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Time for a People's Ombudsman Service

28th April

The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) has produced a report calling for changes to the complaints procedure in public services.

The report, titled 'Time for a People's Ombudsman Service' suggests that the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) is outdated and that people should have direct and more user-friendly access to the Ombudsman.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

'People often don't speak up when things go wrong in public services because they don't think anything will change, but feedback is vital to help improve services. When complaints are unresolved it's even more important there is an effective and proactive ombudsman to give people confidence that complaints do count.'

Mistakes, misunderstandings and maladministration

The report calls on the Ombudsman to be able to receive complaints other than in writing: such as in person, by telephone or online, just as is expected of any normal complaints system. It also suggests a consultation should be held on the creation of a single public services ombudsman for England.

Richard Lloyd said: 'We've been calling for a unified public services ombudsman to act as a one stop shop and deal swiftly with issues raised. We hope the Government now acts on these proposals and makes it easier for people to voice their concerns, which will help prevent the same things happening again.'

Bernard Jenkin MP, Chair of PASC, said that people have the right to 'complain about public services when mistakes, misunderstandings and maladministration occur.'

He added: 'We so often see that people complain not for their own benefit, but to ensure lessons are learned and the same mistakes are not inflicted on others.'

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