Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman: The value of reform

Published: 20 March 2023

Establishing a modern, accessible, single Public Services Ombudsman (PSO), with the necessary powers to drive impact, increase access to justice, and improve services across the public sector is an opportunity to build a more effective government. 

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) commissioned Social Finance to conduct a cost benefit analysis to model the impacts of creating a Public Services Ombudsman and implementing three additional reforms: 

  • Making the MP filter optional by allowing individuals to file complaints with the PSO with or without going through their MP first. 

  • Establishing Complaints Standards Authority powers, which would allow the PSO to not only set complaint handling standards but enforce that public bodies follow those standards and incorporate learnings directly into service improvements. 

  • Enabling Own Initiative Investigations that dive into larger, systemic public service issues specifically around issues individuals would not feel comfortable or are unable to complain about.

Social Finance produced the model and prepared the analysis independently and in accordance with the HM Treasury Green Book. 

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