people with learning disabilities.
10 February 2009
Ombudsman's Principles launched
The Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, launched the Ombudsman's Principles at the Department of Health's Making Experience Count Conference in London on Tuesday 20 February.
Ombudsman's Principles will be key to supporting NHS officers make a success of the new health complaints system that comes into force from 1 April 2009.
12 Dec 2008
Improving public service: a matter of principle - This is her second report on how government bodies and the NHS handle complaints, and forms part of an ongoing series of complaint digests.
16 July 2008
Equitable Life: a decade of regulatory failure - The Ombudsman makes ten determinations of maladministration on the part of the former Department of Trade and Industry, the Government Actuary’s Department, and the Financial Services Authority, in relation to their regulation of Equitable in the period before 1 December 2001.
13 Jun 2008
Remedy in the NHS: Summaries of recent cases - This is the first in an ongoing series of published summaries about NHS complaints.
27 Mar 2008
Injustice in residential care: A joint report by the Local Government Ombudsman and the Health Service Ombudsman for England - Investigations into complaints against Buckinghamshire County Council and against Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health Partnership.
14 December 2007
The introduction of the ban on swill feeding - this report, which contains the results of my investigation into the complaint made by Associated Swill Users, on behalf of all their members, against the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in relation to the introduction of the ban on swill feeding, following the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in 2001.
9 October 2007
Tax credits: Getting it wrong? is published.
This is the second special report on the administration of Child and Working Tax Credits.
27 March 2007
The Principles of Good Administration is launched. The Office also launches a consultation on draft Principles of Remedy.
13 March 2007
Retrospective continuing care and redress is published. The Ombudsman concluded that the Department of Health had been maladministrative in deciding its formula for redress and in communicating to the NHS. The Department published revised guidance on the day the report was published.
22 February 2007
Put together in haste: Cod Wars trawlermen’s compensation scheme is published. The Ombudsman found shortcomings in the way the DTI scheme was devised, announced and operated. The Government agreed to develop central guidance for public bodies about ex-gratia compensation schemes. The guidance was incorporated into the revision of the Treasury’s manual, Government Accounting, published later that year.
14 March 2006
The report was published of an investigation into complaints about the role of Government bodies in the security of final salary occupational pensions. This report was again rejected by the Government and was laid before Parliament under section 10(3) of the 1967 Act. For the first time, the decisions by a Minister in relation to an Ombudsman’s report became the subject of judicial review proceedings.
Redress in the round: remedying maladministration in central and local government – a joint report with the Local Government Ombudsman for England – was published. The report set out the results of investigations into a complaint against the Department for Transport and Norfolk County Council in relation to the Council’s refusal to purchase the a home in advance of an intended road bypass scheme.
12 July 2005
'A Debt of Honour' – the third section 10(3) report in the history of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s office – was published. This report concerned complaints about the administration of an ex-gratia scheme for compensation for surviving members of British groups who had been interned by the Japanese during the second world war. Following an inquiry by the Select Committee, the Government eventually accepted the Ombudsman’s findings and implemented those of her recommendations that had initially been rejected.
22 June 2005
A report into complaints about the administration of the Tax Credits system was published. The report identified significant problems with the system and made recommendations to improve the system covering the way in which the Inland Revenue dealt with overpayments, communication issues, and the steps to be taken to reduce the risk of citizens experiencing financial hardship.
9 March 2005
Making things better? A report on reform of the NHS complaints procedure in England is published. This aimed to ensure that a common approach to complaints was adopted across health and social care and that NHS bodies became responsive to complaints and valued the feedback they provided.
1 January 2005
Freedom of Information Act 2000 fully implemented. Ombudsman ends monitoring role over the two non-statutory Codes on access to official or NHS information. Report on operation of both Codes published on 26 May 2005.
20 February 2003
NHS funding for long term care is published. The Ombudsman found that Department of Health guidance had not enabled the operation of a fair and transparent system of eligibility for funding; that guidance had been misinterpreted and misapplied by some health authorities; and that certain some people had suffered injustice and hardship. The Ombudsman made several recommendations to the Government and to NHS bodies to remedy the position. A follow-up report on progress made was published on 16 December 2004.
4 November 2002
Ann Abraham became the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
23 November 2000
With the enactment of the Health Service Commissioners (Amendment) Act 2000, the anomaly that complaints made against certain health professionals who had retired since the relevant events were not within the jurisdiction of the Health Service Ombudsman was ended.
11 July 2000
The report of an investigation into complaints that the payment of farming subsidies under the Arable Area Payments Scheme had been mishandled was published.
15 March 2000
State Earnings-Related Provision (SERPS) Inheritance Provisions published. The Ombudsman found that misleading official information had been given by the Department of Social Security over many years about Inherited SERPS. As a result of this report, the Government delayed the introduction of new inheritance provisions at an estimated cost of over £13 billion. The Ombudsman’s follow up report of 23 February 2001 said that these proposals for redress were reasonable.
25 March 1999
Following investigations under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, a report concerning disclosure of information relating to deaths in prison was published. As a result of this report, a new policy was introduced across England and Wales from 1 April 1999 that entitled the relatives of those who had died in custody to receive a copy of any report of inquiries into the circumstances of the death - and to receive it prior to any inquest.
15 March 1999
Complaints about a wide range of 'quangos' and many public museums were brought within the jurisdiction of the Parliamentary Ombudsman on the commencement of The Parliamentary Commissioner Order 1999.
1 January 1997
Sir Michael Buckley became the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
27 June 1996
A report was published which set out the results of investigations that had been conducted into complaints about continuing care in the NHS. The complaints which formed the focus for these investigations were those which arose from the application by NHS bodies of their own guidance, developed within the national framework that had been created in response to the 1994 Ombudsman report into the 'Leeds case'.
21 March 1996
With the enactment of the Health Service Commissioners (Amendment) Act 1996, complaints about the exercise of clinical judgement that related to events that took place wholly or mainly after 1 April 1996 were brought within the jurisdiction of the Health Service Ombudsman, as were complaints about family health service providers such as GPs.
8 February 1995
As the Government of the day initially refused to accept it, the report of an investigation into complaints about planning blight, suffered as a result of the way in which plans for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link were administered, was laid before Parliament under section 10(3) of the 1967 Act. Following a Select Committee inquiry which upheld the Ombudsman’s findings that maladministration had occurred, a compensation scheme was established by the Government on 18 March 1997.
18 January 1995
A report of investigations into complaints about the Child Support Agency was published. A further report was published on 6 March 1996 – and complaints about the CSA have ever since constituted a significant proportion of the casework of the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
5 July 1994
Complaints about the administrative actions of the administrative staff of certain statutory tribunals were brought within the jurisdiction of the Parliamentary Ombudsman with the enactment of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1994.
2 February 1994
A report was published of an investigation into a complaint – concerning what became known as the 'Leeds case' – about a failure by the NHS to provide long-term care for a brain-damaged patient. This report led to the development in 1995 of central guidance on NHS responsibilities for meeting continuing care needs and of a national framework within which health authorities were to develop their own eligibility criteria for continuing care.
5 November 1993
With the enactment of the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993, the separate legislation governing the three Health Service Ombudsmen for England, Scotland and Wales was consolidated.
The Open Government White Paper was published, which set out the Government’s proposals for a Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. From April 1994 onwards, it was agreed that complaints made by citizens under this Code that public bodies had withheld information that should have been disclosed would be investigated by the Parliamentary Ombudsman. A similar Code of Practice on Openness in the NHS, to be policed by the Health Service Ombudsman, was published in June 1995.
1 January 1991
Complaints about the administrative actions of the administrative staff of certain courts within England and Wales were brought within the jurisdiction of the Parliamentary Ombudsman by provisions of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990.
1 January 1990
Sir William Reid became the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
19 December 1989
The report of an investigation into complaints about the regulation of Barlow Clowes was published. While the Government did not initially accept the findings of the Ombudsman, it agreed to pay compensation to those who had lost as a result of the failure of the company 'out of respect for the Office'.
15 May 1987
The Parliamentary and Health Service Commissioners Act 1987 brought complaints about certain non-departmental public bodies within the jurisdiction of the Parliamentary Ombudsman. This Act also extended the time limits in which complaints had to be brought to the Health Service Ombudsman.
1 January 1985
Sir Anthony Barrowclough became the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
26 January 1984
The report was published of an investigation into a complaint by a Scottish prisoner concerning delay in reviewing a conviction for murder. This report led to much public discussion about the rights of prisoners and to the development of systems to ensure an independent element in the consideration of applications for review of disputed sentences.
15 April 1981
With the enactment of the Parliamentary Commissioner (Consular Complaints) Act 1981, complaints made by persons with the right of abode in the UK about the assistance provided to them by British consular officials abroad were brought within the jurisdiction of the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
25 July 1978
A report of an investigation into complaints about the way in which compensation arrangements for those affected by a bypass at Rochester Way in Bexley had been handled was published. This was the first use of section 10(3) of the 1967 Act, which denoted that the Government had rejected the Ombudsman’s recommendation that a remedy be provided for injustice caused by maladministration.
22 March 1978
War pensions had become a significant part of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s workload. The most famous investigation of such cases – concerning a complaint that officials had deliberately withheld certain increments from a group of former officers and had not informed them of their entitlements – led to the publication of the report entitled A War Pensions Injustice Remedied. In the light of the Ombudsman’s findings, cross-Government guidance (called 'Legal Entitlements and Administrative Practices') was developed – still in use today – which set out the responsibilities of officials when dealing with, or providing information about, changes in the entitlements of citizens to benefits or pensions.
26 October 1977
The report was published of an investigation into complaints made by the Association of Parents of Vaccine Damaged Children that the Department of Health and NHS bodies had failed to make sufficient information available to parents before they had their children vaccinated against Whooping Cough.
1 April 1976
Sir Idwal Pugh became the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
25 March 1976
A report was published of an investigation into asbestosis among workers at the Acre Mill factory at Hebden Bridge and the role of the Department of Employment Inspectors in the enforcement of health and safety legislation there. As a result of this report, the Government announced five days later that it would establish an Advisory Committee on Asbestosis which, in due course, laid down enhanced health and safety rules and whose work led to systematic checks for the presence of asbestos in industrial plants across the UK.
31 July 1975
Another high-profile report was published in July 1975 – that of an investigation into complaints made by the Disabled Drivers' Action Group about the safety of the then current three-wheeler vehicles for the disabled. As a result of this investigation, the Government decided to phase these vehicles out and instead introduced financial support for disabled people to enable them to choose means of transport that met their own requirements and circumstances.
29 July 1975
The report was published of an investigation into complaints about misleading official assurances about the safety of the Court Line group of travel companies that had been made by Ministers shortly before the group collapsed, with the loss of several hundred jobs and tens of thousands of holidays. The Government of the day initially refused to accept the Ombudsman’s report, but the position was eventually remedied through the enactment of the Air Travel Reserve Fund Act 1975, which made provision for compensation to be paid to those who had lost their holidays through the collapse of Court Line and which established an industry-wide compensation scheme to deal with future holiday company failures.
13 March 1975
Following a number of investigations conducted by the Office which had concluded that the statutory position was unsatisfactory and needed to be resolved, with the enactment of the Finance Act 1975 citizens who had made overpayments of income or inheritance tax due to official error were entitled for the first time to receive refunds from the Inland Revenue of any overpayments they had made, to be repaid with interest.
1 October 1973
On the establishment of the post of Health Service Ombudsman for England, Sir Alan Marre was appointed to that role also, leading to the creation of the Office of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
22 February 1972
The Heath Government announced that it intended to establish the posts of Health Service Commissioners for Scotland, England, and Wales. These proposals were implemented by the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1972 and by the National Health Service (Reorganisation) Act 1973.
15 April 1971
The report of the Farleigh Inquiry was published, recommending that 'a Health Service Commissioner, given the widest possible powers, should be appointed urgently to meet public anxiety about the investigation of complaints in the Health Service'.
1 April 1971
Sir Alan Marre took up post as the second Parliamentary Ombudsman.
20 December 1967
The report was published of an investigation into complaints that certain former British servicemen held within the Sachsenhausen concentration camp by the Nazis during the second world war had been unfairly treated by the Foreign Office when it rejected their application for compensation. The report led to compensation being paid to those wrongly denied it.
1 April 1967
Sir Edmund Compton, who had been appointed as Ombudsman-designate in September 1966, began work as the first Parliamentary Ombudsman.
22 March 1967
The Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 received Royal Assent.
Parliament began consideration of the Parliamentary Commissioner Bill which set out the Government's proposals to establish an officer who would investigate the administrative action of Government departments which it was claimed had caused injustice to citizens in consequence of maladministration. When explaining what an attempt to define 'maladministration' might look like, Richard Crossman MP, then the Leader of the House, provided what was to become known as the 'Crossman catalogue' – 'bias, neglect, inattention, delay, incompetence, inaptitude, perversity, turpitude, arbitrariness and so on…'.
After winning the 1964 election, the Wilson Government published a White Paper setting out its proposals for the creation of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration. In its election manifesto, the Labour party had explained that it had 'resolved to humanise the whole administration of the state and to set up the new office of Parliamentary Commissioner with the right and duty to investigate and expose any misuse of government power as it affects the citizen'.
Harold Wilson, then campaigning as Leader of the Opposition prior to the October 1964 General Election, announced in his Stowmarket speech that the Labour Party if elected would establish a Parliamentary Commissioner 'to investigate complaints and to report both on individual cases where an injustice may appear to have been involved or on defects in the system which have the effect of creating injustice or of failing to provide adequate rights of reconsideration or appeal'.
The Whyatt Report, which recommended the establishment of a Parliamentary Ombudsman and of administrative tribunals, was published. Led by a former Attorney-General of Kenya and Chief Justice of Singapore, the committee which produced this report had been set up by JUSTICE, the British section of the International Commission of Jurists.
The Crichel Down affair – a dispute about the way in which the Ministry of Agriculture disposed of land which had been compulsorily purchased during the second world war - led to the resignation of a Minister and highlighted the lack of an independent means for citizens to raise complaints about public administration in the UK or to secure a remedy for injustice derived from the improper handling of their affairs.