In May 2015 the Cabinet Office launched a consultation exercise on possibly creating a new Public Service Ombudsman (PSO). The intention was to combine, under one head, the work of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, Health Service Ombudsman, Local Government Ombudsman and Housing Ombudsman.
CIVEAI responded to the consultation exercise giving broad support to the proposal, believing it could provide an enhanced service both to the general public and public service providers and also provide value for money. CIVEA expressed a few concerns, for example if, as was proposed, each existing service would continue to be led by a senior ombudsman under the umbrella of the Public Service Ombudsman, there would be a danger of creating a 'silo' mentality with the different jurisdictions continuing to remain separate. This would be against one of the main purposes of the new body which was to ensure greater collaboration between the different services.
The link to the response is as follows:
The conclusions set out in the government's response were as follows:
As a postscript to the above; it was assumed that a draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill would appear in the last Queen's Speech. However, it was not to be. It is believed that the proposal has run into serious problems. As stated above it had already been decided to omit the Housing Ombudsman from the proposal and there were known to be problems in a number of areas as well as concern over the new body being unwieldy and ultimately inefficient and bureaucratic. There is still thought to be enthusiasm for the proposal but it may be some time before we see anything further by way of proposals.