Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Dame Julie Mellor: We need your help to draw up public service promises

The public services watchdog seeks help from civil servants in drawing up a new service charter

At the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, we make final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by government departments, some public organisations, and the NHS in England.

Over the last two years we’ve been building the foundations for long-term improvements to our service. We have already met demand by increasing the number of cases we investigate tenfold, but there is much more we need to do to become the modern public service we aspire to be.

Part of our journey to a modern Ombudsman service is the development of a service charter – a set of promises which clearly explains what people can expect when they use our service, or when the organisation they work for is under investigation.

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The consultation on our draft service charter draws to a close on Wednesday and I want you, the organisations we investigate, to help shape these important service promises.

In the last 18 months, we have undertaken a comprehensive exercise to get feedback about our service from people who use our service, the organisations we investigate, stakeholders and our own staff.

We have had lots of positive feedback but we have also received some suggestions as to how we can work better and provide a more consistent service. We’ve heard that people feel our service should be easier to use, quicker and more compassionate. And they don’t always understand our decisions or what happens when we make them.

We have also heard that we need to be more open and transparent about the way we work and what we can and can’t look at, so that people have confidence in the decisions we make. We’re determined to get this right but to do so we need input from the people who work for the organisations we investigate.

We want you to be confident in our investigations and the decisions we make. And we need to get better at working with you, so that we can provide answers to people sooner and so that lessons can be learned and service improvements made, without delay.

This is a real opportunity to have your say. I urge you to share your views on our service promises and help us become the modern ombudsman service we aspire to be.

Read the most recent articles written by Dame Julie Mellor, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman - Dame Julie Mellor: Why departments must take citizens' complaints seriously

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