Consultation outcome

Public service ombudsman

This consultation has concluded

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Detail of outcome

The government would like to thank all those who took the time to respond to the consultation. We have carefully considered all of these responses and this document sets out the main issues arising as well as the next steps.

Original consultation


Following recommendations about reforming the ombudsman sector, this consultation seeks views on establishing a public service ombudsman.

This consultation ran from

Consultation description

The government aims to ensure that it is simple and straightforward for citizens to complain about public services, and that public sector organisations respond quickly and effectively to complaints. Public organisations should also use the information that they receive from complaints to improve their services.

In 2014 the Minister for Government Policy commissioned the Gordon report. This examined whether the current public sector ombudsman sector is best for citizens and Parliament, and whether it provides value for money. As providing public service becomes more complex and crosses boundaries across eg social care health care and local government, a single organisation could provide a clearer path for complainants, and help to improve services.

The Gordon report explains the case for reform of the current ombudsman sector. It recommends creating a new Public Service Ombudsman (PSO), bringing together the existing jurisdictions of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) and Housing Ombudsman (HO). The report highlighted the opportunity for an improved customer experience (through an integrated service) and the opportunities to improve public service systems.

The government welcomes this report and the recommendations. This consultation aims to provide a further opportunity to test this proposal and the principles underpinning it. It seeks the customer perspective on what any new ombudsman service should provide, as well as how those services should be provided. Responses to this consultation will inform plans for future legislation changes.


Better to serve the public: proposals to restructure, reform, renew and reinvigorate public services ombudsmen - report by Robert Gordon

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Published 25 March 2015
Last updated 17 December 2015 + show all updates
  1. Added the government response to the consultation
  2. Consultation extended until midnight on 16th June.
  3. First published.