Dame Julie Mellor, Chair of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, has resigned today.
She will remain in post until a successor has been appointed and business as usual will continue.
In a letter to the Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC), Julie Mellor writes that she hopes her resignation will give Parliament an opportunity to consider options for a joint appointment with the Government to the Chair and Ombudsman roles for both the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), to facilitate the process of Ombudsman reform.
The Boards of both these ombudsman services met on Monday 20 June to discuss reform. Both reaffirmed their commitment to a new service for the UK and England that will have the powers to address injustice and hardship and ensure simpler, easier access. They also committed to making as much joint progress as possible towards a new service before legislative reform.
Dame Julie Mellor believes a joint appointment to the Chair and the Ombudsman roles for both ombudsman services will make it immeasurably easier for the two organisations to make progress. She hopes her timely resignation will create the opportunity for Parliament and the Government to give this option due consideration.
Statement by Sir Jon Shortridge on behalf of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman non-executive directors
We are very grateful to Julie Mellor for her contribution in leading the transformation of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
'With her at the helm, the ombudsman service has opened its doors to more people than ever before, providing justice to the very many people who have been failed by public services.
'Julie Mellor has actively listened to those who use the ombudsman service and acted on their feedback. As a result people are now increasingly getting the service they need and expect.
'Using casework to shine a light on the human impact of public service failures, she has supported Parliament in holding the Government to account. Many of her reports, such as A review into the quality of NHS investigations where serious or avoidable harm has been alleged and A report of investigations into unsafe discharge from hospital, have put patient safety firmly on the political agenda.
'Whilst we respect her decision, we very much regret that we shall be losing someone of such vision, passion and commitment. She has given power and a voice to people who have been let down by public services. She will be missed.'