Home Office DG takes helm of Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Ex-immigration and enforcement chief Amanda Campbell takes up post as troubled watchdog’s chief executive officer 

By Jim Dunton

07 Oct 2016

Former Home Office director general of immigration and enforcement Amanda Campbell has taken up post as the new chief executive officer of public services watchdog the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Campbell started this week at the ombudsman’s office, which investigates complaints about scores of bodies accountable to parliament, such as government departments and agencies, and the NHS. Her brief includes leading on the “modernisation and continuous improvement” of the service, which has suffered months of reputational damage following revelations about former managing director Mick Martin.

Martin resigned in April after it emerged that an employment tribunal found he helped to cover up sexual harassment in a previous role.

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Three months later, joint Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Julie Dame Julie Mellor said she would step down over her "mistakes" in handling Martin's case.

As Civil Service World reported in July this year, a 2015 employment tribunal found Martin had helped to cover up sexual harassment in his previous job at the Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation.

While Mellor was made aware of the ruling, Martin remained in post until details of the case emerged to a wider audience. Martin first took paid leave “to reflect on his position” in early March, before resigning the following month. Mellor said she would stay on as ombudsman until a replacement could be found. She is still in post and an announcement on her successor has yet to be made.

Campbell’s takeover as chief executive represents a new start for the ombudsman’s office.

A former chief operating officer at Border Force, her time at the Home Office saw her take responsibility for a range of investigatory work, overseeing a team of 300 accredited criminal investigators. She has also served as a non-executive director at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.

Mellor said Campbell brought significant knowledge of the health service and the challenges it was facing. 

“Her track record of leadership in the public sector makes her ideal for the role,” she said. 

“She also brings a wealth of operational and investigative experience that will be critical as we continue our journey to modernise the service.” 

An independent review of the Martin affair, conducted by Sir Alex Allan, last month found that Mellor's handling of the case had been "inadequate" after it was brought to her attention. However, it found that the PHSO board had acted properly once details of the employment tribunal findings became public knowledge in February.

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